Bill Clinton Urges U.S. Arabs to Push for Mideast Peace

Former U.S. president: It's important to give the Palestinian people something to look forward to.

Former United States President Bill Clinton on Saturday called on Arab Americans to push government leaders for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"As the U.S. continues to push for peace in the area, I think it's really important to give the Palestinian people something to look forward to," Clinton said to loud applause.

Clinton cited an experience in 1993 when he failed to persuade many Jewish-American and Arab-American business people to invest in the Palestinian territories because violence and bombings had deterred them.

"It just took one more bus bomb or one more rocket or one more incident and then people got scared of losing their money," Clinton told the audience at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee during its annual convention.

Clinton also praised U.S. President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo, Egypt, in early June that was focused on mending ties with the Arab world.

Clinton, who wasn't paid for his speech, spoke in a wide-ranging 35-minute address that focused on people's identity in an interdependent world. He said the U.S. can't rely on its military might in global relations. "It has to begin by people accepting the fact that they can be proud of who they are without despising who someone else is," he said.

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