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

May 27, 2003

Top Palestinian: We won't fight terror before Israel ends 'occupation'

Do note the Syrian intrusion (see link for full text), and the statement that since the Palestinians did not surrender, they do not have to concede anything but instead negotiate. But how would they "surrender" \when they were not even one of the nations trying to destroy Israel in the '67 war? Of course the various terror groups have maintained for some time that ending the "occupation" means ending Israel and not just getting out of land taken in the '67 war. Isn't it, after all, much easier to stop bombing and shooting than to dismantle settlements only to put them back up if negotiations fail?
Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath said ending Israel's "occupation" of Palestinian land rather than a halt to Palestinian violence must top the agenda of peace talks between Israel and his government.

He also praised US President George W. Bush Tuesday for planning a Mideast summit next week, saying his personal engagement was a welcome break from US preoccupation with Iraq in recent months.

"The Israeli occupation is still ravaging our territory and ravaging our people," Shaath said outside a two-day meeting of the 15 EU nations with Israel and its neighbors.

'"I don't think anybody can expect the Palestinians to be effective (in making peace) without first taking the occupation off their homes." The term "occupation" is anathema to the Israeli right, which believes Israel has a legitimate claim to the West Bank and Gaza Strip for religious and security reasons.

Plans were afoot for a summit bringing together Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas, the new Palestinian prime minister, in either Jordan or Egypt.

Shaath hailed Bush for showing a "greater American involvement" in Mideast peace making. "I think his personal engagement is important," he said. "It is something he did not do before. He was so busy doing other things." [more]