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Thread: BREAKING NEWS: Israel And Palestine Declare Truce

  1. #1
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    BREAKING NEWS: Israel And Palestine Declare Truce

    Israel, Palestinians to declare formal truce
    Progress follows visit by Rice, and announcement of Bush meetings

    MSNBC News Services
    Updated: 1:05 p.m. ET Feb. 7, 2005JERUSALEM - The Israeli and Palestinian leaders will declare a formal end to more than four years of fighting at a summit Tuesday in Egypt, both sides said Monday.

    Israeli and Palestinian negotiators finalized the agreement during last-minute preparations Monday.

    “The most important thing at the summit will be a mutual declaration of cessation of violence against each other,” said Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian negotiator.

    An Israeli government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the cease-fire agreement, saying that the deal would also include an end to Palestinian incitement.

    Earlier Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ended two days of meetings in Israel and the West Bank by announcing that President Bush will meet separately this spring with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

    “This is a time of hope, a time we can hope for a better day for the Palestinian and Israeli people both,” she said.

    In Washington, President Bush said peace prospects had improved with Abbas’ election.

    “Prime Minister Abbas comes to the table with a mandate from a lot of Palestinians,” Bush told reporters. “He has been through an election. He was been endorsed by the Palestinian people.”

    He said he was impressed by Abbas’ commitment to fighting terror, and by Israel’s assistance in the Palestinian elections.

    Looking ahead to the talks, Bush said, “The meetings just indicate that there’s more work to be done. And I look forward to meeting with them.”

    White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the visits would likely be in March or April.

    Rice also said the United States’ partners in a coalition to promote Middle East peace — Russia, the United Nations and the European Union — would meet sometime this month for the first talks since the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat gave new life to peace hopes.

    Bush’s Abbas invitation represents a significant shift from the U.S. position in recent years when he viewed Arafat as a major impediment to peace. The Bush administration refused to deal directly with Arafat and peace negotiations stalled.

    General to play security role
    Rice also said Lt. Gen. William Ward was named a new Palestinian “security coordinator” and would make his first trip to the region with the next two weeks.

    “The Palestinians will be the first to tell you that they need help,” training, equipping and unifying their security forces, Rice said.

    She said Ward will have a direct line to her.

    Rice has previously said the United States has no plans to appoint a high-level diplomatic envoy to represent the United States in the peace process. The security coordinator would represent a less formal U.S. involvement.

    Ward, in a military career spanning more than three decades, has served in top Army positions as well as on the Joint Chiefs staff.

    The three-star general in late 2002 was appointed to the command of the 17,000-strong peacekeeping contingent in Bosnia. He also has served in Korea, Egypt, Somalia and Europe.

    $40 million in 'quick' aid
    In a visit to the West Bank on Monday, Rice also said the United States will provide more than $40 million in aid to the Palestinians during the next three months.

    Rice, at a news conference in Ramallah with Abbas, called the aid package a “quick action program” that would have an “immediate positive impact.”

    The issues and obstacles in the Middle East peace process

    She said the money would be used to create jobs and improve infrastructure.

    “This is a time of hope, a time we can hope for a better day for the Palestinian and Israeli people both,” she said.

    Abbas thanked Rice for the U.S. assistance. He also thanked her for helping last year when Israel announced plans to seize some property owned by Palestinians in Israel.

    “We hope that the Israeli side also will meet its obligations because this is the only path” to achieve the ideal of the two states existing side by side in peace, Abbas said.

    Rice said the $40 million in aid is part of the $350 million that Bush pledged during his State of the Union address.

    According to the State Department, the aid will be from money set aside earlier for a seawater desalinization plant in Gaza. The money will not go directly to the Palestinian Authority, but will be channeled through private relief and economic groups.

    Rice’s two-day visit to Israel and the West Bank headquarters of the newly elected Palestinian government is meant to nudge both sides to take hold of what Rice has called “a time of opportunity” and end four years of war.

