I.P.O. Information Service


Palestine -- American Muslim Leaders Meet with Secretary of State Colin
Powell at the State Department

Washington, D.C., 4 April 2002/P/RE/17625c-is



The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), along with other Muslim and Arab groups, met with Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday to discuss the Israeli siege of the Palestinian people. 


American Muslim and Arab groups asked the Secretary of State to support the immediate implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1402, which the United States supported, asking for the immediate end to Israel's occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.  The groups also asked for the immediate deployment of international observers in the occupied territories, and for the United States to provide humanitarian relief assistance to the Palestinian people, among other requests. 


The groups also expressed their firm disappointment and outrage at the manner in which the Bush administration has handled the explosive situation in the Occupied Territories, specifically President Bush's and Colin Powell's justification of Israel's unjustifiable incursions, collective punishment and terrorization of the Palestinian people.


Muslim and Arab groups said that Powell sent the wrong signal on Friday, March 29 when he commented for the first time on Israel's besieging of Yasser Arafat, and conveyed their disappointment both in the administration and in him personally in making statements that were not evenhanded. 


MPAC's Political Director Mahdi Bray said to Secretary Powell, "We are approaching the 24th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most principled proponents for peace in United States history. King reminded this nation that there comes a time when silence is betrayal.  Our nation is betraying both its image and values by remaining silent on the root cause of the violence in the Middle East -- Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land and its building of illegal settlements."



END/ American Muslim Leaders Meet with Secretary of State Colin Powell/ 04-04-02/P/RE/17625c-is