Monday, November 19, 2001

Plans for the creation of a Palestinian state cannot begin to take shape until Middle East violence is quelled, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday, a day before a much-anticipated speech on the region.
“A new plan coming in from the flank isn’t what’s going to do it. It’s both sides working together, finding ways to talk to each other, so that we can get a real cease-fire in place,” Mr. Powell said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Mr. Powell, who is to deliver a speech today at the University of Louisville, said the United States will not offer any new policy on the Middle East.
“People keep asking for a new plan. We have a plan. It’s a solid plan. It’s called the Mitchell committee report,” he said, referring to a plan that calls for a cooling-off period and other confidence-building measures before any settlement talks can begin.
In Israel, a bomb went off yesterday near the King David Hotel in Jerusalem while authorities tried to defuse it. No one was hurt by the device, which Israeli police said apparently was planted by Palestinians.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon refused yesterday to soften demands for a full week without violence before resuming peace talks.
The seven days must be followed by a six-week “cooling-off period” before Israel begins confidence-building measures such as a freeze on Jewish settlements, Mr. Sharon said after meeting European Union leaders.
Palestinian Cabinet Secretary-General Ahmed Abdel Rahman said the demand for total calm was “an excuse, in effect hampering the efforts aimed at the resumption of peace talks.”
Mr. Powell said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat must play a critical role in reducing tension in the conflict: “He needs to make 100 percent effort to end all the violence. And we need to see results that reflect that 100 percent effort.”
Mr. Sharon says Mr. Arafat has failed to move against violent militants. He urged European nations yesterday to stop giving money to Mr. Arafat’s government.
Despite Mr. Sharon’s tough talk, the Israeli army pulled out of areas it had occupied for weeks in the West Bank town of Tulkarem.
That left Jenin the last Palestinian town partly occupied out of six seized last month in response to the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi.
In his speech in Kentucky, Mr. Powell is unlikely to try to deal with the future of Jerusalem, which Mr. Arafat envisions as the capital of a Palestinian state. Mr. Powell also is bound to insist again that Mr. Arafat curb attacks on Israel as an inducement to Israeli concessions.
Both Mr. Powell and President Bush have endorsed a Palestinian state. But they have not given any indication of how much pressure the administration might apply to Israel except to say it is obliged under U.N. Security Council resolutions to give land for peace.
“Palestine is simply a term for a state that might exist for the Palestinian people,” National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Miss Rice said that vision also includes the right for “our good friend Israel” to exist safely within its borders, “where terrorism has been wiped out as a factor in the Middle East.”
One of the countries the United States considers a state sponsor of terrorism is Syria because of its support for militant Palestinian groups.
But Mr. Powell said U.S. officials have had “some rather direct conversations with the Syrians,” who have indicated they want to improve relations with the United States.
Israeli-Palestinian violence has killed 757 persons on the Palestinian side and 197 on the Israeli side in the past 14 months.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide