US Envoy Calls on Israel to Repay Palestinian Quiet -- With Quiet (CNS-CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE) By Julie Stahl JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 01/27/05)
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Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - U.S. envoy William Burns called on Israel
on Thursday to repay quiet for quiet on the Palestinian side just
hours after Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom called the
Palestinian Authority ceasefire a "ticking bomb" that was ready to
explode in Israel´s face.
But Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expressed satisfaction with
steps taken by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu
Mazen) toward reining in radical groups.
"There is no doubt that Abu Mazen has begun to work," Sharon said in
an interview with the Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot published on
"I am very pleased with what I hear about what is going on the
Palestinian side, and I very much want to work with him to make
progress," Sharon was quoted as saying.
Sharon´s office announced on Wednesday that Israel had resumed
diplomatic contacts with the PA that were suspended two weeks ago
following a terrorist attack at the Karni crossing into the Gaza
Strip, in which six Israelis were killed.
Abbas has deployed thousands of PA policemen in the northern Gaza
Strip to prevent the firing of Kassam rockets and mortar shells at
Israeli communities inside Israel and in Gaza. A further deployment
of PA policemen in the southern and central Gaza Strip is expected
He also has said that he has convinced radical groups like Hamas and
Islamic Jihad to participate in a ceasefire agreement in return for
an Israeli halt to military operations, including arrests of wanted
Palestinians and targeted killings.
On Thursday, Abbas said he was waiting for an Israeli response to his
offer "as soon as possible" and called for progress on the diplomatic
The Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades threatened to disregard any ceasefire
after a Hamas operative was killed in an Israeli arrest raid in the
West Bank on Wednesday.
It is not clear if Israel would agree to enter into a formal
ceasefire with the Palestinians, but Sharon said he wanted
to "promote the chances of reaching an arrangement with the
Without elaborating, Sharon said he said he would "accommodate" Abbas
but at the same time "keep my eyes open and to examine the situation
on their side."
PA leaders met with U.S. envoy William Burns on Thursday in Ramallah
and called on Israel to answer quiet on the Palestinian side with
quiet on the Israeli side.
Burns, who is here to "seize the moment of opportunity," an American
diplomat said, is due to meet with Israeli leaders later on Thursday.
But Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom was not enthusiastic
regarding the idea of a ceasefire.
"A ceasefire as such is not a goal," said Shalom in a radio interview
on Thursday. "Whoever thinks a halt is the right thing is mistaken. A
ceasefire is a ticking bomb which will blow up in our faces."
A year and a half ago, Israel charged that a similar attempt at a
ceasefire would be used by Palestinian groups to rearm.
The "ceasefire" disintegrated in less than two months into a new
round of suicide bombings and terrorist attacks.
"You cannot take a ceasefire as a long-range goal while they are
still preserving their infrastructure; the extremist organizations
can rebuild them and bring about a situation in which, at a time they
choose, they can carry out one terrorist attack or a series of terror
attacks, which will bring down this whole process and send it to
hell," Shalom said.
Shalom met with Condoleezza Rice -- now U.S. secretary of state -- on
Wednesday in Washington.
Rice is due to visit the Middle East in the next few weeks, Israeli
media reported on Thursday. The U.S. Embassy could not confirm the
reports. (copyright 1998-2005 Cybercast News Service. 01/27/05)
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