Skip to comments.Israel: PA must recognize our right to exist as a Jewish state
Posted on 04/18/2003 10:30:02 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
Israel is insisting that the Palestinians recognize its right to exist as a Jewish state at the outset of negotiations on the U.S.-backed 'road map' for peace in the Middle East, which could be released as early as next week.
Interviewed on CNN on Friday, Israel's consul-general in New York, Alon Pinkas, said that while Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat had recognized Israel's existence as a fact, he had never recognized its right to exist as a Jewish state.
Meanwhile, as part of a list of measures it intends to implement after the swearing in of new Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Abu Mazen, Israel has told the United States it will gradually withdraw its troops from PA territory. The confidence-building measures are viewed as part of an effort to boost Abu Mazen's standing.
Other steps include the release of Palestinian prisoners, the transfer of funds belonging to the Palestinian Authority, and the issuing of permits to Palestinians seeking work inside Israel.
The list of measures was presented to administration officials in Washington this week during the visit of a delegation headed by Dov Weisglass, the prime minister's bureau chief. The steps are meant to alleviate the plight of the Palestinian population and improve the functioning of the Palestinian Authority.
In terms of future steps, the Americans were told that Abu Mazen and his government could choose an area in which they would be responsible for controling militant activities and they would be allowed to deploy their security forces there, while the IDF withdraws. If the Palestinians prove successful, Israel will agree to additional gradual withdrawals. If they fail, the IDF will reoccupy the territory.
The Planning Division recommended that this effort first begin in the northern Gaza Strip because the Palestinian security forces are relatively strong there.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has also said he plans to meet Abu Mazen once he has officially been sworn in.
New PA cabinet could be presented by Sunday
Abu Mazen could well take office by next week. He and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat reached agreement on almost all of the ministers who will make up the new cabinet at a lengthy meeting late Thursday night.
Arafat had opposed the initial cabinet proposed by Abu Mazen because it would have sidelined a number of his loyalists. The remaining point of dispute is the role that former Gaza security chief Mohammed Dahlan will play in the new government. Abu Mazen wants him in charge of security, with the hope he will be able to take on militant groups, but Arafat wants Dahlan kept away from any security portfolio.
Palestinian sources were quoted as saying that Yasser Abed Rabbo will serve as minister responsible for negotiations with Israel, and that Saeb Erekat will be either the tourism or communications minister. The two are Arafat loyalists, and Abu Mazen did not intend to appoint them as ministers.
It was also reported that Hikmat Zaid, whom Abu Mazen wanted to appoint as agriculture minister, will not be given a ministerial appointment.
Senior Palestinian leaders on Thursday said an announcement on the new cabinet was expected Sunday.
"Progress has been made and we expect to conclude discussions by Saturday," said Palestinian planning minister Nabil Sha'ath. "Abu Mazen will present his government to the Palestinian Legislative Council by Sunday."
|PA Chairman Yasser Arafat attending Friday prayers in Ramallah. (AP)|
" How do you feel about the fact that you repeatedly
let murderers of Americans go free?
or that you directed the Commerce Dept. and the US Patent Office
to give all pending US patent applications to the Chinese Communists
even those still not released and withheld by Commissioner Godici and Dir. Rogan?
Well? Whose side have you been on, anyway?
and how do you feel now that USA security is forever compromised?
and finally WHOSE side are you on anyway, the terrorists?"