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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

March 15, 2003

Rice holds out prospect of inviting new Palestinian prime minister to visit Bush

Associated Press item bound to leave many pro-Israelis wondering

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Once he is sworn in, the new Palestinian prime minister may be invited to the White House to meet with President Bush as the administration accelerates its drive for a Middle East settlement and a Palestinian state.

"I think there would be nothing better, at some point in time when it is appropriate, for a Palestinian prime minister to visit the White House," Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national security adviser, said Friday in an interview telecast to the Arab world.

After the appointment of Mahmoud Abbas, known also as Abu Mazen, as prime minister is confirmed, Bush plans to present Israel and the Palestinians with a "road map" for peace.

With his announcement Friday, Bush responded to European as well as Arab complaints of inaction.

He declared Israel could not have peace without accepting a Palestinian state on land held by Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967.

"There can be no peace for either side in the Middle East unless there is freedom for both," Bush said. "The time has come to move beyond entrenched positions and to take concrete actions to achieve peace." [more]