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John Kennedy On Middle East Peace

(June 14, 1960)


“We must formulate, with both imagination and restraint, a new approach to the Middle East — not pressing our case so hard that the Arabs feel their neutrality and nationalism are threatened, but accepting those forces, and seeking to help channel them along constructive lines, while at the same time trying to hasten the inevitable Arab acceptance of the permanence of Israel.

We must give our support to programs to help people instead of regimes — to work in terms of their problems, as well as ours, and seek a permanent settlement among Arabs and Israelis based not on an armed truce but on mutual self-interest. Guns and anti-communist pacts and propaganda and the traditional piecemeal approach to the Middle East are not enough — refugee resettlement and a regional resources development fund in full partnership with the Middle Eastern nations, are all parts of a long-range strategy which is both practical and in the best interests of all concerned.”

Source: Speech to the U.S. Senate, Near East Report, (July 1, 1960).