A bomb exploded at a crowded bus stop Wednesday in central Jerusalem. The week before, after another horrific attack-the brutal muders of the Fogel family, Congressman Rothman and Congressman Austria issued a letter to Presdent Obama directly instructing the president to pressure P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas to "fully renounce any and all Palestinian incitement against Israel and the Jewish people." (Read the full text below)
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President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
We live in an increasingly complex world. Recently, we have been bombarded by newsand images from around the globe about the popular uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, andthroughout the Middle East. We have seen the effects of yet another devastating earthquake,which struck Japan just days ago, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without homes andcountless others dead. And we continue to live with the constant threat posed by North Koreas and Irans pursuit of nuclear weapons as well as the danger of nuclear proliferation at the handsof terrorists. We write to request that, while all of these events are consuming the daily newscoverage, we not take our eye off of working toward a goal that is close to all of our hearts: apeaceful and secure Jewish State of Israel.
We are sure that you share our disappointment in President Mahmoud Abbass decision to withdraw from peace talks in October of last year and his stubborn refusal to reengage as awilling partner for peace with Israel. The continued intransigence of the Palestinian leadership is both hurtful to the prospect for a two-state solution and to a final resolution of the conflict that still plagues the Israeli and Palestinian people. Unfortunately, we live in a time when the Al AqsaMartyrs Brigades will rush to take credit for the horrific, inhuman, and brutal attack in Itamar against the Fogel family, including three of their children, an 11-year-old, 4-year-old, and 3-month-old.
This must serve as a wakeup call that the current state of affairs is dangerous andunacceptable. In that regard, we respectfully request that you do everything possible to urgePresident Abbas to root out terrorism, return to negotiations without preconditions, earnestly work toward peace with Israel, and slam the door on any effort to deal with final status issues atthe United Nations. As part of that, President Abbas must fully renounce any and all Palestinian incitementagainst Israel and the Jewish people. On March 8, 2009, a number of us sent President Abbas aletter calling on him ³to truly end anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement,´ but clearly there needsto be further pressure.
However, Palestinian incitement continues and there is almost no effortby them to promote coexistence and peace. We would like to bring to your attention a reportrecently released by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus office entitled ³Culture of Peace andIncitement Index,´ that unfortunately shows that Palestinian incitement continues. Television programs run by the Palestinian Authority and textbooks in government schools continue topraise martyrdom and terrorists and call for an armed struggle against the Israelis.
Incitement,especially by official institutions, damages the prospects of reaching a peace agreement between the Palestinians and Americas strategic partner and indispensible ally, the Jewish State of Israel,and only encourages terrorismIt is our hope that an independent Palestinian state can be realized, living in peacealongside the Jewish State of Israel. While the United States must not and cannot impose a solution, our country has an important role to play in encouraging the two parties to restart directnegotiations. We respectfully request that you and your administration do all in your power toinsist that President Abbas reenters peace talks, without preconditions, and demand thatPresident Abbas eliminate all vestiges of incitement coming from his government, Palestinian entities, or officials.
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, Member of Congress
STEVE AUSTRIA, Member of Congress