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Text of Bush, Abbas at White House
Wichita Eagle ^ | 7-25-03

Posted on 07/25/2003 10:55:11 AM PDT by SJackson

Text of Bush, Abbas at White House

Associated Press

A text of President Bush and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas speaking in the White House Rose Garden on Friday, as transcribed by eMediaMillWorks Inc.:

BUSH: Good day. I'm honored to welcome Prime Minister Abbas to the White House. It is such an honor to have you here, sir.

ABBAS: Thank you.

BUSH: To break through old hatreds and barriers to peace, the Middle East needs leaders of vision and courage and a determination to serve the interests of their people.

Mr. Abbas is the first Palestinian prime minister and he is proving to be such a leader.

We had a good meeting today about the way forward on the road map to Middle Eastern peace. Prime Minister Abbas and I share a common goal: peace in the Holy Land between two free and secure states, Palestine and Israel.

Reaching this goal will require all sides to meet their responsibilities. We made good progress last month at the Red Sea summit in Aqaba.

The government of Israel recognized that Israel's own interests would be served when the Palestinians govern themselves in their own state, a peaceful, democratic state where the forces of terror have been replaced by the rule of law.

Prime Minister Abbas committed to a complete end of violence and terrorism, and he recognized that terror against Israelis, wherever they might be, is a dangerous obstacle to the achievement of a Palestinian state.

I committed to both sides that the United States will strive to see that promises are kept and monitor the parties' progress on this difficult journey.

To meet the goal we have set, we must improve the daily lives of ordinary Palestinians. For just this purpose, I recently approved a grant of $20 million directly to the Palestinian Authority.

Today, I'm also pleased to announce that the United States and Palestinian authorities will establish a joint Palestine economic development group. This group of American and Palestinian officials will meet regularly and be charged with finding practical ways to bring jobs and growth and investment to the Palestinian economy.

In addition, I'm sending Treasury Secretary John Snow and Commerce Secretary Don Evans to the region early this fall. I'll ask them to report back to me on the steps we need to take to build a solid economic foundation for a free and sovereign Palestinian state.

In our talks this morning, Prime Minister Abbas and I covered a range of issues. We discussed the impact on the Palestinian people of the limits on their freedom of movement, and the need to reduce the network of checkpoints and barriers.

Prime Minister Abbas shared his concerns about Israeli settlements, confiscation of land and the building of a security fence.

He also expressed his strong desire to see the release of many more Palestinian prisoners. We will continue to address these issues. We will address them carefully and seriously with the Palestinian and Israeli officials. We will work to seek solutions.

We've seen important progress toward peace over the last 13 months and we see even more progress today, here in Washington and in the region as well. Today, the government of Israel announced that they'll be taking down more of the checkpoints that are making it difficult for Palestinians to travel to their jobs and schools. In addition, Israel will consider ways to reduce the impact of the security fence in the lives of the Palestinian people.

And Israel has also pledged to transfer to the Palestinian Authority security responsibility for two additional cities in the West Bank, and to make further progress in removing settlement outposts.

Like Prime Abbas, Prime Minister Sharon is demonstrating that he's a partner committed to reaching a peace settlement. I welcome these announcements from Israel, and I look forward to seeing Prime Minister Sharon on his visit to Washington next week. Together these leaders can bring a bright future to both their people.

This is the time of possibility in the Middle East and the people of the region are counting on the leaders to seize opportunities for peace and progress. Too many years and lives have been squandered by resentment and violence. The Palestinian people, like people everywhere, deserve freedom, they deserve an honest government and they deserve peace.

I thank Prime Minister Abbas for his hard work. I thank him for his service to his people and for carrying their cause here to Washington, D.C.

Welcome, Mr. Prime Minister.

ABBAS: Thank you, thank you very much.

Mr. President, allow me to start by thanking for your invitation, and for the fruitful meeting we have just had, and for the bilateral support we have received from you.

We are particularly grateful for the $20 million of direct assistance to Palestinian Authority. And we hope that this assistance increases and is enshrined in legislation.

Allow me to also express my appreciation to you for your relentless efforts in pursuit of peace and your intensive engagement in the resolving the conflict between us and the Israelis.

Mr. President, we remain committed to the road map, and we are implementing our security and reform obligations. Security for all, Palestinians and Israelis, is an essential element in progress, and we will achieve security based on the rule of law.

We have succeeded significantly, where Israel, with its military might, has failed in reducing violence. And we will continue.

Reform and institution-building are an internal Palestinian priority. We do not merely seek a state, but we seek for a state that is built on the solid foundations of the modern constitution, democracy, transparency, the rule of law and the market economy.

