Letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

By Jerome M. Segal
University of Maryland
June 26, 2006

Dear Secretary of State Rice,

I have been asked by Palestinian Prime Minister Haniya to transmit the attached letter from the Prime Minister to President Bush.

Also attached is an analysis of the Prime Minister’s letter.

The circumstances that led to my role in this letter may be of interest in seeking to understand what any of this means.

Two weeks ago I was in Gaza, working on a piece for the Israeli daily Haaretz. In the course of developing my piece I had an interview with Prime Minister Haniya. By way of introduction I mentioned to him that years ago I had worked for USAID, in the policy bureau, first as Coordinator for the Near East, and then as Senior Advisor for Agency Planning. I further mentioned that in the Fall of 1988, in the events that led up to the opening of PLO/US dialogue, I transmitted a message from PLO leader Abu Iyad to Secretary of State Shultz. Shortly after that Haniya asked if I would transmit a message to the US Government.

The Prime Minister then dictated the message. It was simultaneously translated by his assistant Ahmed Yousef and I wrote it in my note pad. When he concluded, I read it back and the Prime Minister signed it in my pad. My impression was that he had been thinking about some such message and decided on the spot to convey it in this manner.

Upon returning to the United State I typed out the message and sent it back to Yousef requesting a more formal looking copy.. Subsequently, I received a message from him that he was in Europe and had left the letter with an aide for the Prime Minister to sign, but that if I didn’t hear back from them, I should go ahead and deliver the message an the basis of the Prime Minister’s request and signature when I met with him. (I have attached this e-mail).

Given the current crisis and the possibility that PM Haniya may himself be a target for assassination, I decided I could no longer sit on this, waiting for something on letterhead.

If it is feasible, I would appreciate an opportunity to speak to you or a senior official about the letter and the larger issues it raises.

My contact info is: home: 301-495-9755, cell: 301-675-3260 or at Jsegal@umd.edu


Jerome Segal, Director
Jerusalem Project
Center for International and Security Studies

Jerome M. Segal directs the International Peace Consultancy Project at the University of Maryland’s Department of Philosophy.

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