MIDDLE EAST INVESTMENT INITIATIVE
The United States has announced the Middle East Investment Initiative -- a new source of low-interest small business loans for Palestinians who otherwise would not be able to obtain them. It is important to try to help Palestinians improve their living conditions and economic opportunities. The Middle East Investment Initiative has the potential to that. As U.S. Under Secretary of State Karen Hughes said, "It says to an olive grower who wants to expand operations, or someone with a small information technology company, or a woman who wants to hire her neighbors to help produce and export beautiful Palestinian embroidery, or an aspiring industrialist that America and our partners want to help you to expand your business, support your family and create new jobs." The United States is committed to financial, diplomatic, and political support to help lay the foundations for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. But there are those who oppose peace. "Their path," said Ms. Hughes, "is one of continued violence and death and the ongoing humiliation of occupation." But they must not be allowed to destroy the opportunity for a political solution that enables Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace. "I hope that in the Middle East," said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, "we can make real progress on helping the forces of moderation in the Middle East, helping democratic forces in the Middle East." The Middle East Investment Initiative is designed to help the people of Palestine build their own businesses, build their own incomes, and achieve their own dignity. This initiative reflects the continuing commitment of the United States to develop and strengthen the Palestinian economy and establish the foundation for a viable and prosperous Palestinian state that will live in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors, and be a source of stability in the region.