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POLITICS: Bush Sees Fresh Opening for Mideast Peace

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posted on Nov, 10 2004 @ 03:33 PM
President Bush expressed optimism that a change of leadership in Palestine, will bring about an opportunity for peace. There is strong American support for the moderate that are vying for top roles in the Palestinian Authority if and when Yasser Arafat dies or steps down. Bush was the first U.S. president to ever endorse the establishment of a Palestinian state. The administration has been at odds with Arafat and have determined that it is unable to negotiate a peace with him.
WASHINGTON - President Bush said Wednesday he is hopeful about Mideast peacemaking when ailing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat gives way to a new leadership.

Against the backdrop of strong American support for Palestinian moderators already designated for top roles, Bush said, "There will be an opening for peace when leadership of the Palestinian people steps forward and says, `Help us build a democratic society.'"

"And when that happens and I believe it's going to happen because I believe all people desire to live in freedom the United States of America will be more than willing to help build the institutions necessary for a free society to emerge so that the Palestinians can have their own state," Bush said.

He spoke after a White House meeting with Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The first president explicitly to endorse establishment of a Palestinian state on land now held by Israel, Bush renewed that pledge immediately after his re-election last week.

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Yasser Arafat has been an obstacle to peace. More to the point, since both the United States and Israel will not negotiate with him, it bodes well that his replacements may be moderates, Arafat represents an old era and with new blood in place, the most volatile region on the planet may settle down to a dull roar. Make no mistake however, there are elements on both sides, both Palestinian and Israeli, extremism and terrorist on both sides, that have no interest in peace in the region.

[edit on 11/10/04 by FredT]

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