Newsletter : 8fax0511.txt
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>JN May 11, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 88
Middle East Summit Called Off
By Mark Lavie (VOA-Tel Aviv)
Mediator Dennis Ross has left Jerusalem for Washington after an
apparently fruitless round of talks with Israeli leaders. The
Middle East summit involving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and Palestinian chief Yasir Arafat, planned for Monday in
Washington, has been called off.
The Israelis are sticking to their position, defying a deadline set by
the United States. The result -- no summit meeting in Washington
today. Ross met Sunday with Netanyahu, but no progress was
Israeli sources say there are contacts between Jerusalem and
Washington about rescheduling the summit for later in the month,
possibly May 22. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's plan was
to settle the differences between Israeli and Palestinian positions
over Israel's next handover of West Bank territory, and then begin
talks on permanent status issues at the Washington summit today.
But Netanyahu continued to balk at the US proposal that Israel give
the Palestinians civilian control over another 13 percent of the
West Bank. The Israelis say that any amount more than 9 percent
would endanger the safety of Israeli settlers by leaving the
Palestinians in control of access roads.
Netanyahu proposes starting peace treaty talks while continuing to
deal with interim issues like the partial Israeli pullback.
Palestinians say that is a trick. Permanent status issues include
thorny problems like the future of Israeli settlements, Palestinian
refugees and the status of Jerusalem.
The Palestinians ask, if the Israelis cannot settle relatively
minor matters like a small pullback, how can they negotiate the
bigger issues? Palestinian negotiator Sa'eb Arekat says Netanyahu
has no intention of making a deal.
"We believe it is time for the United States administration to
realize the difference between a tough negotiator and a
non-negotiator, and I think it is time for them to say that they
are talking to a man, Mr. Netanyahu, who is a non-negotiator."
As Israel celebrates its 50th birthday, Palestinians are planning
a commemoration of their own this week. Arafat's Palestinian
Authority is organizing marches in cities in the West Bank and Gaza
Strip, to mark the creation of the Jewish State. The Palestinians
refer to it as al-Naqba, Arabic for "catastrophe."
A Palestinian Cabinet minister said he hopes 1 million marchers
will wear tags with the names of villages wiped out to set up the
Jewish state, turning hundreds of thousands of Palestinians into
Hillary's Palestine: Blunder or Test-Balloon?
By Arutz-7 News Service
Israel and American Jewish leaders have reacted coolly to First
Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's remarks supporting the creation of a
"It would be in the long-term interests of peace in the Middle East
for there to be a state of Palestine...a functioning modern state
that is on the same footing as other states," she said, adding
"such a development would be "very important for the Palestinian
people" and for the "broader goal of peace in the Middle East."
Her spokeswoman, Marsha Berry, then put out a statement asserting
that "these remarks are her own personal view. The administration
position on this matter has not changed."
Asked during a media briefing whether Mrs. Clinton was as free "as
a normal citizen of the country to express a contrary view, given
her position and given her association with her husband, who does
set administration policy," White House spokesman Mike McCurry
agreed that she was "free to be as outspoken as she wishes to be.
But I think she also, as she so often does, responds to the very
human aspirations that people express."
In response to the question: "Does the president in any way share
her view that this would be a desirable outcome?" McCurry said:
"The president has but one view, which is the administration's
view, that the peace process is defined by those agreements that
the parties themselves have reached and the identification of
issues that they have declared final status issues are to be
resolved in the kind of direct dialogue that we are doing so much
to encourage. That's the president's one and only view."
McCurry denied that Rodham Clinton's remarks had been "part of any
kind of calculated strategy."
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