WASHINGTON, DC -- House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD), who led the largest Congressional delegation ever on a trip to Israel in August -- during which the 29 House Members on the trip met with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas -- released the following statement today in response to announcement of Abbas's resignation from that position:
“The announcement today that Prime Minister Abbas has resigned is a severe blow to the Roadmap for Peace and an extreme disappointment. One month ago, I sat across the table from Mr. Abbas during our trip and it seemed clear to me during that meeting that he is indeed committed to peace and the non-violent resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
“Abbas commanded respect within the Palestinian community as well as among Israelis. But the unfortunate reality is that the purveyors of death and destruction on the Palestinian side, including Arafat, deliberately sought to undermine Abbas at every turn. Where Abbas offers the Palestinian people hope, Arafat only offers them hate, suffering and more violence.
“If the Roadmap for Peace is to survive this setback, the Palestinian side must appoint a successor who, like Abbas, is committed to non-violence and who pro-actively works to dismantle the terrorist organizations that impede any real progress toward peace. The Roadmap for Peace requires first and foremost that the Palestinian side unequivocally renounce violence and that it dismantle terrorist organizations. That prerequisite remains unchanged regardless of who replaces Mr. Abbas.”