Press Release
Contact Information: Hussein Ibish
October 17, 2007 - 12:00am

Washington, D.C., October 18 –– President George W. Bush stressed his commitment to a Palestinian state and applauded the American Task Force on Palesinte (ATFP) for its work in supporting Mideast peace in a letter to the American Task Force on Palestine and to those attending ATFP's second annual Gala, “Choosing Peace, Embracing Hope: Honoring the Contributions of Palestinian Americans.” President Bush wrote: ‘I appreciate the American Task Force on Palestine and its members for your dedicated efforts to support peace in the Middle East.'

The Gala also featured a letter from Palestinian president Abbas to ATFP president Dr. Ziad Asali in which he offered his congratulations to ATFP on the gala and to the three Palestinian-American awardees. Commending ATFP for its work, President Abbas wrote that ‘ATFP is a constructive voice that reflects the bright contrast between the silent majority’s desire for peace and prosperity and the vocal minority that thrives on exclusion, disengagement and blind criticism.’

To read the complete text of President Abbas’ letter, please visit:

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, the highest-ranking Foreign Service office at the State Department, gave the keynote speech in which he read the letter by President Bush and underlined the ‘key American interest’ in, and commitment to, the establishment of a Palestinian state. Secretary Burns made his comments as part of his keynote speech to a crowd numbering 500 and composed of U.S. Senators, Representatives, Diplomats, NGO leaders, members of the Palestinian American community and ATFP supporters. Secretary Burns thanked ATFP and Dr. Asali as ‘truly a voice of moderation and peace’ for their efforts towards achieving an independent Palestinian state. He reiterated the call of Secretary of State Rice last week that ‘the time for a Palestinian state is now.’

For the full transcript of Secretary of Burns’ keynote speech including the letter from President Bush please visit:

Preceding the keynote speech of Secretary Burns were remarks by Mr. Walter Isaacson, chairman and CEO of the Aspen Institute. Mr. Isaacson emphasized the importance both of establishing a Palestinian state and building the economic foundations of such a state. He also briefed attendees on his appointment by Secretary Rice to lead such an effort.

Awards were also presented to three leading Palestinian Americans for their outstanding contributions to their country: Excellence in Government Service to Ambassador Theodore Kattouf, Excellence in Commerce and Industry to Mr. Farouk Shami, and Excellence in Medicine to Dr. Theodore Baramki.


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