Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

DC-Based ATFP Dedicated to Creation of Viable Palestinian State

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

DC-Based ATFP Dedicated to Creation of Viable Palestinian State

Article excerpt

The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) was founded in Washington, DC on July 15, 2003 to advocate the establishment of a viable and independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The idea for an organization focused solely on Palestine started as a series of conversations between Ziad Asali, then president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), and several prominent Palestinian Americans, including the late Edward Said as well as former White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu. These initial discussions stressed the need for a separate and distinct voice to speak on the issue of Palestine from an American point of view, given that the creation of a Palestinian state was now a stated objective of U.S. foreign policy. A board of directors was formed and, soon thereafter, ATFP was up and running under the direction of an Executive Committee comprising Dr. Asali, Rashid Khalidi, Talat Othman, Reema Ali, Jesse Aweida, Hani Masri and George Salem.

From offices overlooking the White House, ATFP advocates a viable and independent Palestinian state, based on relevant United Nations resolutions, to live separately and in peace alongside Israel. Specifically, ATFP advocates the following six principles toward a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

1. Two sovereign states-Israel and Palestine-living side by side in peace and security based on the borders of June 4, 1967, with mutually agreed upon territorial adjustments.

2. An end to the Israeli occupation and the evacuation of all Israeli settlements, save for equitable arrangements mutually agreed upon by the negotiating parties.

3. A just solution for the Palestinian refugee problem, in accordance with international legality and the relevant U.N. resolutions.

4. A shared Jerusalem open to all faiths, serving as the capital of two states, providing for the fulfillment of the political aspirations of both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.

5. Full acceptance of Israel by all Arab states, and normalized diplomatic and economic relations throughout the region.

6. A Marshall Plan-style package of aid and investment for Palestine and the new Middle East.

In addition, ATFP seeks to promote awareness of the far-reaching benefits that Palestinian statehood will have for the United States in the following areas:

1. Enhancing national security, as well as regional peace and stability;

2. …

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