Tags: Bush | Prods | Palestinians | Israelis | Toward | Peace

Bush Prods Palestinians, Israelis Toward Peace

Wednesday, 04 June 2003 12:00 AM

Abbas, known as Abu Mazen, said at the beachfront royal palace his government would work toward eliminating armed violence against Israel and "all forms of incitement of violence" within Palestinian institutions.

"Our goal is clear, and we will implement it firmly and without compromise: A complete end to violence and terrorism, and we will be full partners in the international war against terrorism," he said at a news conference attended by the other leaders.

Abu Mazen said his government would use all means to end the armed uprising, which began in September 2000.

"The armed intifada must end, and we must use and resort to peaceful means in our quest to end the occupation and the suffering of Palestinians and Israelis," he said.

He said only those in charge of upholding law and order would be allowed to possess weapons.

Abu Mazen, the first Palestinian prime minister, said the Palestinian Authority's security forces would ensure there is no incitement, violence and hatred from Palestinian institutions.

"We reiterate our condemnation and renunciation of terrorism and violence of Israelis wherever they are," he said.

He said violence posed a serious threat to an independent sovereign Palestine. "Our national future is at stake, and no one will be allowed to jeopardize it."

Palestinian officials said Abu Mazen's statement came after pressure to announce a commitment to disarm Palestinian militant groups, a move that many fear could spark a civil war, especially if Israel does not withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Abu Mazen said, however, that for Palestinian efforts to succeed, "there needs to be a clear improvement in the lives of Palestinians, they must live in dignity, they must be able to go to their jobs and schools, visit their families and conduct normal lives, and must not be afraid for their property and livelihood."

He called for a U.S.-led international monitoring mechanism to oversee the transformation in the occupied territories, which the Palestinians expect would lead to their independent state by the year 2005 in accordance with "road map" that set the framework for a solution to the end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Sharon said his government would dismantle all "unauthorized" Jewish settlements, but fell short of making a commitment to removing all settlements built on the West Bank and Gaza Strip after Israel's capture them in 1967.

The Israeli prime minister said there was now a "new opportunity for peace between Israelis and Palestinians," and it was "in Israel's interests not to govern the Palestinians, but for the Palestinians to govern themselves in their own state."

"A democratic Palestinian state fully at peace with Israel will promote the long-term security and well-being of Israel as the Jewish state."

He promised to "seek to restore normal Palestinian life, improve the humanitarian situation... We will act in a manner that respects the dignity and human rights of all people."

Sharon said Israel "will immediately begin to remove unauthorized outposts, and reassured his "Palestinian partners that we understand the importance of contiguity in the West Bank for a viable Palestinian state."

Sharon added that his country was ready to negotiate "in good faith" with other Arab nations and that Israel was committed to comprehensive peace in the region.

Palestinian diplomats in Amman said Abu Mazen's statement was in line with Israel's demands though he did not heed one to recognize the "Jewish state" as opposed to the "Israeli state." But Sharon's announcement was not enough to "restore trust," they said.

They complained Sharon did not mention the words "independent and sovereign" when describing the Palestinian state. Nor did he make a commitment to dismantle the Jewish settlements built on the lands captured in 1967, as requested in the "road map," the said.

The diplomats added that Sharon had "merely announced lifting the siege on the Palestinians and easing their daily lives to return to the status quo before the outbreak of the uprising" that started in September 2000.

Meanwhile, Bush welcomed the announcements. He described Sharon's declaration as "meaningful signs of respect for the rights of the Palestinians and their hopes for a viable, democratic, peaceful Palestinian state."

He said Abbas' own statements demonstrated his "leadership and commitment to building a better future for the Palestinian people."

He said he was "strongly committed to Israel's security as a vibrant Jewish state ... and I strongly support the cause of freedom and statehood for the Palestinian people," which he said Abbas represented.

He said the leaders gathered in Aqaba "share a goal. The Holy Land must be shared by a state of Palestine and a state of Israel, living in peace with each other and with every nation in the Middle East."

Bush insisted both sides "have responsibilities to meet, and as the 'road map' accepted by the parties makes clear, both must make tangible and immediate steps towards the two-state vision." Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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Abbas, known as Abu Mazen, said at the beachfront royal palace his government would work toward eliminating armed violence against Israel and "all forms of incitement of violence" within Palestinian institutions. "Our goal is clear, and we will implement it firmly and...
Bush,Prods,Palestinians,,Israelis,Toward,Peace
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2003-00-04
Wednesday, 04 June 2003 12:00 AM
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