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Adopt ways of Gandhi: Wolfowitz to Palestinians

By T V Parasuram in Washington
Last updated on: November 04, 2003 11:57 IST
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United States Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz has suggested that Palestinians adopt Gandhian ways to bring 'enormous changes' quickly.

He claimed the greatest obstacle to Palestinian statehood was 'Palestinian terrorism'.

President George W Bush has promised to 'put pressure' on Israelis to change. Wolfowitz said, "If the Palestinians would adopt the ways of Gandhi, they could, in fact, make an enormous change very, very quickly. I believe the power of individuals demonstrating peacefully is enormous."

Addressing students in Georgetown University in Washington, DC, most of his speech and answer to questions from students were devoted to 'winning the battle of ideas' in the Islamic World.

He said that while those 'madrassas that turn out terrorists are well-funded', those which teach respect for all religions and teach that Islam is a peaceful religion are starved of funds.

"Many good, decent Muslims have spoken out against those who have tried to hijack their religion," said Wolfowitz. "Unfortunately, all too often, they have to do so in the face of threats and intimidation from well-funded extremists."

Wolfowitz added that American success in Iraq and peace between Israel and Palestinians will strengthen moderates in the Islamic world.

"We should do everything we can to support those moderate voices and assist their courage in speaking out," Wolfowitz said. "That is just one of many reasons why it is so important for us not only to succeed in Iraq, but also to achieve a peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Because when these two goals are attained, moderates throughout the Muslim world will be able to stand taller and stronger."

The United States, Wolfowitz emphasised, cannot afford to quit either from the battlefield or in the battle of ideas.

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T V Parasuram in Washington
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