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Remarks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's Annual Policy Conference

Secretary Colin L. Powell

Washington, DC

March 30, 2003

[Extracts from remarks on Palestine]

... The President's vision puts clear obligations on the Palestinians. The Palestinian state must be based on transformed leaderships and institutions that end terror. The Palestinian government must be transparent and accountable to the people. Above all, the Palestinian state must be a real   partner for peace with Israel.

Israel has clear obligations, too. It must take steps to ease the suffering of Palestinians and diminish the daily humiliation of life under occupation.

  Israel must also help put economic hope in Palestinian hearts by helping revive the devastated economies of the West Bank and Gaza.

  Settlement activity is simply inconsistent with President Bush's two-state vision. As the President has said, "as progress is made toward peace, settlement activity in the Occupied Territories must end."

Today, we have reached a hopeful moment, when progress may again be possible. Israel has held elections and formed a new government. The Palestinian Legislative Council has created the office of Prime Minister for the Palestinian Authority. As written and passed, the law gives the prime minister real power and authority, and provides direct accountability to the legislature that elected him.

There was a vigorous debate among Palestinians over this step, but in the end, the PLC was clearly responding to calls for freedom from the Palestinian people themselves. We will be watching very carefully to see how the new Palestinian  prime minister exercises his authority, which is so important for Palestinians' hopes for a better future.

Once the new Palestinian prime minister is confirmed in office, we will present both sides with the roadmap we have developed to restart movement toward peace.

The President's vision of June 24th marked the beginning of what must be a continuous, determined journey to peace.  The roadmap we have developed in close consultation with the parties, our friends in the region, and our partners in the Quartet - Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations - describes that journey and the mutual obligations both sides must meet if we are going to reach our shared destination.

The roadmap is not an edict, it is not a treaty. It is a statement of the broad steps we believe Israel and the Palestinians must take to achieve President Bush's vision of hope and the dream that we all have for peace.

Israel and the Palestinians must walk the road of peace together, if either is to arrive at the desired destination. The roadmap offers a way for the two sides to restart the direct engagement with each other that their journey requires.

As we move ahead, we must not lose sight of why we are doing this. We are working so hard for peace because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has taken too many lives -- Jewish, Muslim, and Christian -- and ruined far too many more. We must find a way to ensure that Israeli children, Palestinian children can grow up in peace and dignity and live in mutual respect of each other. We must recommit ourselves to making a better future for men, women, children, and generations yet unborn.

In the Middle East, such hope depends on security. And Israel's security ultimately requires a real and lasting peace with its neighbors. That is the reality behind the roadmap. ...

Complete remarks