Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Van Nuys, CA – Congressman Howard L. Berman, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, released the following statement applauding the start of direct peace negotiations between Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Abbas and President Obama:

“I congratulate Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Abbas, and President Obama on the start of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks which begin tomorrow. The Israeli and Palestinian leaders have worked hard to improve conditions on the ground over the past eighteen months, and I hope the successes in the security and economic realms will have a positive impact at the negotiating table, where a spirit of goodwill, compromise, and empathy will be critical elements in achieving a solution.

“Progress in these talks will depend on the ability of the respective leaders to make courageous decisions in the face of domestic political challenges and efforts by terrorists and extremists to derail the process, such as yesterday’s tragic shooting in the West Bank. In particular, it is critical that the leaders take personal charge of the talks and commit to persistent, uninterrupted efforts to reach a solution, including an end of conflict and claims. There will always be excuses to walk away from these talks, but the real test of statesmanship for both Israeli and Palestinian leaders will be to rise above day-to-day developments and maintain their focus on achieving a long-term, sustainable peace.

“I offer Israelis and Palestinians my strong support as they pursue these direct negotiations which have the potential to create secure and prosperous nations, side by side.”