U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) spoke on CNN and Fox News today from Jerusalem about his thoughts on the Palestinian elections and their impact on the Middle East peace process. Smith noted that, “The Palestinian people have not had true leadership. They have had a corrupt and ineffective government that they had no faith in.” With the likely victory of Mahmoud Abbas, the Interim Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), as Prime Minister of the Palestinian people, Smith noted that “with a legitimate government where the people of Palestine have a chance to have a voice, to have a say, to have some control over their destiny, that just opens a wide range of options.”
More broadly, Smith believes that the elections bring a “great opportunity to bring democracy to the Middle East. Once the Palestinian people feel that freedom of empowerment to elect their own government, they will have a more responsive government and that could change the entire dynamic between the Palestinians and Israel.”
Smith stated that the United States needs to “enhance [its] credibility in the Arab world and other Muslim communities as well so that [the United States] can get some credibility back to be an effective partner in the Middle East.”
Smith also stated that “If Mahmoud Abbas gives the Palestinian people a better life, more opportunity, more freedom, then they can see democracy makes a concrete difference in their lives.”
Smith is the only Democrat that serves on both the House Armed Services and International Relations committees. He represents the 9th District of Washington state and is currently serving in his 5th term in Congress.