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Letter in NYT from American Task Force on Palestine pres

In the July 15, 2005 edition of the NY Times the following letter by the president of the American Task Force on Palestine appears:

Thomas L. Friedman writes that in supporting Israel's planned withdrawal from Gaza, the "New Israeli Center" is confronting extremism within Israeli society, especially the settler movement, and that "the struggle in Israel today is a microcosm of what needs to happen in this whole region." A similar struggle has been taking place among Palestinians.

The Palestinian people elected a new president, Mahmoud Abbas, who ran on a platform of rejecting violence and seeking peace through negotiations. He has put into effect a comprehensive cease-fire that has been respected by most armed Palestinian factions.

The bombing this week in Netanya proves that some Palestinians continue to cling to radical goals and tactics. The good news is that a majority of both Palestinians and Israelis favor ending the conflict through negotiations resulting in two states living side by side in peace.

The "new Palestinian center" deserves as much respect and support as its Israeli counterpart.

Ziad J. Asali
Washington, July 13, 2005
The writer is president of the American Task Force on Palestine

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