No independent Palestine, Sharon insists

Israel is to press George Bush to eliminate all reference to an “independent” Palestinian state from the US “road map” to a political settlement, which he promised on Friday to release soon.

Ariel Sharon’s government has drawn up a list of amendments it wants made. They include the replacement of independence by “certain attributes of sovereignty”. It is not immediately clear what these are, but Mr Sharon has said what they do not include. Israel, he says, will retain control of the Palestinian state’s external security, borders, airspace, and underground water resources, and will have a veto over treaties with other countries. Its security forces would be limited to a lightly armed police force. The Israelis argue that Mr Bush made no mention of an independent country in the speech last June which has provided the working basis for the road map setting out the steps to achieving a Palestinian state within three years. Full Story

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