We continue to negotiate with Israel on the implementation of its obligations. Some progress has been made, but movement needs to be made in terms of freeing prisoners, lifting the siege on President Arafat, Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian areas and easing up freedom of movement to Palestinians.

ABBAS: A transformation in the human conditions on the ground must occur.

As you have said many times, Mr. President, attacks on the dignity of the Palestinians must end. Palestinians must be able to move, go to their jobs and schools, and conduct a normal life. Palestinians must not be afraid for their lives, property or livelihood.

Some steps have been taken by Israel so far, but these steps remain hesitant. The new era of peace requires the courageous logic of peace, not the suspicious logic of conflict. The outcome must correspond with your vision, Mr. President, achieving a peace that will end the occupation that started in 1967, the establishment of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and a just, agreed solution of the refugee question on the basis of U.N. Resolution 194.

This vision cannot be realized if Israel continues to grab Palestinian land.

If the settlement activities in Palestinian land and construction of the so-called separation wall on confiscated Palestinian land continue, we might soon find ourselves at a situation where the foundation of peace, a free Palestine state living side-by-side in peace and security in Israel, is a factual impossibility.

Nothing less than a full settlement freeze will do, because nothing less than a full settlement freeze will work.

For the sake of peace and for the sake of future Palestinian and Israeli generations, all settlement activities must be stopped now and the wall must come down.

Mr. President, in conclusion, allow me to thank you again for all your efforts, to reiterate our commitment to peace and security for all, and to express my hope for a solid, fruitful relation between our governments and our peoples. Thank you.

BUSH: Good job, Mr. Prime Minister.

ABBAS: Thank you very much.

BUSH: Hold on for a second, please.

We'll have two questions a side alternating, starting first with Barry of AP.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. On Liberia if I may.

BUSH: Liberia, yes.

QUESTION: How many U.S. troops will be going in? What is their role? How long might they stay?

BUSH: As the statement says that we put out, that U.S. troops will be there to help ECOWAS go in and serve as peacekeepers necessary to create the conditions so that humanitarian aid can go in and help the people in Liberia.

We're deeply concerned that the condition of the Liberian people is getting worse and worse and worse. Aid can't get to the people. We're worried about the outbreak of disease.

And so our commitment is to enable ECOWAS to go in. And the Pentagon will make it clear over time what that means.

Secondly, it is very important for Charles Taylor to leave the country.

in order to expedite aid and help, in order to make the conditions such that NGOs can do what they want to do, which is to help people from suffering, that the cease-fire must be in place.

And finally, we're working very closely with the United Nations. They will be responsible for developing a political solution. And they will be responsible for relieving the U.S. troops in short order.

And so we're working all these pieces right now.

But today I did order for our military, in limited numbers, to head into the area to help prepare ECOWAS' arrival to relieve human suffering.

QUESTION: Mr. President, how you perceive the settlement as obstacle to your vision - to implementation of your vision? Thank you.

QUESTION (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): First question to the prime minister.

BUSH: OK, good, yes. This is the old two-question trick. It's an international trick, I see. Very good job, yeah. You learned from the guy to your left. Both of them from your left are pros at that, too, I might add.

QUESTION: Various officials in the administration yesterday indicated that they are having difficulties understanding the Palestinian situation when it comes to the issue of prisoners. In your meeting today with the president, did you discuss that? And did any of the progress happen on the U.S. understanding?

ABBAS (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We always raise this issue that it is basically an important and sensitive issue for us. This is the issue of prisoners. We look at the prisoners as the true constituency for peace. And we have raised this issue. We believe that they will support the peace process. Today we did discuss this issue and we see understanding coming from the administration about this humanitarian and fair issue.

BUSH: As to the settlements, I've constantly spoken out for the need to end the settlements. And we'll continue to work with both sides on this very sensitive issue.

Let me make something - let me say this is necessary. It is necessary for this good man to continue to fight off the terrorist activity that creates the conditions of insecurity for not only Israel, but for the peaceful Palestinian people. In order for us to be able to make progress on a lot of difficult issues, there has to be a firm and continued commitment to fight terror.

One reason I'm willing to stand with the prime minister is because I believe that he has that commitment. He understands what I understand, that terrorists every time, every place will thwart the desires of those who want peace and freedom. And the commitment to fight terror and the results in fighting terror will make it a lot easier to deal with difficult issues, including the settlement issue.

QUESTION: Would you like to see Israel release the political prisoners? And would you like to see them stop building this barrier wall?

