- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 7, 2001

From combined dispatches
JERUSALEM Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, after an exchange of criticism with the United States over its anti-terrorism campaign, sounded a conciliatory note by praising President Bush and emphasizing the strong bonds between the two countries.
In a statement released by his office late Friday, Mr. Sharon said he called Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to express his appreciation of the "special relationship" between the allies.
Mr. Sharon asked Mr. Powell to convey "his appreciation of the bold and courageous decision of the president to fight terrorism," the release said. "Israel fully supports this position and cooperates with it."
The prime minister had accused the United States of appeasing Arab nations at Israel's expense as it tries to build an international coalition to fight terrorism.
The Israeli leader compared U.S. Mideast policy with that of Britain and France in 1938, when they allowed Nazi Germany to take over part of Czechoslovakia in exchange for a promise of peace that was quickly broken.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer called Mr. Sharon's remarks "unacceptable," and U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer called Mr. Sharon to pass on the administration's displeasure.
After Mr. Sharon's call, Mr. Powell said the relationship with Israel endures and declared an end to the public disagreement over the appeasement remark.
"I don't think there is anything to that comment," Mr. Powell told the Associated Press. "From time to time, we'll have these little cloudbursts. But that doesn't affect the strength of our relationship."
Israel has been increasingly frustrated by what it sees as the unwillingness of the United States to target anti-Israeli militant groups in the global campaign against terrorism.
Mr. Bush has promised a worldwide effort to stamp out terrorism, but so far the United States has focused on the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, and his al Qaeda network.
The Bush administration has been trying to bring Arab and Muslim states into a coalition of support for a possible military attack against Islamic militants suspected of having carried out the Sept. 11 attacks.
Israel has protested American efforts to win the support of such hard-line Arab states as Syria, which is listed by Washington as a sponsor of terrorism.
Anti-Israeli militant groups, including Lebanon's Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have not been named as targets of the anti-terror coalition.
Meanwhile, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Cabinet issued a rare public criticism of Palestinian militants, demanding that gunmen stop attacking Israel.
Palestinian police also arrested at least two militants wanted by Israel in what they said was a new policy to rein in anti-Israeli groups.
Several days of heavy fighting have all but destroyed a Mideast cease-fire announced 10 days ago after both sides came under pressure by the United States.
Neither Israel nor the Palestinians want to be blamed for the failure of the truce, and the Palestinian statement was intended to show Mr. Arafat is supportive of the cease-fire.
Israel has insisted that the Palestinian leader also arrest Palestinian militants, handing to the Palestinians a list of more than 100.
Yesterday, the Palestinians seemed ready to comply with the demand when Palestinian police sought out members of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the West Bank.
Among those arrested were a senior Hamas official in the city of Tulkarem, Abbas Sayed, and a member of Islamic Jihad in Nablus, Anas Shrateh, a senior Palestinian official told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. Police attempted also to arrest Hamas activist Deya Darwazeh, but he fled Nablus.
The arrests are part of a new Palestinian policy to crack down on militants, the official said.
In an interview published in the weekly Bild am Sonntag today, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres declared: "We must arrive at a historic compromise with the Palestinians. A Palestinian state will be created."
While recognizing Yasser Arafat as the uncontested leader of the Palestinian people, Mr. Peres exhorted him to put an end to the continuing violence. "If Arafat fails to rein in the extremists, then there will be more attacks, an escalation of the violence and war," he warned.
In yesterday's violence, at least six Israeli tanks moved into Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank city of Hebron after an exchange of fire in the area.
Meanwhile in Gaza, Palestinian police met with heads of several factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to warn them against any efforts to violate the cease-fire, Palestinian security said.

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