The Palestinian plight

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n A prompt and serious commitment to accountability, transparency and rule of law. An attorney general and a special tribunal should be authorized to weed out corruption from this moment forward and to impose the most stringent penalties.

n It has to inspire the people, level with them, and work with them to build a nation and a state. Let the citizens make their contributions.

The international community has to express its support for this government by specific and immediate measures:

n Israel needs to release Palestinian tax money, promptly remove all non-security roadblocks and checkpoints and put an end to the humiliating encounters between its government employees and Palestinian citizens. The carrots and sticks at Israel’s disposal should now be used to empower moderation.

n The United States has to publicly and openly provide funds and systems of assistance to the Palestinian government. President Bush also has to express his commitment to the two-state solution as he reiterates and redefines his vision for a lasting peace.

n Arab governments, as they offer to negotiate on the basis of the Arab League Initiative, need to provide immediate financial contributions to the Palestinian economy.

n Egypt and Jordan need to play a special role in stabilizing the political and security needs of the new Palestinian government.

n The Quartet needs to enter into immediate negotiations with the emergency government to provide coordinated assistance to all government departments and civil society. It must resume its political role to revise and update the Road Map with the view of implementing a political program that aims at ending the conflict. Palestinians should expect political and violent opposition in the West Bank directed against the government, the people and also against Israel and they must deal with it.

Their dream of ever having a state rests on their success at this beginning. Politics, national and domestic, have consistently thwarted efforts of politicians to do what they know they must to solve this conflict. Present leaders who have everything to gain, and little to lose, in the United States, Palestine and Israel have an opportunity for a historic breakthrough by committing to solve it. The world cannot wait for them to act.

Ziad Asali is president of the American Task Force on Palestine.

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