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

May 30, 2003

Israel pledges a Palestinian state after crackdown on terror

Crunch time. My guess is that the Palestinian PM will not be able to disarm the terror groups, or, at best, they will for s brief period cease terrorism as a tool to see what might be gained for them before starting up again. An additonal prospect is of course an all-out war between the would-be peace makers and the terror groups to decide who is going to run the arab cause. And Arafat? Doubless he will be pulling strings behind the scenes and playing a double game.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told his Palestinian counterpart he would negotiate the creation of a state for the Palestinians if they fight terrorism, setting a guarded but optimistic tone for next week's three-way summit with President Bush.
Though statements from both sides early Friday, following Sharon's meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, were couched in positive terms, in the end, they maintained their basic positions.

The Palestinians demanded implementation of the U.S.-backed "road map" plan leading to a Palestinian state, and the Israelis conditioned all additional steps on a crackdown against violent groups responsible for attacks against Israelis.

Abbas prefers stopping violence through dialogue and told an Israeli newspaper that an agreement with the largest militant group, Hamas, could be completed next week. Hamas has been responsible for most of the suicide bombing attacks that have killed more than 300 Israelis in 32 months of violence.

The three-hour meeting Thursday night between Sharon and Abbas, their second in two weeks, came ahead of a summit between the two leaders and Bush planned for the Jordanian resort of Aqaba next Wednesday.[more]