Israel Resource Review 15th Febuary, 2002


Special News Report: The Different US attitudes towards the PA
The US will not Break off Contact Yet it Defines it as a Terror Entity

US Response to PA

Bush: We won't replace Arafat and we won't close PLO offices

Yedioth Ahronoth (p. 4) by Shimon Shiffer -- The US does not plan to close the PLO offices in Washington and will not act to replace Yasser Arafat with one of his deputies. This is written in a classified report relayed to Jerusalem by the Israeli embassy in Washington, summing up Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit to the White House last week.

The document, which has already been placed on Sharon's and Peres's desks, says that the Americans were very pleased with the prime minister's visit: they rejected Sharon's requests one after the other, without this clouding the atmosphere. For Sharon, so it transpires, the political chapter of his visit was not a great success.

The document is based on a talk that the political attache in Washington, Ron Prosaur, held with a senior White House official. These are its main points:

  • The White House was pleased with President Bush's visit with Sharon, because the visit was well prepared, thus preventing the misunderstandings and the blunders that were part of Sharon's previous two trips. Both sides were able to minimize the damage by establishing beforehand the messages they would present to the media after the visit. Bush and Sharon displayed a united front, and the administration was pleased by this.
  • The American administration made it clear to Sharon that they have no intention of closing the PLO offices in Washington.
  • The administration intends to continue to put pressure on Arafat so that he undertake the recommendations of the Mitchell report and the Tenet plan. However, it does not intend to deal with the question of an alternative leadership to Arafat. Their policy will focus on putting pressure on Arafat so that he act to stop the violence. The American message to Arafat is: Facts on the ground, not talk.
  • The voices in the administration coming out against roadblocks and closures in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are increasing. The voices saying that this is harsh punishment against a civilian population, which has little practical efficiency, are getting louder.
  • The administration welcomes Peres's meetings with Abu Ala as part of its policy to encourage talks between Israeli and Palestinians. Nonetheless, it was made clear to Abu Ala, that the plan he formulated with Peres will be implemented only if the Palestinians do what is required of them in the matter of thwarting terror and arresting wanted men.

A different report reaching Jerusalem says that the US does not intend to put Force 17 and the Tanzim onto the list of terror organizations, as Israel wants, because the Americans view these two organizations as the basis of the security forces of the Palestinian state that will ultimately be established in the territories.

Americans Declare for First Time: the Palestinians Sponsor Terrorism

Maariv (p. 4) by Yitzhak Ben-Horin -- For the first time, the White House has included the Palestinian Authority on its list of regimes that sponsor terror and practice terror.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer was asked yesterday about countries that sponsor terrorism. His answer was unequivocal: "The President has always been very clear in all the statements he's made, whether it was about North Korea, Iran, Iraq, or anywhere, Palestinian Authority, that it's the people that the United States is concerned with, that they are victims of regimes that invite terrorism and that practice terrorism".

A report received by the security services revealed that the Americans decided to tighten the supervision around the funds meant for the Palestinian Authority. This is because of suspicions that the funds are financing terrorist activity, a senior security source told Maariv.

American Secretary of State Colin Powell said that Yasser Arafat took responsibility for the Karine-A weapons ship affair. In an appearance before a congressional budget subcommittee, Powell said that in a letter Arafat sent to him, he acknowledged responsibility for the weapons ship affair as head of the Palestinian Authority, but not personally.

Powell said that Syria was not mentioned in President Bush's speech, in which Iran, Iraq, and North Korea were defined as the "axis of evil", because Syria is not developing weapons of mass destruction like other countries, and that the United States has direct talks with the Syrians and there is great pressure on them to stop sponsoring terrorist organizations.

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