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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

April 11, 2003

Congressman Lantos et al are rallying Senators and Congressmen to sign this letter

Dear Mr. President:

On the eve of dramatic changes in the Middle East, we share with you the
hope that new opportunities will develop in the region - opportunities for a
more democratic and peaceful region with fewer direct threats to the United
States and our interests. Recent political changes in the Palestinian
Authority also should provide new opportunities to begin a meaningful
negotiating process with Israel.

We applaud your willingness to request significant new assistance for Israel
in your supplemental request, which will allow Israel to bear more easily
some of the burdens of the current war to disarm and liberate Iraq.

We write to express our support for your efforts to resume peace
negotiations based on the clear principles you outlined in your June 24th
speech. Those principles should underline and guide any "roadmap" towards
* above all, Palestinian terror and violence must cease;
* a new Palestinian leadership - with real authority - needs to be
established, free from the taint of terrorism and willing and able to
dismantle the terrorist network;
* there needs to be true accountability and transparency in Palestinian
governance; and
* the Palestinian security apparatus must be overhauled so that it truly fights terrorism, rather than engages in it.
Only then can the Palestinian people begin to see some of their political
aspirations realized and only then can we expect Israel to respond with
concrete actions.

Many are urging you to short circuit this process and to focus on timelines
in achieving the roadmap's benchmarks. We believe that you will not be
dissuaded and will focus instead on real performance. Without a new,
empowered Palestinian leadership that is firmly engaged in fighting terror,
Israel has no one with whom to negotiate.

The United States has developed a level of credibility and trust with all
parties in the region which no other country shares. We are concerned that
certain nations or groups, if given a meaningful role in monitoring progress
made on the ground, might only lessen the chances of moving forward on a
realistic path towards peace.

In summary, Mr. President, we share your belief that real changes in the
Palestinian leadership provide the possibility to explore once again
opportunities to bring real peace to that troubled region of the world. We
support your consistent effort to bring about such changes. Only by holding
fast to those principles and working closely with the government of Israel
and new leaders in the Palestinian Authority can we hope to end the 30
months of terror that have led to nothing but misery for both Palestinians
and Israelis.