The United States, as well as the rest of the world, is entering
what many believe is one of the most dangerous eras in history.
Despite impressive progress, an independent democratic society
in Afghanistan has not yet become a stable reality, nor is the
required continued US leadership and economic assistance
assured. Although the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq appears all
but ended, the challenge ahead to replace it with an Iraqi led
democracy is just about to begin. The world and particularly the
Arab world is watching with serious skepticism. The US image in
the Arab world is seen as one of partnership with Israel rather
than as an independent force to assure a fair peace in the
It is in this context that the Civic Caucus feels an urgent need
to contribute and communicate our conclusions and
recommendations for US foreign policy leadership in the months
and years ahead. The constructive leadership of the US has never
been more urgently required in this time of deep controversy,
not only about the mission of the US, but about its motives and
its commitment to stay the course until the challenges have been
The dispute between Israel and Palestine, finds the world
watching to see if the US is truly interested in exerting its
leadership capability in securing a lasting and secure Israel
and an independent state of Palestine. Will the US show a bias
in favor of its close ties to Israel or will it demonstrate
Too few see the merits of the legitimate arguments of both
nations. And even fewer fully understand and appreciate the
terrible consequences a broad religious based conflict can mean
for both sides, and for the rest of the world. There are few
absolutes involved. Most decisions involve compromise and such
compromises must be led by other than the two parties to the
Recent developments motivate us - for the purpose of stimulating
thought and discussion - to develop the following Middle East
Policy statement. The issues involved and the consequences of
inadequate leadership vision are of such vital importance to our
future that we citizens must be informed and involved.
The beliefs stated below build on and are consistent with the
broader foreign policy vision the civic caucus developed earlier
in response to the challenges posed by 9/11 - a vision which was
agreed to unanimously by caucus participants and signed onto by
quite a number of others. A copy of this vision will be sent
MIDDLE EAST POLICY STATEMENT
1. Seeking peace between Israel and Palestine must be among the
US’s principal near term foreign policy objectives.
True and lasting peace in the middle east can only be achieved
if both the Palestinians and the Israelis are guaranteed
territories of their own, access to holy shrines, natural
resources including water, and protection for their sovereign
2. Terrorist acts, for whatever reason, are intolerable and
cannot be justified.
Without justifying the resort to terrorism by certain
Palestinians they manifest a combination of acts of desperation
and deliberate attempts to block any settlement and are a
reflection of frustration with the inability to achieve
objectives by any other means. Furthermore, terroristic attacks
against the Israelis are, at least in part, related to the
Israeli occupation of disputed territories and establishing
permanent settlements on them. Whatever the reasons, Palestinian
leadership must unequivocally declare its opposition to
terrorist acts as a tactic and assign major priority to assuring
that terrorism does not continue.
Equally challenging is the seeming determination, by certain
Israeli leaders, to find ways to block the formation of a
Palestinian state despite the fact that Israeli polls show that
a majority of the population favors this end result.
3. An overriding objective of US. foreign policy must be to
achieve a JUST settlement of the territorial dispute.
Both the Palestinians and the Israelis have strong historical
and religious claims to the geographical territories in dispute.
The overriding objective of both nations and the rest of the
world, however, must be a just settlement and an end to
terrorism. The alternative is unending violence. A just
settlement must include:
a. Establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the
Gaza strip, with access between the two, and with access to
natural resources including water, for both nations.
b. Full recognition of the state of Israel by Arab states,
including Palestine, with boundaries roughly along the pre-1967
c. Cessation by Israel of settlements in the West Bank and
evacuation of most of them.
d. Renegotiating the Palestinian claimed “right of return” for
its refugees, utilizing other means to compensate the displaced.
4. The essentials of A JUST settlement must be developed, if
necessary, by major nations with significant Israeli and
multi-Arab nation involvement.
The two sides to the dispute, each having such sensitive and
strongly held religious and political views, are unlikely, on
their own, to agree to a just settlement.
5. The security of each of the two independent nations must be
assured through the participation of the United States, other
nations, and the involvement of the UN.
Such security forces must have the confidence of both sides to
the dispute. This assurance includes the likely necessity of US.
participation in an international force.
6. The proposed “road map” developed by and agreed to by
ministers from the US, The European Union, the UN and Russia is
an essential foundation upon which to build a negotiated
settlement of this seemingly insolvable issue.
Leadership initiatives by the US, major world nations, and Arab
nations has never been so urgently needed. We urge that the
United States move immediately to provide this needed
7. Concurrence by the leading nations of the world in support of
the “roadmap” would make it exceedingly difficult for the
Israelis and Palestinians to continue their seemingly adamant
The specifics of a just settlement could then be worked out in
subsequent sessions and stages.
8. The United States chief negotiator in the upcoming minister’s
conference will play the foremost role in bringing the nations
to agreement on a just settlement and must have the confidence
of the other participants.
Colin Powell best personifies the personal qualifications, the
stature and the confidence of others, as well as the tone, that
must be projected by the US.
9. A plan, similar to the Marshall Plan is essential to the
democratization and economic well being of the new Palestine
nation and to maintaining peace in the area.
President Bush has proposed a “Marshall Plan” for Afghanistan as
an imperative to lasting peace. Similarly, a “Marshall Plan” is
essentiaL for the Palestinian nation and for its refugees and
their relocation. Such financial support must be conditioned on
structural changes that assure both democratization and that the
funds will be devoted to the intended purpose.
Both geographical areas of the world remain unacceptably
economically poor and are breeding grounds for terrorist
actions. Aggressive US leadership in concert with other major
powers, both policy and financial, is imperative to ultimate
10. The current magnitude of US. and major power financial
assistance to underdeveloped nations such as Palestine and
Afghanistan is grossly less than it should be and must be in the
Without improving the education and economic viability of these
nations’ people, a democratic society is unattainable and unrest
and ongoing terrorist attacks are inevitable. Education is
essential to a democratic society and to economic progress.
Economic aid will be far less costly and much more effective
than the alternative of living in fear, losing our mobility,
dramatically strengthening our armed forces and fighting brush
fires throughout much of the world.
Civic Caucus is making extensive use of computer and internet
technology to make it possible for people to participate without
having to attend meetings. The Civic Caucus believes
its approach might serve as a prototype for other organizations.
In addition to
the core group listed below,
some 750 others receive weekly
summaries of Civic Caucus meetings, background memos on public
affairs, and ongoing invitations to share their thoughts. That
group, which includes all legislators, is receiving today's
statement. If you would like to be included in Civic
Caucus e-mailings, send a request to
The Civic Caucus
is a non-partisan,
tax-exempt educational organization. The Core participants
who crafted this report included persons of varying political
persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and
business. Click here
to see a short personal background of each.
Verne C. Johnson, chair; Lee Canning, Charles Clay, Bill Frenzel,
Paul Gilje, Jim Hetland, John Mooty, Jim Olson,
Wayne Popham and John Rollwagen.