BUSH: First of all on the wall, let me talk about the wall. I think the wall is a problem and I've discussed this with Ariel Sharon. It is very difficult to develop confidence between the Palestinians and the Israelis - Israel with a wall snaking through the East Bank - and I will continue to discuss this issue very clearly with the prime ministers. As I said in my statement today, he has issued a statement saying he is willing to come and discuss that with us and I appreciate the willingness to discuss it.

On the prisoners, I think it is very important to, you know, have a frank discussion on the prisoners. We ought to look at the prisoner issue on a case-by-case basis. Surely, nobody want to let a cold-blooded killer out of prison that would help derail the process.

I mean, after all, it doesn't make any sense if you've got somebody who is bent upon destroying lives and killing people in prison, if you were let them out it would make it harder to achieve the peace we all want. And so, I think it is very important to analyze the prisoner situation on a case-by-case basis.

I fully understand the prime minister's desire, I fully understand his request, and therefore, will continue to talk to both sides on this issue. But I would never ask anybody in any society to let a prisoner out who would then commit terrorist actions. And I think that's logical and clear.

And so, but these are all difficult issues. By the way, we are now discussing them, now, in a frank way which is progress unto itself. These are issues where there had been no discussion before. And now, we're putting them on the table and we're making progress.

And as people get more confidence - listen, I'm gaining confidence in the Palestinian prime minister and his great cabinet. I had the finance minister in to discuss issues with me. He told me he would put the budget of the Palestinian Authority on the Web page, and he did, which means he's a man of his word.

The security chief, Dahlan, and I have had some discussions.

He's a good, solid leader. And so I gained confidence in them, because they're people who do what they say. And the more confidence we gain, the more easy it's going to be to tackle these very difficult issues.

Final question from the Palestinian.

QUESTION: When you speak to Palestinians they're saying that the biggest problem they have are the 160 Israeli checkpoints that are complicating the Palestinian community. Did you get any guarantees from Mr. President that he will pressure Israel in removing these checkpoints?

And, Mr. President, you said the settlements are an obstacle for peace. Will you pressure Israel to stop the settlement activities, when and how?

BUSH: Well, let me start and then you can end.

ABBAS: Please.

BUSH: We'll let my guest end.

I just told you that we've brought this issue up. I've constantly spoken out about the end of settlements. I have done so consistently.

It's very important for us to continue to earn the confidence of each other. And I'm going to tell you point blank that we must make sure that any terrorist activity is rooted out in order for us to be able to deal with these big issues.

Nobody is going to accept a situation in which they become less secure, whether it be the Palestinian people or the Israeli people. Security is the essential roadblock to achieving the road map to peace.

And the reason I'm confident that we can achieve substantial progress and achieve the vision of two states living side by side in peace is because I believe that the prime minister and his team is interested in rooting out terror.

And so to answer your question, the more progress there's made on terror the more progress there may be made on difficult issues.

ABBAS (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): The issue of the checkpoints between various Palestinian towns and villages was one of the issues that basically was discussed with the president. As he mentioned, we discussed a wide variety of issues. We discussed issues of settlements, the issue of the wall, the issue of prisoners and others, including the checkpoints.

We feel that the president is paying attention to all these issues, and we believe that he will raise those issues with the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Sharon.

BUSH: Thank you all very much.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Israel
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 07/25/2003 10:55:11 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson
welcome to the twighlight zone
2 posted on 07/25/2003 10:58:13 AM PDT by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Yehuda; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; ...
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.

---------------

We are particularly grateful for the $20 million of direct assistance to Palestinian Authority. And we hope that this assistance increases and is enshrined in legislation.

We have succeeded significantly, where Israel, with its military might, has failed in reducing violence. And we will continue.

movement needs to be made in terms of freeing prisoners, lifting the siege on President Arafat, Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian areas and easing up freedom of movement to Palestinians.

Some steps have been taken by Israel so far, but these steps remain hesitant.

For the sake of peace and for the sake of future Palestinian and Israeli generations, all settlement activities must be stopped now and the wall must come down.

BUSH: Good job, Mr. Prime Minister.

=========================

If Israel’s going ahead with the road map, it’s time to build the fence higher.


3 posted on 07/25/2003 11:02:31 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson
From the Bush opening statements:

In our talks this morning, Prime Minister Abbas and I covered a range of issues. We discussed the impact on the Palestinian people of the limits on their freedom of movement, and the need to reduce the network of checkpoints and barriers.

Prime Minister Abbas shared his concerns about Israeli settlements, confiscation of land and the building of a security fence.

He also expressed his strong desire to see the release of many more Palestinian prisoners. We will continue to address these issues. We will address them carefully and seriously with the Palestinian and Israeli officials. We will work to seek solutions.

