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

May 09, 2003

Israel Puts Skids

Is Sharon refusal to go forward until refugee issue withdrawn a deal breaker?
{...}“If [Israel] wants the Palestinians to abandon the right-of-return as the initial down payment to get anything started, then we are not going to get anywhere,” said Miller, who retired in January to become president of Seeds of Peace, a group that promotes Arab-Jewish peace through their young people.

Miller said Israel should “park that final-status issue and deal with other issues, from Palestinian security performance and incitement, to settlement activity and restrictions on Palestinian movement.”

He said Powell is expected to press to “get the security situation to the point where there is normal life for Israelis and Palestinians. The elimination of the threat of suicide bombers and terrorist attacks will eliminate IDF [Israel Defense Forces] responses. It is doable, but it is not for the fainthearted.”

“To govern in Palestinian politics,” Miller continued, “you need money, guns and political legitimacy. Abu Mazen has been accepted [as prime minister], but that is only the first step. Arafat will continue to compete for these three resources, and Abu Mazen will be sandwiched between Arafat and Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”

Ehud Olmert, Israel’s minister of industry and trade, said the success of the road map depends on the “efforts of the Palestinians towards terrorist organizations.”

He also debunked the notion that Israel would accept 100 percent Palestinian effort to end terrorism while 80 percent of the attacks continue.

“Forget about it,” he told members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization here this week. “If terror continues, there will be no meaningful progress. As long as Arafat is there, nothing of great consequence will happen.

“Don’t get carried away with Abu Mazen and [Mohammed] Dahlan,” Olmert said.
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