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Bush Sending Powell to Middle East

April 4, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ In a new push for peace, President Bush urged Israel on Thursday to end its military offensive against Palestinians and called on Arab nations to do more to crack down on terrorists. He ordered Secretary of State Colin Powell to the region to carry the new message.

``The storms of violence cannot go on,″ Bush said. ``Enough is enough.″

Bush has faced mounting criticism with each new suicide bombing against Israelis and military response from Israel. He has been accused of doing too much and, by other critics, not enough. The speech was designed to prod both Israel and Palestinians to take tough steps toward peace.

To Israel, Bush called for a halt to incursions into Palestinian-controlled areas. Senior advisers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bush believes the assaults could eventually undermine Israel’s security by inciting more violence and even spread the conflict beyond the Israel-Palestinian borders.

He urged Israel to stop the building of settlements in Palestinian areas and ``show a respect for _ and concern about _ the dignity of the Palestinian people.″ He said closed border crossings should be opened to allow for a freer flow of Palestinians.

``I speak as a committed friend of Israel, out of concern for its long-term security,″ Bush said.

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