    She said what she has heard from both sides bodes well for their summit Tuesday in Egypt.

    “The U.S. will do its part,” she said.

    Sharon greeted Rice warmly, telling her in English, “you are among friends.”

    “Her visit, I believe, will contribute to the peace process that we so much want to advance,” Sharon said in Hebrew.

    In a boost to peace prospects, the mainstream Palestinian movement Fatah said Sunday it would agree to a mutual cease-fire with Israel in the West Bank and Gaza. Fatah also ruled out attacks against civilians inside Israel.

    Palestinians hope for such a mutual declaration when Abbas meets Sharon at a summit in Egypt. Rice is not attending that gathering.

    Rice’s visit also comes as Israel backed off its long-standing refusal to release Palestinian prisoners accused of violence against Israelis. Israeli officials said top aides to Sharon and Abbas also have agreed to form a committee to study additional Palestinian prisoner releases.

    Rice is making an eight-day trip through Europe and the Middle East, her first overseas diplomacy since taking over from Colin Powell at the State Department.

    The new Palestinian leadership has embraced nonviolence, deployed police to keep the peace in Gaza and won pledges from militants to halt attacks on Israel.

    Israel has promised to release hundreds of prisoners, stop offensive military operations and gradually pull out of five West Bank towns.

    Gaza protest over prisoners
    Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in Gaza on Monday to urge Abbas to link any revival of peacemaking with Israel to the release of nearly 8,000 Palestinians from Israeli jails.

    Militants leaders who participated in the rally said no calm could prevail after four years of bloodshed without agreement on a timetable for the release of all prisoners, with priority given to long-serving inmates.

    In a goodwill gesture to Abbas, Israel announced last week it would free 900 Palestinian prisoners, but not any convicted of deadly attacks.

    Palestinian leaders voiced disappointment that veteran prisoners Israel describes as having “blood on their hands” would remain behind bars, and both sides agreed on Saturday to set up a joint committee to set criteria for release.

    Hailing Abbas’ efforts to coax militants into a truce, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Israel would release the jailed son of Marwan Barghouthi, a grassroots leader in the West Bank.

    Marwan Barghouthi was sentenced to five life terms by Israel after being convicted of orchestrating attacks that killed Israelis. His son, Qassam, was arrested in 2003 and accused of membership in a “terrorist organization.”

    The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #2
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    Does this mean George W. Bush actually accomplished something?
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  3. #3
    Ophie Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Gold9472
    Does this mean George W. Bush actually accomplished something?
    No.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophie
    No.
    NEVER!!! :D
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  5. #5
    Nowhereman Guest
    If this really went through it would be a great success for Bush. Though the main reason things are improving is that Scum Sucking Terrorist Arafat is dead.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nowhereman
    If this really went through it would be a great success for Bush. Though the main reason things are improving is that Scum Sucking Terrorist Arafat is dead.
    I have to admit, it is rather amazing how quickly things can happen when you want them to.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  7. #7
    JFK Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Nowhereman
    If this really went through it would be a great success for Bush. Though the main reason things are improving is that Scum Sucking Terrorist Arafat is dead.
    Just a smoke screen. This is all just building up to Isreal becoming the most powerful country in the world.

  8. #8
    somebigguy Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Nowhereman
    If this really went through it would be a great success for Bush. Though the main reason things are improving is that Scum Sucking Terrorist Arafat is dead.
    Yeah, but that other scum sucking terrorist (Bush) and his buddies are still alive.

  9. #9
    Nowhereman Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by somebigguy
    Yeah, but that other scum sucking terrorist (Bush) and his buddies are still alive.

    If you're talking about Bush's support for Israel. All Presidents have been more pro- Israel than Palestinian.

  10. #10
    danceyogamom Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Nowhereman
    If you're talking about Bush's support for Israel. All Presidents have been more pro- Israel than Palestinian.
    that's because it gets them votes ... how big is the palestinian sympathetic vote in the us?

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