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Peace Dividend

Rep. Eric Cantor wants to cut off U.S. aid to the Palestinians.

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Might the bill run the risk of making more U.S. citizens also question tax support of Israel?

I would hope not. Certainly, there are going to be those who differ, but I think clearly the American taxpayer, and the American people as a whole, don't support terrorists, and don't feel we ought to negotiate with and support terrorists.



If U.S. peace negotiators don't recognize Arafat, then who is left to speak with?



As President Bush has said, it's time for all the nations in the Middle East to step up to the plate and make the decision whether they're with us in the civilized world or whether they're with the terrorists. I believe clearly the onus is on the Arab leaders to come together and play a real part in forging a peace in the Middle East. Mr. Arafat has demonstrated that he is unwilling to be a partner for peace.



How would you respond to those who argue that Jews have stolen Arab land?



In 1948, shortly after the Holocaust, the United Nations recognized the existence of a Jewish State and divided Palestine. Everyone but the Arab states accepted that division and when the independence of the state of Israel occurred, the Arab states told all Arabs living in what was then Israel to leave because, they told them, "We're going to conquer Israel. Once we do that you can return." Israel turned back its aggressors and has fought several wars since in defense of itself. After a while, the Arabs there began to call themselves Palestinians and seek a state for themselves after all the Arab states would not have them. Jordan killed many of them — would not take them in. There was no Arab state that would.



What are the prospects for a Palestinian state?



I think everybody, the United States [and] Israel included, recognize that there should be a Palestinian state, but the fundamental and important aspect is, that state needs to recognize Israel. That seems to be the problem, that there's never been recognition in any way of the right of Israel as a Jewish nation to exist.



Do you think East Jerusalem should serve as a future Palestinian state's capital?



No. I've always been an advocate of an undivided Jerusalem. S





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