Press Release
Contact Information: Hussein Ibish
August 12, 2005 - 12:00am

Washington, DC, Aug. 12 – The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today urged all parties to take the necessary measures to ensure a coordinated and effective Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank and an orderly transition to Palestinian rule in those areas.

ATFP President Ziad J. Asali said, “We call on all three national leaderships involved – American, Palestinian and Israeli – to do everything within their power to ensure that these important changes not only are managed in a smooth and orderly manner, but that they lay the basis for continued progress towards an end to the conflict based on the creation of a Palestinian state living alongside Israel in peace. All people interested in achieving peace must play their parts to ensure that the disengagement produces a serious momentum towards peace, and that this momentum is then translated into further progress.”

ATFP emphasized the significance of the leaderships of all three major players addressing the serious concerns of the general public on all sides of the conflict. The Task Force welcomed comments by President George W. Bush in an interview with Israeli television in which he reiterated his commitment to the Roadmap, and said "I think in the long run two states living side by side in peace is the ultimate solution for Israel's security." ATFP looks forward to similar efforts by President Bush to address the Palestinian people and speak to their concerns and aspirations.

The Task Force hopes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as he is addressing his own people about the opportunities and challenges posed by the disengagement, will also speak directly to the Israeli people, and reiterate that the goal of the Palestinian national movement is the creation of a Palestinian state in the occupied territories living alongside Israel in peace, and that the Palestinians are strongly committed to achieving this through peaceful negotiations.

ATFP feels that, as he addresses his own people about the disengagement, it would be helpful if Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also addresses the Palestinian people and reiterates that Israel intends to uphold its commitments under the Roadmap and to adhere to the vision of peace laid out in the Roadmap.

ATFP urged the Bush Administration to ensure that the United States continues to play its vital, indispensable role in promoting coordination of the disengagement and transition, including at the technical level, and thereby help to manage the withdrawal and the development of effective Palestinian rule in the areas in question.

ATFP called on the media and general public to give their support to the leaderships attempting to manage this delicate process and to create and maintain a sense of momentum towards a resolution of the conflict. ATFP urged the Palestinian people to be mindful of the drastic consequences to the Palestinian national project of any serious disruption of the withdrawal and transition, and to support the national leadership in meeting this difficult but momentous challenge. The Task Force said that this is no time for reckless words and actions.

ATFP also called on the leadership and people of Israel to recognize that it is now clearer than ever that the future of Israel depends on its acceptance by the Palestinians and Arabs in general, and that the Gaza disengagement can only be viewed as a first step in allowing the Palestinians their freedom and independence, which is the necessary prerequisite for peace and reconciliation. ATFP holds that disengagement should not be seen as an end in itself but must be a starting point for further developments leading to a dignified end to the occupation and the creation of a peaceful Palestine alongside Israel.


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