He announced the appointment of retired marine corps general Anthony Zinni as a senior adviser. Zinni and assistant secretary of state William Burns are to travel to the region to start work immediately on the ceasefire proposals.

Powell said that the Palestinian Authority needed to step up its efforts to stop violent attacks on Israelis. ‘Whatever the sources of Palestinian frustration and anger under occupation, the intifada is now mired in the quicksand of self-defeating violence and terror directed against Israel,’ he said. ‘No one can claim a commitment to peace while feeding a culture of hatred than can only produce a culture of violence. The incitement must stop.’

He also said the killing of innocent Palestinians by Israel must stop, and there should be a cessation of Israeli settlement activity.

He stopped short of outlining any sanction that might be imposed on Israel if it persisted with its attacks on Palestinian civilians and with the expansion of settlements. He also made no mention of the Israeli condition that any talks with the Palestinians must be preceded by seven days of complete quiet.

During the speech, Powell made an explicit reference to the need for the creation of a viable Palestinian state.