Ambassador Discusses Mid East Events

In order to prevent terrorism, the United States cannot allow a climate that justifies terror to exist in the world, according to U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross, who spoke at the U Monday.

“That’s a theme that needs to be repeated on a daily basis,” Ross said, discussing discrediting terror. “We need to wage a campaign in that regard.”

According to Ross, a special Mid-East coordinator, the Mid East is the only region in the world that justifies terror.

Among problems causing terrorism, he described banners on schools glorifying suicide bombers and media support in the Mid-East for terrorists. Ross said this cannot continue.

“We cannot be the only ones that assume a responsibility,” Ross said. Ross talked about Yassir Arafat as one who needs to help discredit terror.

“He needs to speak out and make it clear that terror is illegitimate,” Ross said. “He has to be consistent in what he says.”

Ross spoke about what the United States needs to do to end the threat of terror in the world.

“The president has rightly said this is going to be a struggle that takes time,” Ross said.

According to Ross, the United States needs to change the way intelligence agencies operate.

“[Intelligence] has to operate with?a great deal of self doubt,” Ross said. “If you look historically at cases of strategic surprise, the one common element is we had all the information we needed available.”

According to Ross, in 1994, the French broke up a plot to crash an airplane into the Eiffel Tower. Ross also said that six months prior to the attacks of Sept. 11, there was a high level of threat alerts at overseas targets.

“The issue is not to indict, the issue is to find out why we were wrong,” Ross said. “It isn’t just what we knew and when we knew it, it’s why we discounted it.”

Ross also discussed international cooperation, saying all nations need to help stop the flow of money to terrorists.

Ross devoted much of his lecture to the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

“Both sides have to see it and both sides have to feel it,” Ross said.

Ross also said the Arabs need to become more responsible, and accountability needs to return. Ross said people on both sides of the conflict want peace, but it is only the land disputes that still remain an issue.

“I’m not overly optimistic in the long term,” Ross said. “Someday I’m going to come back and I’m going to be a lot more optimistic than I am today.”

Ross spoke as part of a five lecture series sponsored by the Middle East Center and other groups intended to help deepen listeners’ understanding of events in the world today.

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