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Resumption of Middle East
peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians is a major foreign policy
priority of U.S. President Barack Obama's administration. On behalf of the
President and Secretary of State Clinton, Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George
Mitchell has been working closely with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, Palestinian President Abbas, our Arab allies in the region, and our
partners in the Quartet-Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations-- to
get the negotiations restarted.
But the difficulties are myriad in a region where radicals on each side create
new provocations every day.
Nonetheless, according to numerous opinion polls, the vast majority of people
most affected by the existing situation, both Israeli and Palestinian, yearns
for a resolution to the conflict, once and for all: opinion polls of both
Israelis and Palestinians have found substantial support for a two-state
solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
In June, pollsters for the One Voice Movement, an international grassroots
effort aimed at amplifying moderate Israeli and Palestinian voices, questioned
Israelis, as well as Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, about what they
thought would be a practical working solution to the conflict. Some 71 percent
of Palestinians and 77 percent of Israelis strongly believe that negotiations
are a necessity, while 78 percent of Palestinians and 74 percent of Israelis
feel that such negotiations should aim toward a peace agreement that leads to
both states living side by side in peace and security.
Such polls demonstrate clearly that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have the
support of large majorities of their constituents to resume talks and negotiate
an agreement based on a two-state solution. The United States is asking all
parties to take meaningful, historic steps that will help lay the foundation
for the prompt resumption of productive negotiations and the early conclusion
of a peace agreement establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside
Israel and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.