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Congress & the Middle East: Senate Resolution Commending Palestinians On Presidential Election

(February 1, 2005)

Senate resolution applauding the January 9, 2005, election of Mahmoud Abbas as the second President of the Palestinian Authority.


Commending the results of the January 9, 2005, Palestinian Presidential Elections.


Whereas on January 9, 2005, for the first time in 9 years, large numbers of Palestinians living in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem voted in elections that were widely described by outside monitors as free and fair;

Whereas the Palestinian people elected former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, to the office of President of the Palestinian Authority;

Whereas an estimated 65 percent of eligible Palestinians living in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem participated in voting at over 1000 polling stations, and for the first time in nearly 30 years, the Palestinian people elected new leadership;

Whereas on January 9, 2005, President of the United States George W. Bush stated that it was a `historic day for the Palestinian people and for the people of the Middle East' and that `Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza took a key step toward building a democratic future by choosing a new president in elections that observers described as largely free and fair';

Whereas Israel provided important cooperation with the Palestinian Authority to enable the holding of this election, including minimizing delays at checkpoints and redeploying Israeli security forces away from Palestinian population centers;

Whereas the Palestinian election was an important step towards democracy for the Palestinian people and an example to all those in the region who are striving to achieve democracy in their own nation;

Whereas during his inaugural speech, President Abbas stated that `The winner in these elections is the great Palestinian people who have created this democratic epic and who will safeguard it', that `The people have voted for the rule of law, order, pluralism, the peaceful transfer of authority, and equality for all', and further `Let us start implementing the Roadmap';

Whereas these comments build upon Mr. Abbas' 1993 statements on the White House lawn, where he said that a Palestinian state and an Israeli state could live in `peaceful coexistence and cooperation';

Whereas the election of Mahmoud Abbas was hailed around the world as a positive step opening new opportunities to move toward peace between the Palestinian Authority and Israel;

Whereas the Palestinian election provided President Abbas with a mandate from the majority of Palestinians to reject violence and pursue peace with Israel;

Whereas the extent of cooperation between the Israelis and Palestinians during the period leading up to and including election day was unprecedented in the past four years and reflects the potential for future cooperation;

Whereas the election must be followed quickly by concrete steps on the part of the new Palestinian President to meet his commitment to reform the Palestinian security services, establish the rule of law, and do all in his power to combat terrorism;

Whereas a democratic Palestinian Authority will serve as one of the most important building blocks for a viable, free, and stable Palestinian state;

Whereas President Abbas' success likely will depend upon his ability to tangibly and quickly improve the quality of life for Palestinians, and end corruption and violence;

Whereas the United States Government stands ready to work with the new Palestinian President to facilitate a renewed dialogue between the new Palestinian leadership and the Government of Israel with the goal of achieving through the Performance Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (the `Roadmap'), President George W. Bush's vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace;

Whereas the Roadmap, endorsed by the United States, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations, remains the only realistic and widely recognized plan for making progress toward peace;

Whereas the policy of the United States is to work toward a just and peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security;

Whereas all parties to the Roadmap have an obligation to urgently provide support for the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to confront and fight terror as well as to assist in the creation of true democratic institutions that will enforce the rule of law; and

Whereas people of all peaceful nations believe peace between the Palestinian Authority and the state of Israel will have far reaching positive effects on the entire region and throughout the world; Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate --

(1) recognizes that, on January 9, 2005, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, was elected by the Palestinian people to the office of President of the Palestinian Authority in what were widely described as free and fair elections;

(2) recognizes this milestone in the development of Palestinian democracy and congratulates President Abbas on his election to the presidency of the Palestinian Authority;

(3) commends the efforts of the Israeli Government to facilitate the election;

(4) expresses its respect for the freely expressed will of the Palestinian people, and its intention to work with President Abbas to help the Palestinian people realize the opportunity for a more peaceful, prosperous future;

(5) urges President Abbas and the new Palestinian leadership to abide by its commitments to reform the security services, establish the rule of law, and press on with the development of democratic institutions, including an independent judiciary and an empowered and democratically elected legislature;

(6) urges President Abbas to move quickly to honor his pledges to halt violence and incitement against Israel, dismantle terrorist organizations, and fulfill the Palestinian Authority's obligations according to the terms of the Roadmap;

(7) supports efforts to increase United States assistance to the Palestinian people and to help President Abbas rebuild and reform the Palestinian Authority's institutions, as President Abbas takes actions consistent with the Roadmap, so that they may better serve the Palestinian people;

(8) urges all members of the international community, particularly all parties to the Roadmap, to take advantage of this historic opportunity by providing timely assistance to the new Palestinian Government as it moves forward to implement the Roadmap, to help it build the necessary political, economic, and security infrastructure essential to establishing a viable, democratic state and improving the lives of the Palestinian people;

(9) calls upon Arab states in particular to provide political and financial support to the Palestinian Authority, to support a complete end to terrorism against Israel, to end incitement against it, and to reach out to the State of Israel in friendship and full recognition;

(10) reaffirms the commitment of the United States to the security of Israel as a democratic, Jewish state, and supports the commitment of Israel to fulfill its obligations under the Roadmap; and

(11) reaffirms the commitment of the United States to the Roadmap including realization of the vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, and looks forward to working closely with the Executive Branch to achieve this vision.

Sources: Library of Congress