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The full text of speeches by President Bush and the prime ministers of Israel and the Palestinian Authority may be found at the following Jewish World Review urls: President Bush's speech: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0603/bush_pal_state.php3: Prime Minister Sharon's speech: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0603/arik_pal_state.php3: Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas' speech: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0603/abbas_pal_state.php3


Bush: Two States Must Share the Holy Land

By Paula Wolfson (VOA-Aqaba, Jordan) & Ha'aretz

Israel and the Palestinians have announced the first small steps in what could be a long, difficult peace process. They stood side-by-side on the grounds of a palace overlooking the Gulf of Aqaba. One by one, they pledged to work for peace.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas said it is time to bring all the suffering to an end. He vowed the Palestinians would do their part. "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 and to establish the Palestinian state."

Establishment of a Palestinian state living in peace with Israel is the goal of the "road map," the new peace plan drafted by the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations. Both sides have endorsed the road map, though Israel has done so with conditions attached.

At the Aqaba summit, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon offered a first tentative step on the sensitive issue of settlements. He said he would dismantle Israeli outposts in the West Bank and Gaza set up without government approval. "I want to reiterate that Israel is a society governed by the rule of law. Thus, we will immediately, begin to remove unauthorized outposts."

President Bush listened to the two prime ministers and said progress is being made. "All here today now share a goal: the Holy Land must be shared between the state of Palestine and the state of Israel, living in peace with each other and with every nation in the Middle East."

He added that all sides have made important commitments, and the United States will do all it can to help make the dream of peace a reality. He said he was ordering Secretary of State Colin Powell and his national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice to make the peace process a matter of the highest priority. "The journey we are taking is difficult. But there is no other choice."

Powell has called on Israelis and Palestinians to act quickly on pledges made by their prime ministers. Speaking to reporters at King Hussein International Airport, Powell said U.S. officials have asked both sides to "start doing things right away."

In statements after Wednesday's talks, both prime ministers said they support two states living side by side in peace and security. In his own statement, President Bush said the sides had made "important progress," and that he expected each to keep their promises.

At the conclusion of the 90-minute meeting, the three leaders, along with host King Abdullah II of Jordan, strode side-by-side to four identical podiums set up on the shores of the Red Sea.

During his speech, Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas called for an end to the "armed Intifada" - a reference to the use of weapons and explosives by Palestinian militants - as well as for an end to attacks on Israelis "wherever they may be" - thus foreswearing violence against settlers as well as residents of Israel proper.

"We will exert full efforts to ending the militarization of the Intifada [uprising]. The armed Intifada must end and we must resort to peaceful means to achieve our goals," he said, adding that the Palestinians "do not ignore the suffering of the Jews throughout history. It is time to bring this suffering to an end."

Speaking after Abbas, Sharon said his primary duty was to work for the security of Israel. "As the prime minister of Israel, the land which is the cradle of the Jewish people, my paramount responsibility is the security of the people of Israel, and of the state of Israel. There can be no compromise with terror."

He added that there was now hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, stating that it was not in Israel's interest to rule over the Palestinians. "It is in Israel's interest 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 a Jewish state. There can be no peace, however, without the abandonment and elimination of terrorism, violence and incitement.

"We can also reassure our Palestinian partners that we understand the importance of territorial contiguity in the West Bank for a viable Palestinian state," Sharon said. In an apparent reference to the acts of militants on both sides, the prime minister declared that "We accept the principle that no unilateral actions by any parties can pre-judge the outcome of our negotiations."

Bush, closing the round of declarations, then declared that he and America as a whole were committed to Israel's security as a "vibrant Jewish state."


Hamas Rejects Call to End Armed Attacks on Israelis

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

The militant Islamic group Hamas said it would not lay down its arms despite an appeal from Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. The organization was reacting to Abbas' statement, at the Mideast summit in Aqaba, Jordan, calling for an end to armed attacks against Israelis. And there also was strong opposition from Israelis to a promise by Prime Minister Sharon to remove some Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hamas said it would stand by the Palestinian people and by the gun. A spokesman for Hamas, Abdel Aziz-Rantisi, said that the organization would never lay down its arms until it liberates the whole of Palestine.

Rantisi's statement is in line with the charter of Hamas, which calls for the destruction of Israel, in favor of a republic governed by Islamic law. But his remarks were in sharp contrast to the conciliatory comments from Hamas before the summit in Aqaba, Jordan between the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers and President Bush.

Hours before the meeting got under way, Hamas official Ismail Abu Shanab said his organization was ready for a ceasefire if Israel agreed to withdraw its troops from Palestinian self-rule areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

For its part, Islamic Jihad, an organization with similar aims as Hamas, said it would continue what it called its resistance as long as Israeli forces continue to occupy Palestinian areas. Both Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, frequently carry out suicide bombings.

Abbas has appealed to the groups to stop such attacks in order to give a chance for negotiations with Israel to succeed.

Meanwhile, Israeli opponents of the "road map to peace" plan in the Middle East were scheduled to gather in Jerusalem for what they hope will be a massive demonstration. Organized by the Yesha Council for Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the rally is appealing to all Israelis to stop the government from removing some settlements and permitting the establishment of a Palestinian state.

For years, Sharon has been a strong supporter of the settlers, but Shaul Goldstein, a leader of Yesha Council, said of him Wednesday, "He lost his leadership. He's lost his way."

















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