Rice presses need for Palestinian state

Condoleezza Rice at an AIPAC conference stressed the urgency of establishing a Palestinian state.

“The expansion of violence in the Middle East makes the establishment of a peaceful Palestinian state more urgent, not less,” the U.S. secretary of state said Tuesday at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference in Washington.

“The present opportunity is not perfect by any means, but it is better than any other in recent years and we need to seize it. Israelis have waited too long for the security they desire and deserve, and Palestinians have waited too long amidst daily humiliations for the dignity of a Palestinian state.”

Rice’s remarks were greeted with silence.

AIPAC has been among the leading skeptics of the current Palestinian leadership’s abilities to control terrorism should a state be established.

Rice, who was warmly received at the conference, also said the Palestinian track should take pre-eminence over recently renewed Israel-Syria talks.

“We do appreciate the effort that our ally Turkey is making toward a peace between Israel and Syria,” she said. “The key is to pursuing all paths to peace while maintaining focus on the Palestinian track because it is the most advanced.”

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