ADL Issues Open Letter to Palestinian President Abbas on Eve Of President Bush's Visit to the Middle East
New York, NY, January 7, 2008 … On the eve of President Bush's trip to the Middle East, where he will confer with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the follow-up to the Annapolis meeting, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued an open letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, urging the Palestinian Authority leadership to take "tangible and public steps" to end terrorism and demonstrate its commitment to reconciliation with Israel.
The following is the full text of the open letter from Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, to President Abbas:
Dear Mr. President:
On the eve of President George W. Bush's visit to the Middle East, we are writing to urge you to demonstrate the Palestinian Authority's commitment to true reconciliation with the State of Israel.
In the realm of security, we call on you to take tangible and public steps to end Palestinian terrorist operations and to ensure that the perpetrators of terrorist acts are punished. We were outraged to learn that the terrorists responsible for the December 28, 2007 murder of Ahikam Amihai and David Rubin were employees of the Palestinian Authority. Although these perpetrators are currently under arrest by the Palestinian Authority, past history has shown the detention of Palestinian terrorists by P.A. security forces to be ineffective and brief. After seven-plus years of brutal attacks, the people of Israel have little confidence in the intention and ability of the Palestinian Authority to combat terrorism. Ensuring that these terrorists are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that their sentences are carried out, will be an important signal to the Israeli people that you are serious about stopping Palestinian terrorism and promoting greater Israeli security.
We also call on you to take action in the area of nationalist symbols. Fourteen years after the signing of the Oslo Accords, the State of Israel is still omitted from official Palestinian Authority maps and materials. Most recently, Palestinian Media Watch reported that materials prepared by the Palestinian Authority Central Bureau of Statistics showed a map with a Palestinian flag over all of sovereign Israel. Public opinion polls have demonstrated time and again that the vast majority of Israelis are committed to peace and are prepared to make difficult sacrifices in the pursuit of an agreement with the Palestinians. However, these same polls demonstrate that even the Israelis most interested in negotiations have little faith in the Palestinian commitment to reconciliation. Peace education among Palestinians would do much to allay these Israeli doubts. Addressing anti-Israel and anti-peace messages in Palestinian nationalist symbols would be a powerful and public way to this end.
We hope that President Bush's trip to the region will spur the Palestinian Authority to undertake such substantial and public action to signal to Israelis that it is committed to security and reconciliation.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.