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Hillary Clinton Says PA Incitement Is Child Abuse


Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) compared Palestinian Authority incitement to child abuse when she spoke to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. She told the pro-Israel lobby's annual conference that "using children as pawns in a political process is tantamount to child abuse." She also said that there never should have been a link on the PA official site to the anti-Semitic document "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." The link recently has been removed.

Sources: Bush Won't Pressure PA on Armed Groups Until Elections

By Ha'aretz

The Bush administration will not be demanding that the Palestinian Authority disarm the armed groups in the territories, including Hamas, at least until after the Palestinian elections later this year. President George W. Bush may even try to bypass Congress and announce tens of millions of dollars in direct aid to the Authority during PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' meeting with Bush on Thursday. According to sources in Abbas' entourage, an understanding has been reached that the U.S. will make do with a Palestinian commitment to take action against arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

For months, Israel has been saying that there can be no diplomatic progress until the Palestinians "dismantle the terrorist infrastructure," and has been trying to persuade the U.S. administration that Abbas is weak. However, American officials have made it clear to Israel that the administration is sticking to its support for Abbas even though it is concerned about his apparent weakness.

The Americans have made clear to Israel that it must fulfill its commitments made at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit - continuing to hand over West Bank towns to the PA, releasing security prisoners and removing checkpoints that restrict Palestinian freedom of movement in the territories. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is said to be planning to bring a package of confidence building measures for approval in the cabinet next Sunday, including the release of 400 more of the 900 prisoners he promised to let go at Sharm.

According to the Palestinian sources, the Americans have accepted the Palestinian approach to strengthening the "tahadiye," the "lull" in armed struggle as announced in Cairo by 13 Palestinian factions, including Hamas. This approach is based on ongoing dialogue between the PA and Hamas and the other armed organizations.

The administration, the sources also said, has accepted the approach taken by Abbas and Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Yousef to prevent the public display of weapons by the armed groups and collect weapons from those men who appear on a list of wanted terrorists on a list agreed upon by Israel and the PA. The wanted men are then enlisted into the PA security apparatus.

Abbas arrived in Washington Wednesday morning for his first visit since he was elected to replace Yasir Arafat in early February. He dined Tuesday night with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who met with Sharon advisers Dov Weissglas and Shalom Turjiman and Ambassador Danny Ayalon Wednesday for 90 minutes.

Abbas was also slated to hold meetings with Congressmen and to meet with Vice President Richard Cheney, and with American Jewish leaders known to favor the peace process, Thursday at his hotel, before going to the White House. It will not be his first visit to the White House - he was there as prime minister under Arafat - but it will be his first visit there since becoming chairman. Bush refused to meet with Arafat, saying he was untrustworthy in light of the discovery of the Karin A arms smuggling ship commissioned by Arafat, just before Bush was first inaugurated as president in January 2001.

Congress attached strings to the $200 million in aid to the Palestinians that was announced by Bush when Abbas was elected, preventing it from going directly to the PA on the grounds that the Authority is corrupt. The funds were earmarked for nongovernmental organizations operating in the territories, and $50 million of the money was designated for Israel to spend on new security terminals between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. Abbas and Fayad will try to persuade Congress that the PA's finances are now transparent. An international accounting firm paid out of the U.S. aid is monitoring them

Bush has access to discretionary funds that he can use to provide aid directly, and even if it is a small amount, it will have symbolic importance for Abbas since he will be able to use it to pay salaries or fund projects that he'll be able to point to as gains. Bush is also expected to praise Abbas' reform efforts, both in the security and civilian realms, but the prevailing view among both Palestinian and Israeli officials is that the president will not give Abbas written guarantees of American support on issues of importance as Sharon received.

On arrival, Abbas said, "We expect a clear political stance from the U.S. on the implementation of the road map and economic support, and we hope to get it." Abbas is slated to raise the issue of settlement expansion and Israeli land expropriations for the separation fence, particularly in the Jerusalem area and to present maps showing the details of Israeli control.

"He'll get public embraces, and the Americans will reiterate all their previous statements that favor the Palestinians," an Israeli official said last night, mentioning a declaration about the link between disengagement and the road amp, a promise for Palestinian territorial contiguity in the West Bank, and maybe a mention about "the need to end the occupation that began in 1967."

