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Letter from Colin Powell to Nobel Laureates for Mideast Peace. October 27, 1988.
Powell writes to thank the Nobel Laureates for Mideast Peace for their letter and to discuss U.S. initiatives in support of peace in the Middle East.


The White House


October 27, 1988

Dear Sirs:

Thank you for your thoughtful letters of October 14 to the President and me, and for the copy of the public statement you intend to release. The President and I share your deep concern about the continuing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Time is clearly not on the side of peace; the longer diplomatic stalemate persists, the more extremists on all sides will benefit.

As Secretary of State Shultz has often emphasized, and as you note in your statement, progress toward peace will require all parties to shed their illusions. Israelis must see that security based on strength must allow for a fair and just accommodation with Arabs. Continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is a dangerous situation that only condemns Israelis to perpetual conflict with their Palestinian and Arab neighbors. Palestinians must realize that slogans and rocks are no substitute for a realistic political agenda. Palestinians can fulfill their aspirations only by engaging directly with Israelis, and accepting Israel and its legitimate security requirements.

The initiative that the U.S. government has pursued over the past year is a serious attempt to find a path toward political compromise. It is founded on two basic realities: that negotiations must be based on the exchange of territory for peace envisaged in U.N. Security Council Resolution 242; and that Palestinians and Israelis must recognize that each have political rights that must be fulfilled. While dramatic breakthroughs are unlikely in the near term, we will continue to do what we can in the remaining months of this Administration to create a diplomatic framework on which our successors can build.

I welcome your efforts to provide “positive reinforcement” for the peace process. Your distinguished group can play an important and constructive role in highlighting the need for progress towards a settlement, and in helping all parties to take a fresh look at the costs of continued conflict and the benefits of peace. As you consider how best to shape such a role, including the possibility of a visit to the Middle East later this fall, I urge that you contact Assistant Secretary of State Richard Murphy. I know that he would be glad to discuss the situation in the region with you in more detail.


Colin L. Powell

Nobel Laureates for Peace

1625 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.

Suite 402

Washington, D.C. 20036

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