2011-06-03 / Columnists

Meeks’ Message From Capitol Hill

By Congressman Gregory Meeks

GREGORY MEEKS GREGORY MEEKS Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, Senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Financial Services Committee released the following statement last week.

In his speech today, President Obama reaffirmed many of America’s most important values in a message that clearly expressed that it is the policy of the United States to support those who seek to cast off tyranny, autocracy, and oppression in pursuit of self determination and democracy, as it is to condemn those regimes that violently suppress the will of the people. This policy reflects some of America’s most basic and important values. Like the president, I see this moment of revolution and transformation in the Middle East and North Africa, as ‘a chance to pursue the world as it should be.’ I join the president in recognizing the courage of young people who led the way toward democracy with a rejection of what has been, with the dream of what can be. Their conviction and fundamental optimism recalls that of African-American youth in the twentieth century who struggled against the odds for their civil rights and true democracy in the United States.

I strongly support the president’s call for political and economic reforms that will secure prosperity accessible to all people in the Middle East and North Africa. We look forward to helping those who by their own mass mobilization have decided that genuine democracy is the next chapter in the history. As ranking member of the Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia, I endorse the president’s intention to ‘work with the EU to facilitate more trade within the region, build on existing agreements to promote integration with the U.S. and European markets, and open the door for those countries who adopt high standards of reform and trade liberalization to construct a regional trade agreement.’ This kind of multilateral action is precisely what it will take to support those in the region who have so resoundingly issued the clarion call for democracy.

I stand firmly with the president’s unequivocal declaration that the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable. It is critical that the United States continuously reaffirm Israel’s right to defend itself and eschew any policy that would put Israel’s security at risk. We remain committed to the peace process, but we cannot expect Israel to negotiate with organizations like Hamas that cling to violence and refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

The president’s message to the Palestinians was clear: Efforts to ‘isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state.’

While there has been an established understanding that the 1967 lines with agreed upon swaps should be a foundation for reaching a two-state solution, today’s security realities are not the same as they were 44 years ago. A peaceful resolution between the people of Israel and the people of Palestine cannot be imposed. Both parties must come to the negotiating table without predetermined outcomes, with open minds, and with willingness to compromise. The United States remains steadfast in supporting our friend and ally Israel in negotiating a peaceful resolution.

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