RealNews

Palestinians Promise to Subdue Militants

The new Palestinian government will first try persuasion rather than force to subdue militant groups, a senior Palestinian official on Monday told a U.S. envoy preparing the ground for a new Mideast peace plan. However, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suggested he would not accept anything short of a Palestinian crackdown on the militias, saying, “We cannot make compromises when it comes to terror.” The disagreement over how to deal with the militias, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis in the past 31 months, is emerging as a key sticking point in implementing the new “road map” plan to Palestinian statehood within three years. The U.S. envoy, William Burns, met Sunday with Sharon and Monday with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Parliament Speaker Ahmed Qureia to talk about how to get started on the plan. Burns is laying the groundwork for Secretary of State Colin Powell’s visit next week. In the first stage of the peace plan, the Palestinians are expected to restrain the militias while Israel will begin withdrawing from Palestinian towns and avoid actions that would undermine trust, including attacks on Palestinian civilians. Israel also must dismantle dozens of illegal outposts and halt all construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. Full Story

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