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January 24, 2003

Will this new "state" use Hamas as it national police force? Officials: U.S., Israel Readying Call for Palestinian Statehood

Note, though, that no cessation of terror, no statehood.
JERUSALEM — Israel and the United States are preparing a new joint peace initiative for possible release following Israel's January 28 general election, the Forward has learned.

The initiative, details of which are still being ironed out in high-level, behind-the-scenes talks, would reportedly include a joint American-Israeli call for the establishment of a "demilitarized Palestinian state with temporary borders," according to several sources familiar with the talks. A unilateral Israeli announcement of the establishment of such a Palestinian state is being considered. The new state reportedly would be led by an appointed prime minister, with Yasser Arafat barred from playing any role.

Senior officials have confirmed that such plans are under discussion. Several sources cautioned against expectations of an early breakthrough, however, insisting that such plans would not be activated until after the Iraq crisis has been resolved.

Any explicit declaration relating to the establishment of Palestinian statehood, one senior government source told the Forward, would be part of a "second phase," following Palestinian economic and political reform and the cessation of terrorism.