Israelis, Palestinians meet in Davos to discuss region´s future (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Ora Coren and Aluf Benn DAVOS, Switzerland 01/30/05)
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DAVOS, Switzerland - After several years of avoiding public
discussions, members of Israel´s government and the Palestinian
Authority agreed to participate in a joint public debate on the
future of the relations between the two people.
The debate in Davos on Friday was attended by Vice Premier Shimon
Peres, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Deputy Prime Minister and
Industry and Trade Minister Ehud Olmert. The Palestinians were
represented by Finance Minister Salam Fayad and Economy Minister
Maher al-Masri, as well as Yasser Abed Rabbo.
Despite the friendly atmosphere, the wide gap between the visions of
the future could not be disguised.
While Israel continues to consider the disengagement from Gaza as
mainly a unilateral move, it was ready to expand the security and
economic coordination with the Palestinians.
The Palestinians would like to see the renewal of a bilateral
political process, which would lead to an agreement and an Israeli
withdrawal from the West Bank, as well.
"It is always better to do things out of agreement. But most
important is to carry them out, not to talk," Olmert said.
"As soon as the disengagement [plan] is completed, even if it is just
a beginning, it will have a dramatic effect on lives and other
aspects would follow," he added.
The Palestinian delegates at the debate emphasized the need to make
the disengagement plan a first step in a full political process based
on the Quartet´s road map, leading to a peace agreement between the
"We should make an effort to end the occupation not only in Gaza, but
in the West Bank, as well," Fayad said.
"The key should be creating hope and an ability to pull the
disengagement into a final [peace] agreement. We need a complete
mutual halt to violence, an end to occupation and to give special
attention to economic development." (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz.
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