Confiscation huh? How about "securing" palie land from murdering terrorists?

The President amazes me with "something new" everyday!

4 posted on 07/25/2003 11:06:40 AM PDT by Brian S ("Mount up everybody and ride to the sound of the gun!")
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To: joesnuffy
"welcome to the twighlight zone"

No kidding. Well put.


5 posted on 07/25/2003 11:07:18 AM PDT by Bahbah
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To: Brian S
Prime Minister Abbas shared his concerns about Israeli settlements, confiscation of land and the building of a security fence.

Confiscation, sure, it means Israel gets to keep the land to the west of the fence. That's not what Arafat's map looks like.

6 posted on 07/25/2003 11:12:45 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson
Just like they said Clinton was our first black President, GW Bush is going to be our first PLO President. Way to go Goerge W. Arafat!
7 posted on 07/25/2003 11:17:53 AM PDT by LarryM
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To: joesnuffy
Well said.

President Bush supporting & financing & rewarding arab muslim terrorism against Israel in his own words.

8 posted on 07/25/2003 11:31:42 AM PDT by Binyamin
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To: SJackson
Points of interest:

1. "grateful for the $20 million of direct assistance to Palestinian Authority. And we hope that this assistance increases and is enshrined in legislation."

2. "first Palestinian prime minister and he is proving to be such a leader."

3. "We have succeeded significantly, where Israel, with its military might, has failed in reducing violence."

4. "outcome must correspond with your vision . . . achieving a peace that will end the occupation that started in 1967, the establishment of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and a just, agreed solution of the refugee question on the basis of U.N. Resolution 194.

5. "settlement activities in Palestinian land and construction of the so-called separation wall on confiscated Palestinian land continue, we might soon find ourselves at a situation where the foundation of peace, a free Palestine state living side-by-side in peace and security in Israel, is a factual impossibility."

Re #1, $20 million is a drop in the bucket because palis want more and thru legislation will be an everlasting grab of taxpayers money. How much will araRAT get for his personal coffers?

Re #2, To whom?

Re #3, How have Abbas and the other terrorist groups succeeded where Israel failed?

Re #4, Bye, bye Israel! These come straight out of the Islamic Beirut Conference of 2001 where the heads of the Islamic countries refused Israel the right to attend since the issue was the palestinians and where to put them. Noted was Syria's demand to place in the minutes that Syria wouldn't accept any resettlement of palis within the Syrian borders. araRAT was welcomed to attend the conference but refused because Israel wouldn't let him back in. The conference's basic foundation was to condemn Israel the right of existence because several weeks later these same islamic heads met in Indonesia to discuss the definition of terrorism. These heads of state, intellectual beings that they are, and sponsors of terrorism couldn't come up with a definition so they fell back on the same old tired theme of condemning Israel the right to exist.

Re #5, even Abbas recognizes the land belongs to Israel. Note "free Palestine state living side-by-side in peace and security in Israel".


9 posted on 07/25/2003 11:35:24 AM PDT by lilylangtree
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To: SJackson
"BUSH: First of all on the wall, let me talk about the wall. I think the wall is a problem."

It's only a "problem" for you and the terrorists President Bush. It's not a "problem" for the Jews whose lives it saves from arab muslim terrorists.

10 posted on 07/25/2003 11:37:37 AM PDT by Binyamin
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To: Binyamin
The walls will go up at least some and then they will come down in order for the following to be fulfilled.

Ezekiel 38:11 - And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,

11 posted on 07/25/2003 11:47:12 AM PDT by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: SJackson
Please put me on the ping list!
12 posted on 07/25/2003 11:58:15 AM PDT by pitinkie
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To: SJackson
It's not your fault, but I knew this post would attract the naysayers. It's fine to cast doubt upon Bush's "roadmap" (I'm not very optimistic it will succeed), but it's really the only thing going right now. Other than to ethnically-cleanse the west bank and Gaza with carpet bombs, what would the naysayers suggest as an alternative policy? It's way too easy being critical. I usually read these Arab/Israeli threads, and I don't recall ever hearing any practical alternative to Bush's policies. The naysayers here are about as bad as the Democrat candidates for President. All nay-say, all the time, and never a positive alternative.
13 posted on 07/25/2003 12:36:36 PM PDT by My2Cents ("Well....there you go again.")
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To: SJackson
Let me know when I should stop grinding my teeth.
14 posted on 07/25/2003 12:42:09 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: My2Cents
Since Israel has agreed to the road map, alternatives are a bit off the point, however the Elon plan is a viable alternative (and transfer isn't mandatory, it's voluntary with financial incentives, or Jordanian/palestinian citizenship if they stay), or a unilateral separation providing Israel with defensible borders and a barrier (fence?), which might be where we're heading.

