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26 June 2002

Byliner: Rep. Darrell Issa on Creating A Stable Platform For Peace

(Op-ed column from The Washington Times 06/26/02) (620)
(This byliner is by California Republican, Representative Darrell
Issa, who is a member of the House International Relations Committee.
The column first appeared in The Washington Times June 26, 2002 and is
in the public domain. No republication restrictions.)
To Create A Stable Platform For Peace
By Darrell Issa
On Monday, President Bush, the leader of the Free World, outlined a
framework for peace to end Palestinian suicide bombings, Israeli
incursions and the growing body count caused by this destructive
conflict.
To compliment the president's strategy, substantive steps to bring
security to the region must be taken. The Israelis and Palestinians
have had the opportunity to fight terrorism in the West Bank and Gaza
Strip, and both have failed.
America should work with our allies to bring forces from moderate Arab
nations, such as Egypt and Jordan, to the Palestinian territories to
train, augment and lead the security forces of the Palestinian
Authority. This multi-Arab force should serve on an interim basis,
help facilitate an atmosphere for peace negotiations and leave as soon
as the peace process has run its course.
A security force made up of multiple moderate Arab states would have
no excuses and no motivation to tolerate terrorism. If, for some
unlikely reason, the United States felt that the anti-terrorist
efforts of this security force were not sufficient, we would have
better options to correct these shortcomings with Egypt and Jordan
than we have had with the Palestinian Authority.
In terms of effectively rooting out terrorists in the Palestinian
territories, a multi-Arab force would enjoy tremendous advantages. The
Arab force would enjoy a greater level of cooperation from the local
populace than any non-Arab force could ever hope to attain.
Any assaults on terrorist strongholds taken by this security force
would not increase the anti-Western sentiment that radical groups
require for recruiting members and financing their evil operations.
Egypt and Jordan understand the danger posed by terrorist elements
committed to overthrowing pro-Western governments and establishing
radical Islamic states. One of al Qaeda's top lieutenants, Mohammed al
Zawahari, was directly involved in the assassination of former
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. In 1999, Jordanian police and
intelligence forces foiled an al Qaeda attack on Western interests
during the millennium celebration.
It should be clear that the terrorists who seek to harm us also pose a
significant threat to our Arab allies in the Middle East. There is no
room for squabbling amongst allies in the face of enemies as dangerous
as al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Iraq.
The alliance between the United States and moderate Arab states
remains strong; however, the United States needs to strengthen ties
between moderate Arab states and Israel.
We must facilitate cooperation between our Arab allies and Israel,
particularly when neither side seems interested in cooperating with
one another. Today, we should encourage our Arab allies to return
their ambassadors to Tel Aviv and urge the Israeli government to
demonstrate a commitment to the peace process by removing settlements
located within the West Bank.
The United States has a clear and attainable option for bringing true
accountability to the Middle East peace process. A new security
solution for the Palestinian territories is in the interests of the
United States, our friends in the Arab world and all nations who place
the eradication of terrorist networks at the top of their agenda.
(U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, California Republican, is a member
of the House International Relations Committee.)
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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