Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Information: Hussein Ibish
May 25, 2005 - 11:00pm

Washington, DC, May 26 –- The American Task Force on Palestine welcomed the remarks made today by President Bush in a White House Rose Garden press conference held with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. The press conference followed a meeting between President Bush and President Abbas, the first meeting for a Palestinian president at the White House since 2000. Commenting on the President’s statements, ATFP president Dr. Ziad Asali said: “The Palestinians came to Washington seeking clear U.S. support in a number of areas; political, economic and verbal, and President Bush delivered on this, to which we are most appreciative.”

President Bush reiterated that Israel must not “contravene road map obligations or prejudice final status negotiations with regard to Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem,” and went on to say that, “Israel must remove unauthorized outposts and stop settlement expansions.” The President also said that the barrier Israel is building in the West Bank must be “a security rather than a political barrier.” President Bush also reaffirmed his support for the Roadmap as “the only way to realize the vision of two states living side by side in peace and security.” President Bush insisted that the current United States position on the un-workability of a Palestinian state consisting of scattered territories would be the same position at the time of final-status negotiations. Moreover, the President stated for the first time that, “changes to the 1949 Armistice lines must be mutually agreed to.” He also said, “A viable two-state solution must ensure contiguity of the West Bank” and called for, “meaningful linkages between the West Bank and Gaza” as the official U.S. position going forward.

He also said that, “A viable two-state solution must ensure contiguity of the West Bank” and called for “meaningful linkages between the West Bank and Gaza” as the official position of the U.S. going forward.

The President asked Israel to work with the Palestinian leadership to, “improve the daily lives of Palestinians, especially their humanitarian situation,” and said that in accordance with the road map, “Israeli forces should withdraw to their positions on September the 28th, 2000.” President Bush pledged $50 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority for new housing and infrastructure projects to assist in Gaza.

President Bush pledged to stand by President Abbas as he fulfilled Palestinian responsibilities of combating corruption, reforming the Palestinian security services and justice system, and reviving the economy

President Abbas thanked President Bush for his constructive remarks and said that recent efforts to bring about calm have resulted in the reduction of violence to its lowest level in the last four years. Abbas went on to say that “democracy is like a coin, it has two sides, on the one side is democracy and the other side is freedom. Now we lack freedom ... We do not live in freedom in our homeland,” Abbas said. He went on to say that, “Time is becoming our greatest enemy. We must end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict before it is too late.”

ATFP President Ziad Asali welcomed Bush’s remarks as “very productive.” He added: “President Bush began his remarks by linking the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians in the establishment of a Palestinian state. We have and continue to maintain that a Palestinian state is a win-win situation for America, for Palestine and for Israel.”






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American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017