:: 12.19.2003 ::
Spin, Glorious Spin
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Thursday night that Israel would end negotiations with the Palestinians "in a few months" and unilaterally declare new borders if the Palestinian government did not immediately act to halt terrorism.
The White House response?
Sharon proposed what he described as a "disengagement plan" in which Israel would evacuate some Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories and draw a new "security line," largely along the route of the massive fence and wall currently being built by Israel around much of the West Bank.
In a nationally televised speech before a security conference in the coastal town of Herzliya, Sharon also threatened to unilaterally annex Palestinian land in several locations, saying, "Israel will strengthen its control" over areas that it wants to include as "an inseparable part of the state of Israel in any future agreement."
"We are pleased to hear Prime Minister Sharon's strong reiteration of his support for the 'road map' as the way forward," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said in Washington, referring to the U.S.-backed peace process that has been sidelined because of continuing violence.
Let's look at Sharon's speech again.
"We would oppose any unilateral steps that block the road toward negotiations under the road map that lead to the two-state vision," McClellan added, calling on the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers to meet face to face "very soon and without any preconditions."
Later, a senior Bush administration official briefing reporters in Washington hailed Sharon's speech as a "very positive" development that could help break the stalemate in the peace process and reaffirmed the road map.
He also disputed suggestions that Sharon had threatened the Palestinians or planned to impose a final settlement on his own terms.... He dismissed some of Sharon's comments as "hypotheticals" that were in the speech primarily for "Israeli domestic political reasons."
Sharon said, "If, in a few months, the Palestinians still continue to disregard their part in implementing the road map," then Israel will initiate the unilateral security step of disengagement from the Palestinians." He said such action "will be fully coordinated with the United States." How exactly does threatening to unilaterally end negotiations and draw your own borders further the "Road Map to Peace"? I guess we'll find out in "a few months." Article in Yahoo.com, link from Fark.
:: Deb 5:17 PM :: permalink ::
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