Rice: Israel Must Withdraw from More than Gaza and Samaria (INN-ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) 02/01/05)
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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice says that disengagement from
Gush Katif and northern Shomron is fine, but only as a first step
towards a full-fledged PLO state.
Rice met with Prime Minister Sharon´s top aide Dov Weisglass in
Washington on Monday. She explained to him the U.S. position that the
unilateral withdrawal from Gaza is acceptable only as a prelude to
the full Road Map plan proposed by President Bush.
The Road Map plan calls for a "viable" - i.e., territorially-
contiguous - Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Rice, as well,
emphasized this point to Weisglass. This means that Gaza must be
connected with a land-line to Judea, effectively dividing Israel in
half, north and south of the Gaza-Hevron connection.
However, Associate Prime Minister Shimon Peres said today, "I think
that she was not referring to a connection between Judea and Gaza,
but rather to a connection between Judea and Samaria... We do have to
ensure, however, that the [PA entity] will be able to effectively
move goods between Gaza and Judea."
Prime Minister Sharon often says that the disengagement will help
Israel strengthen its hold on five settlement blocs in Judea and
Samaria. Nowhere, however, has US President Bush ever promised such
support. In a letter to Sharon almost two years ago, Bush wrote
only, "In light of new realities on the ground, including already
existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to
expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full
and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949..."
Rice´s statements that the disengagement is only a first step further
erodes Israeli hopes that the international community will approve
extensive Israeli presence in the Biblical homeland areas it
liberated in the Six Day War of 1967.
Secretary Rice is expected to arrive in Israel in the coming days.
Upon assuming her post as Secretary of State last week, Rice said she
sees the implementation of an arrangement in the Middle East
a "personal objective."
Excerpts from the Road Map plan as issued by the U.S. Department of
State on April 30, 2003:
"A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only
be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the
Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror
and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on
tolerance and liberty, and through Israel´s readiness to do what is
necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, and a
clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a
negotiated settlement as described below. The Quartet will assist and
facilitate implementation of the plan, starting in Phase I, including
direct discussions between the parties as required. The plan
establishes a realistic timeline for implementation. However, as a
performance-based plan, progress will require and depend upon the
good faith efforts of the parties, and their compliance with each of
the obligations outlined below...
"A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the
emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state
living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other
"In Phase I, the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional
cessation of violence according to the steps outlined below; such
action should be accompanied by supportive measures undertaken by
Israel... Israel also freezes all settlement activity, consistent
with the Mitchell report.
"* Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating
Israel´s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an
immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all
acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian
institutions end incitement against Israel.
"* Israeli leadership issues unequivocal statement affirming its
commitment to the two-state vision of an independent, viable,
sovereign Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside
Israel, as expressed by President Bush, and calling for an immediate
end to violence against Palestinians everywhere. All official Israeli
institutions end incitement against Palestinians.
"* Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism
and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and
restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent
attacks on Israelis anywhere.
"* Israel immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since
"* Consistent with the Mitchell Report, Israel freezes all settlement
activity (including natural growth of settlements).
"* [In the final stage,] Parties reach final and comprehensive
permanent status agreement that ends the Israel-Palestinian conflict
in 2005, through a settlement negotiated between the parties based on
UNSCR 242, 338, and 1397, that ends the occupation that began in
1967, and includes an agreed, just, fair, and realistic solution to
the refugee issue, and a negotiated resolution on the status of
Jerusalem that takes into account the political and religious
concerns of both sides, and protects the religious interests of Jews,
Christians, and Muslims worldwide, and fulfills the vision of two
states, Israel and sovereign, independent, democratic and viable
Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security.
"* Arab state acceptance of full normal relations with Israel and
security for all the states of the region in the context of a
comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace." (IsraelNationalNews © 02/01/05)
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