The Israeli message to the Americans as delivered by Weissglas, Turjiman and Ayalon in their meeting with Rice, is that Abbas is weak and unable to act against the terrorist organizations, which have turned into a "parallel authority" in the territories. Rice made clear at the meeting that the U.S. would stick to its support for Abbas, asked Israel to continue humanitarian gestures toward the Palestinians and emphasized the need for the two sides to coordinate the disengagement and for Israel to fulfill its commitments made at Sharm el Sheikh. Weissglas said that the hand-over of the towns is being delayed because the Palestinians are not fulfilling their side of the deal regarding the wanted men and said that the Palestinians are dragging their feet over coordination of the disengagement.

Palestinian FM Warns of Dangerous Situation

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Washington)

Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa said the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories and Israel's construction of a security barrier in the West Bank are creating a dangerous situation in the Middle East. The foreign minister's remarks came the day before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to hold talks with President Bush.

The Palestinian foreign minister said Abbas is hoping that three days of lobbying the Bush administration and Congress will improve U.S. support for the Palestinian Authority. Abbas is expected to point out during his visit to Washington that he has secured a truce with militant groups, made reforms within his government and is consolidating Palestinian security forces.

Al-Kidwa said the Palestinian leadership will ask the Bush administration for support in stopping the expansion of Jewish settlements and the building of Israel's security barrier in the West Bank, especially in areas close to Jerusalem. "The situation on the ground is marred with the same extremely dangerous practice by Israel, namely settlement activities and the continuation of the construction of the wall, in addition to specific actions in Jerusalem and around it. This is the central problem that faces us." He said Abbas would ask for intensified U.S. pressure to get Israel back to the bargaining table.

The Palestinian foreign minister said the planned withdrawal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip should trigger responsibilities both sides have under the internationally supported road map peace plan. "The relationship between this disengagement on the one hand and the road map on the other hand, of course we insist that such disengagement should constitute the beginning of the implementation of the road map," said the Palestinian Foreign Minister. "It should never be Gaza and then we will see, and this is another essential point for us during this visit."

Al-Kidwa said it was time for the Palestinians and Israelis to sit down and begin negotiating issues that must be settled before the creation of a Palestinian state. He said discussion of subjects such as borders and the future of Jerusalem would help keep the region on a more peaceful path after years of bloodshed.

"The Palestinian side believes that we have to start discussion and negotiations on final status issues as soon as possible, and definitely immediately after the withdrawal from Gaza," he said. "Agreeing on the final settlement, the shape of the final settlement is essential for the two sides to avoid confrontation, misunderstanding and contradictions between positions and actions."

Wanted and Imprisoned Terrorists to Run in PA Elections


Several alarming candidates, including Marwan Barghouti and a terror chief known as "Hitler," have announced their candidacy for the upcoming PA elections. Many terrorists currently serving time in Israeli prisons will be permitted by the PA to run in the PA parliamentary elections. According to Israel Radio, convicted Fatah terrorist Marwan Barghouti will be running for a seat in the PA parliament.

Another terrorist wanted Al-Aqsa Brigade chief Jamal Abu Roub - who goes by the nickname "Hitler" - is running in the elections as well. "Hitler" appeared in an interview with Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin, saying he expects to win a seat because he gives his people "dignity and safety." Abu Roub publicly executed an Arab accused to helping Israel in front of the citizens of the Arab town of Qabatieh, in broad daylight. He has been running from Israeli security forces, but appeared in public to campaign, together with the Fox News reporter, assuming Israeli forces would not apprehend him while he spoke with a western reporter.

Asked whether he thought the nickname "Hitler" would affect his election chances, Roub said, "I got this name because of my personality. I am a guy that has a strong personality and uses violence, if needed, to respond." The London-based Al Quds al-Arabi newspaper reports that Abu Mazen has gotten the Hamas terror group to agree to a postponement of the PA elections originally scheduled for mid-July.

Hamas had previously demanded that the elections be held on time. Now, Hamas spokesman Mohammed Ghazal said the terror group has been promised that an amendment to the electoral system would be made that would favor the election of its members.

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