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Monday, February 21, 2005
Pres.Bush: Palestinians must confront, dismantle terrorist groups; state with contiguous territory on West Bank

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 21, 2005
Remarks by the President at Concert Noble
Concert Noble
Brussels, Belgium
www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/02/20050221.html
2:08 P.M. (Local)

THE PRESIDENT: ...Our greatest opportunity and immediate goal is peace in
the Middle East. After many false starts, and dashed hopes, and stolen
lives, a settlement of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is now
within reach. America and Europe have made a moral commitment: We will not
stand by as another generation in the Holy Land grows up in an atmosphere of
violence and hopelessness. America and Europe also share a strategic
interest: By helping to build a lasting peace, we will remove an unsettled
grievance that is used to stir hatred and violence across the Middle East.

Our efforts are guided by a clear vision: We're determined to see two
democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and
security. (Applause.) The Palestinian people deserve a government that is
representative, honest and peaceful. The people of Israel need an end to
terror and a reliable, steadfast partner for peace. And the world must not
rest until there is a just and lasting resolution of this conflict.

All the parties have responsibilities to meet. Arab states must end
incitement in their own media, cut off public and private funding for
terrorism, stop their support for extremist education, and establish normal
relations with Israel. Palestinian leaders must confront and dismantle
terrorist groups, fight corruption, encourage free enterprise, and rest true
authority with the people. Only a democracy can serve the hopes of
Palestinians, and make Israel secure, and raise the flag of a free
Palestine.

A successful Palestinian democracy should be Israel's top goal as well. So
Israel must freeze settlement activity, help Palestinians build a thriving
economy, and ensure that a new Palestinian state is truly viable, with
contiguous territory on the West Bank. A state of scattered territories will
not work. (Applause.) As Palestinian leaders assume responsibility for Gaza
and increasingly larger territory, we will help them build the economic and
political and security institutions needed to govern effec

These vital steps are also difficult steps, because progress requires new
trust, and because terrorists will do all they can to destroy that trust.
Yet we are moving forward in practical ways. Next month in London, Prime
Minister Blair will host a conference to help the Palestinian people build
the democratic institutions of their state. President Abbas has the
opportunity to put forward a strategy of reform, which can and will gain
financial support from the international community -- including financial
support. I hope he will seize the moment. I have asked Secretary Rice to
attend the conference, and to convey America's strong support for the
Palestinian people as they build a democratic state. And I appreciate the
prominent role that
Prime Minister Blair and other European leaders are playing in the cause of
peace.

We seek peace between Israel and Palestine for its own sake. We also know
that a free and peaceful Palestine can add to the momentum of reform
throughout the broader Middle East. In the long run, we cannot live in peace
and safety if the Middle East continues to produce ideologies of murder, and
terrorists who seek the deadliest weapons. Regimes that terrorize their own
people will not hesitate to support terror abroad. A status quo of tyranny
and hopelessness in the Middle East -- the false stability of dictatorship
and stagnation -- can only lead to deeper resentment in a troubled region,
and further tragedy in free nations. The future of our nations, and the
future of the Middle East, are linked -- and our peace depends on their hope
and development and freedom.

....great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in
the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.

Our shared commitment to democratic progress is being tested in Lebanon -- a
once-thriving country that now suffers under the influence of an oppressive
neighbor. Just as the Syrian regime must take stronger action to stop those
who support violence and subversion in Iraq, and must end its support for
terrorist groups seeking to destroy the hope of peace between Israelis and
Palestinians, Syria must also end its occupation of Lebanon. (Applause.)

The Lebanese people have the right to be free, and the United States and
Europe share an interest in a democratic, independent Lebanon. My nation and
France worked to pass Security Council Resolution 1559, which demands that
Lebanon's sovereignty be respected, that foreign troops and agents be
withdrawn, and that free elections be conducted without foreign
interference. In the last several months, the world has seen men and women
voting in historic elections, from Kabul to Ramallah to Baghdad -- and
without Syrian interference, Lebanon's parliamentary elections in the spring
can be another milestone of liberty.

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