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

June 05, 2003

Summit Like It Not

This is a roundup of American papers and their lead articles--mostly on The Road meeting. While a pro-Israel position focuses upon what Abbas does or does not say or do, it is useful to know what is being said about the Sharon position too. See links within for specifics of each paper cited
Everybody leads with the Israeli–Palestinian summit in Jordan, co-hosted by President Bush, where both sides made pledges toward peace: Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas called for an end to "the armed intifada," while Israeli Prime Minister Sharon said he'll start dismantling the few illegal settlement outposts that have sprouted up since violence restarted in October 2000.

The New York Times says that Sharon's statement fell short of what American diplomats had drafted for him (though the paper doesn't detail exactly how). The Wall Street Journal points out that while Sharon's pledge to dismantle some settlements has big symbolic value, only about 800 settlers live on those outposts while there are about 230,000 settlers overall in the West Bank and Gaza. Still, thousands of right-wing Israelis demonstrated yesterday against Sharon's promises.

Meanwhile, while Abbas pledged to "exert all of our efforts, using all our resources to end the militarization of the intifada," the papers all note it's not clear how he's going to get that done. Palestinian officials say Abbas is close to getting Hamas and others to declare a cease-fire. But while Hamas has suggested it's open to that, it said it's opposed to the pledges Abbas made yesterday.

A piece inside the Washington Post looks at how the carefully crafted speeches suggest the obstacles ahead. For instance, one word not mentioned during the scripted chatter: "settlement."