Rice: Israel will have to make sacrifices in peace negotiations
By TRAVIS LOLLER
Associated Press Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday that Israelis must be prepared for “difficult and painful sacrifices to some of their longest-held aspirations” during upcoming talks with Palestinian leaders.
Rice did not specify what sacrifices might be needed but added that the Palestinians must also be prepared for sacrifices. The threat from violent extremists means that failure of the talks is not an option, she said.
“What is at stake is nothing less than the future of the Middle East,” Rice said.
The United States is hosting peace negotiation between Israel and Palestine in Annapolis, Md., later this month.
Speaking before the United Jewish Communities, a North American humanitarian group, Rice said the conditions for peace are right because Israel now has a legitimate negotiating partner in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“In our view, the security of the democratic Jewish state required the creation of a responsible Palestinian state,” she said.
She suggested that the Palestinian state also could serve as a bulwark against the threat from violent extremists.
She praised President Bush for realizing a Palestinian democracy was a necessary precondition for meaningful negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.
“Some think that this focus on democracy backfired with the election of Hamas,” she said. “I disagree with that conclusion. Hamas always had power. What it never had was responsibility for power.”
Hamas has chosen violence rather than responsible government, she said, and for that reason it is isolated by the international community.
Rice said a two-state solution for the Israelis and Palestinians was more urgent than ever because of the threat from violent extremists in the Middle East, referring specifically to Hamas, Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas and to Iran.
Iran is choosing to “destabilize the Middle East, pursue nuclear capabilities and threaten our allies, especially Israel,” she said.
Published in The Messenger 11.14.07
Condoleeza Rice, Israel