December 16, 2002

According to the AEI, Natan Sharansky’s speech is largely credited for the 180 degree turn in the Bush Administration’s relations with Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority. The Washington DC-based conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has selected a historic speech by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Housing and Construction Natan Sharansky for the inaugural launch of its newest quarterly publication.

AEI Essays is a publication series of AEI featuring significant contributions to economics, politics, government policy, philosophy, social criticism, and current affairs.

For the inaugural issue coming out this week, AEI has chosen Sharansky’s “Democracy for Peace” speech which was delivered at the AEI World Forum at Beaver Creek, Colorado on June 20, 2002 in the presence of Bush administration officials like Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz.

Sharansky’s speech is largely credited for the 180 degree turn in the Bush Administration’s relations with Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority which came about just four days later in a major policy speech that in effect sidelined Arafat as ineffectual due to his inability to reform and create a true democracy as described in the Sharansky speech.

The “Sharansky Plan” for achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians would establish democratic institutions, accountable leadership, and civil freedoms among Palestinians as the precondition of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.

“Four days after the address, President Bush made a fundamental shift in US policy, calling on the Palestinian people to ‘build a practicing democracy’ and ‘elect new leaders not compromised by terror’ – effectively embracing central elements of the Sharansky Plan,” said Christopher DeMuth, President of the American Enterprise Institute. “Mr. Sharansky’s essay stands as a deep and compelling argument for what is now a central strategy in the war against terrorists and as an important historical document in the development of that strategy”.

“I am of course pleased and honored to have this speech so honored by the American Enterprise Institute,” stated Sharansky upon hearing of the selection.

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research focuses on preserving and strengthening the foundations of freedom-limited government, private enterprise, vital cultural and political institutions, and a strong foreign policy and national defense through scholarly research, open debate, and publications. It was founded in 1943.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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