News Release

Bush-Abbas Meeting Today

SAMAR ASSAD
Assad is executive director of the Palestine Center in Washington. She said today: “Obviously, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wants to get permanent status talks going with Sharon and would like to see Bush get Sharon to negotiate. What’s crucial is that negotiations be about substantial issues: the seaport, the territorial link between Gaza and the West Bank, the settlements, as well as the other final status issues.” The Associated Press has reported that Bush stated today: “Israel should not undertake any activity that contravenes its Road Map obligations.” AP adds: “Without elaboration, the president said Israel would be ‘held to account’ for any actions that hamper peacemaking or burden the lives of Palestinians.” Commented Assad: “We have not to date seen Israel being held to account for their obligations under the ‘Road Map.'”
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STEPHEN ZUNES
Professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, Zunes said today: “Regarding virtually all the outstanding issues of the peace process — the extent of the Israeli withdrawal, the fate of the settlements, the status of Jerusalem, and security guarantees — the negotiating positions of President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are far more consistent with international law, the consensus of America’s democratic allies, and longstanding proposals of both Israeli and Palestinian moderates than is the negotiating position of Prime Minster Sharon and the Israeli government. Given this fact and the gross asymmetry in power between the Palestinians and their Israeli occupiers, the United States must be willing to back up its stated commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state with a willingness to pressure Israel to make the necessary compromises for peace and security for both peoples.” Zunes is Middle East editor for Foreign Policy In Focus and author of the book Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism.
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RANDA SINIORA
General director of the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq, Siniora said today: “Since 1967, Israeli authorities have utilized numerous types of collective punishment and measures of intimidation such as house demolitions, mass arrests, restrictions on freedom of movement, property destruction, and, more recently, the construction of the annexation Wall, throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. If Israel were really interested in security, it could build the Wall along the border of Israel and the West Bank. Instead, Israel is building it throughout the West Bank, cutting off Palestinians from their land and from each other.” Siniora is in the U.S. until the end of the month.
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SHERENE ABDULHADI
RONI HAMMERMAN
AMIRA HILLAL
Abdulhadi, Hammerman and Hillal are currently on a speaking tour of the U.S., “Jerusalem Women Speak: Three Women, Three Faiths, One Shared Vision,” organized by the group Partners for Peace. A Muslim Palestinian, Ms. Abdulhadi was born and raised in occupied Jerusalem. She has devoted her career to Palestinian economic development and the sustenance of the Palestinian private sector. A Jewish Israeli, Ms. Hammerman lives in Jerusalem, where she heads the Department of Humanities at the Bloomfield Library for Humanities and Social Sciences of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A Christian Palestinian, Ms. Hillal lives in Beit Sahour near Bethlehem, where she is the Women’s Project Coordinator and administrative assistant for the Alternative Information Center. The AIC is a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization with offices in Jerusalem and Beit Sahour. The three women said: “We want the U.S. public to know that this is an asymmetrical conflict and one side is dictating the terms and in doing so is refusing to negotiate over the important issues and the issues that will lead to peace.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167