- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 20, 2001

LOUISVILLE, Ky. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday the United States will prod Israelis and Palestinians to reach peace, but he called on both sides to face up to the truth about what they must do to end tensions and live as neighbors.
He also announced he is dispatching an assistant secretary of state to the region and appointing a retired Marine general as an adviser.
Sounding two familiar Arab themes, Mr. Powell called the Israeli-Palestinian dispute the central issue in the region, and he twice described Israel's hold on the West Bank and Gaza as an occupation.
This follows President Bush and Mr. Powell's declaration in support of a Palestinian state, the first U.S. administration to publicly endorse statehood.
"Israel must be willing to end its occupation," Mr. Powell said, referring to the land the Arabs lost in the 1967 Middle East war. Mr. Powell also said Israel's construction of settlements on the West Bank and Gaza was crippling chances for peace.
Palestinians, for their part, must act to arrest and punish the perpetrators of terrorist acts against Israelis, the secretary said. Israeli troops killed one Palestinian and wounded another yesterday as the two were planting a bomb along a road in the West Bank.
Nabil Shaath, a leading Palestinian official, called the speech positive.
"For the first time the United States is speaking about ending Israeli occupation. For the first time they are speaking about a viable Palestinian state," Mr. Shaath said.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has clashed with American officials over the peace process, also praised Mr. Powell's speech yesterday.
A statement released by the prime minister's office quoted the Israeli leader as saying "that a definitive end to terrorism, violence and incitements to hatred are the prerequisites for any political progress."
But Jewish settlers in disputed territories along the Israeli border condemned the secretary's address.
Mr. Powell urged Palestinian leaders to "arrest, prosecute and punish the perpetrators of terrorist acts."
"The Palestinian leadership must make a 100 percent effort to end violence and terror," he said. "There must be real results, not just words and declarations."
Israelis must do their part, Mr. Powell said in a speech at the University of Louisville's McConnell Center for Political Leadership. Too many Palestinians have grown up "with checkpoints, raids and indignities," he said.
Mr. Powell said American leadership will play a big role.
The secretary said that Williams Burns, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, will return to the region, and that retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni has agreed to be senior adviser to the secretary.
Mr. Powell said Palestinian-led violence only defeats the objective of reaching any beginning point to peace negotiations and feeds Israeli doubts about whether they really want peace.
"The intifada is now mired in the quicksand of self-defeating violence and terror directed against Israel," he said.
On the other hand, the secretary said, Palestinian children too often have seen their schools shuttered and their parents humiliated.
In the Middle East yesterday, two members of Fatah, Mr. Arafat's group, were planting a bomb on a West Bank road when Israeli soldiers opened fire on them, killing one and wounding the other, according to reports from both sides.


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