The problem I see emerging is GWB divergence from his plan, and the road map.

Fences aren't a part of the plan.

Prisoner releases aren't a part of the plan.

Terror infrastructure was to be dismantled. The hudna isn't a part of the plan, nor is Israel party to it.

Arafat is running things, Mazen acknowledges that. That wasn't part of the Bush plan, though it's OK in the road map. IMO, and GWBs too, negotiating with terrorists won't work.

The PA will be an islamic state, not a democracy, it's in their constitution. That's not part of the plan.

Incitement is to stop, throughout the Arab world. It's not, and we're saying nothing.

Unfortunately, even here in it's early stages, the road map isn't being followed. Are we giving a forceful message behind the scenes, I can't know, but I don't see the results, so I presume we're conveying an image of weakness to the Arab world. That's not going to get them to give up their long term objective of destroying Israel and expelling the Jews from the middle east. Unfortunately, no one wants to confront the ugly reality of the Arab world.

Personally, if he's going down this road, I'd rather see GWB negotiate with Arafat. If this is really the "double secret plan" (give them a state, let them kill Jews, then destroy them) that some Freepers claim, then the message of his impending demise needs to be presented to Arafat clearly and directly. Maybe he'd listen.

15 posted on 07/25/2003 12:58:35 PM PDT by SJackson
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To: Catspaw
When you take the bite plate out.
16 posted on 07/25/2003 1:00:14 PM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson
Now that you mention it, I've heard of the Elon plan. It's intriguing, but would Jordan agree to absorb the Arabs in the West Bank (or Egypt the Arabs in Gaza, for that matter)? Personally, I think Israel should have negotiated the return of the West Bank to Jordan a long time ago. By far, I prefer this "two-state solution" -- Israel and Jordan.
17 posted on 07/25/2003 1:02:29 PM PDT by My2Cents ("Well....there you go again.")
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To: My2Cents
Israel should never have been pressured to return the Sinai without settling the refugee issue. Probably the most geographically feasable proposal for a state consisted of southern Gaza and a contiguous portion of the Sinai encompassing Al Arish. Won't happen now. But you're right, peace with either Egypt or Jordan is impossible without resolution of the refugee problem. IMO, they should be settled where they are, in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, not returned to the West Bank if a state does break out.

The alternative (I don't think Jordan would agree either, but they could be prodded) would be a unilateral separation, creating a state in Gaza and part of the West Bank. Terrorists expelled, peaceful palestinians stay where they are, but are citizens of the new "palestine", rather than Jordan, but not Israel.

18 posted on 07/25/2003 1:12:08 PM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson
Israel should never have been pressured to return the Sinai without settling the refugee issue.

You're 100% correct. I don't know the history of it, but they probably thought that if they negotiated in good faith, got an initial agreement with Egypt, that would be followed by good faith efforts to solve the refugee problem. My sense, though, is that many of the people in the West Bank, and perhaps Gaza, aren't "refugees," but Arabs from other Arab nations attracted by Israel's economy. "The Palestinian People" is something of a myth.

19 posted on 07/25/2003 1:23:26 PM PDT by My2Cents ("Well....there you go again.")
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To: My2Cents
I don't know the history of it...

Think, the diplomatic skills of Jimmy Carter. The objective then was a "peace treaty", like Israel's at peace with Egypt, but in fact it was really about the return of the Sinai. Lasting peace then, as now, involved a change in the Arab mindset, not something easily dealt with in the short term.

Of course you have the bonus of a Nobel Prize for Jimmy, plus billions in aid to maintain Israel's military at a level that they could cope with the geographic disadvantage, and to Egypt to allow them to build their military to the point that they could try in again in a few decades.

It's off topic, but the Saudi-Egyptian forces are becoming, on paper, formidable. The IAF views their combined air wing as a mechanical equal (just need to train the pilots to do something other than flying into buildings).

The road map, similar. The real goal isn't "peace", that would require confronting Egypt, Syria and the Saudis, rather a "state", which can be accomplished, leaving the problems for another day.

20 posted on 07/25/2003 2:05:57 PM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson
Bush is a one term president like his father if he continues this.
He sold us out on domestic policy NOW he is SELLING us out on foreign policy.
Israel is a great American ally, while the PLO and Abbas are anti-american terrorists who wish to kill all of us. For Bush to meet with Abbas is the same as Bush meeting with Arafat. This a disappointment comming from the so called conservative Bush admininstration.
21 posted on 07/25/2003 6:05:09 PM PDT by M 91 u2 K
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