George W. Bush photo

Exchange With Reporters in Rocky Mountain National Park

August 14, 2001

Situation in the Middle East

Q. Mr. President, I've got a Mideast question for you. The Israeli tanks moved into a Palestinian city, the furthest incursion yet. Any new reaction to that?

The President. I have no new reaction. My only point is—and I'm going to continue to make the point and so is my administration—that the cycle of violence has got to end in order for the peace process, or any peace process, to begin.

And therefore, Mr. Arafat must clamp down on the suicide bombers and on the violence. And the Israelis must show restraint. We've got to break the cycle. In order for there to be any discussions about world peace, it requires a willingness of both sides to come to the table. And my administration continues to talk to both sides, and we will continue to work to try to bring a sense of—a desire, a sense of purpose on the partners there in the Middle East to sit down and, one, reject the violence and start meaningful discussions about how to reach an accord. It's essential that the violence stops.

Q. Sounds like a strongly held feeling.

The President. Well, I feel very strongly about it because I'm worried about the cycle of violence continuing to escalate. And it's not good for our—it's not good for that part of the world, nor is it good for the rest of the world, that the Middle East be a place of violence.

We've been making good progress in Macedonia, it looks like, so that part of the world is beginning to calm down a little bit.

The Middle East is a cauldron of violence, and we've got to—and we will continue to be very much involved in insisting that both parties break the cycle.

NOTE: The exchange began at 1:05 p.m. in the lunch line at a YMCA picnic. In his remarks, the President referred to Chairman Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian Authority. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

George W. Bush, Exchange With Reporters in Rocky Mountain National Park Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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