MPAC Commends President’s Call for End of Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Land
(Washington, DC - 1/10/08)—The Muslim Public Affairs Council commends President Bush’s call this morning for an end to Israel’s 41-year occupation of Palestinian land and stated commitment to forge a peace agreement before the end of his term.
“The point of departure for permanent status negotiations to realize this vision seems clear,” Bush said after a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas. “There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. An agreement must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people.”
It is the occupation that stands at the heart of the conflict and which has exacted a terrible price on all sides. Today, there is a generation of Palestinians who have known nothing but occupation and a generation of Israelis who have experienced only dominance over the Palestinians.
President Bush also reiterated the requirement by both sides to abide by their agreements in the “road map,” including a halt to any Israeli expansion of settlements, and recognized that a future Palestinian state must be “viable, contiguous and sovereign”. “Swiss cheese isn’t going to work,” he told reporters.
“As Muslim Americans, we have a vested interest in a lasting commitment to peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” said MPAC Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati. “We must seek accountability from our leaders on the grounds of justice when inequality is being practiced as the norm and not the exception.”
As laid out in its policy paper entitled “Envisioning Peace”, MPAC stresses that negotiations must be defined by a political willingness to cement a final agreement on the right of return, the status of Jerusalem, four million displaced refugees, ongoing settlement construction, and the final borders of a Palestinian state.
Only dialogue and diplomacy can lead to the creation of an effective strategy to end this conflict, which has taken too many lives and has destabilized an entire region of global significance. MPAC appreciates the President’s remarks, and urges his administration to take actions that transform these words into realities on the ground.
Founded in 1988, the Muslim Public Affairs Council is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of Muslim Americans.