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MIDEAST: Peace Move Could Be the Kiss of Death

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    ... Subject: IPS Mail Eng - MIDEAST: Peace Move Could Be the Kiss of Death Date: Tue, 01 Mar 2005 22:24:07 GMT From: IPS Vlaanderen , IPS
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2005
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      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject:IPS Mail Eng - MIDEAST: Peace Move Could Be the Kiss of Death
      Date:Tue, 01 Mar 2005 22:24:07 GMT
      From:IPS Vlaanderen <redactie@...>, IPS Vlaanderen <redactie@...>
      Reply-To:redactie@...
      To:IPS Mailing List <redactie@...>


      ROMAIPS EU MM IP HD 
      MIDEAST: Peace Move Could Be the Kiss of Death
      Analysis by Sanjay Suri
      
      LONDON, Mar 1 (IPS) - The U.S. hand of support offered to a new push for 
      peace in the Middle East could well turn out to be the kiss of death for 
      the peace process.
      
      The London Meeting on Supporting the Palestinian Authority agreed Tuesday 
      that Lt. Gen William Ward from the U.S. army will head a security 
      coordinating group to support the Palestinian Authority.
      
      This group will guide the Palestinian Authority get a grip on its 
      disparate security forces. The London meeting declared that the group 
      will also provide technical support including cars, radios and uniforms 
      for police, and help set up a retirement fund for security personnel.
      
      The Palestinian Authority has pledged to trim its security and 
      intelligence services from 14 units down to three, move to appoint a 
      police chief, and to increase police presence on the streets of the Gaza 
      Strip and the West Bank.
      
      The PA pledged also to try to liaise closely with Israeli security 
      forces. 
      
      All this it would do now under the guidance of a U.S. general.  
      Palestinians have for generations been at the receiving end of an Israeli 
      military force which they have seen as supplied, funded and politically 
      supported by the United States. The latest Intifadah, the name given to 
      the Palestinian militant struggle, is now in its fifth year, and it is by 
      no means over.
      
      At this stage support to a new Palestinian security from a U.S. army 
      general is the first thing militants will see in the London agreement -- 
      and probably the last thing they would have liked to.
      
      It is also something they would have thought unthinkable a few months 
      ago. Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was never likely to have 
      agreed to invite a U.S. general to overhaul Palestinian security.
      
      The London agreement is expected to carry considerable weight. It is now 
      virtually an international agreement that Palestinian President Mahmoud 
      Abbas has signed up to.
      
      U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, United Nations Secretary-General 
      Kofi Annan, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, European Union (EU) 
      Foreign Affairs and Common Security High Representative Javier Solana and 
      many other leaders attended the London meeting Tuesday. 
      
      But the fate of the agreement will lie in the hands of those absent: the 
      Palestinian militant groups, and the Israeli leaders.
      
      Palestinian militant groups will not only be required to give up their 
      arms, but to do so under U.S. supervision through the Palestinian 
      Authority. Abbas agreed this move when he knows better than most who and 
      what he is dealing with.
      
      ''We have re-deployed our forces in the field and have taken a decision 
      to unify our security forces, and we are implementing this decision 
      despite the difficulties that you are well aware of because you are well 
      aware about the details of our country,'' Abbas said at the meeting.
      
      Abbas has gambled early, and seriously, in deciding that this difficulty 
      can be overcome with visible U.S. support against the groups that many 
      Palestinians see as militants, even heroes, and which the United States 
      and Israel regard as terrorists.
      
      The U.S. general has a clear mandate to back the PA in crushing these 
      groups. ''If they are not stopped, the path to peace will be blocked,'' 
      Rice said at the meeting. ''The roadmap to peace correctly stated that 
      terrorist organisations must be dismantled if our common goals are to be 
      achieved.'' 
      
      The Palestinian Authority, she said, ''needs to reform its security 
      institutions in order to fight terrorism and lawlessness effectively. The 
      United States is prepared to work with partners in the region and around 
      the world to realise this essential goal.''
      
      The U.S. general was present at the London meeting. ''General Ward, who 
      is here with me today, will soon relocate to the region to lead our 
      efforts,'' Rice said. 
      
      Rice is counting on some Arab help. She named Egypt and Jordan as Arab 
      states that have made specific commitments to ''help the Palestinians 
      create honest and accountable security services.'' 
      
      She had advice for other Arab states that ''must end incitement in their 
      media, cut off all funding for terrorism, stop their support for 
      extremist education, and establish normal relations with Israel.'' 
      
      Her requirement of Israel was that it ''must also take no actions that 
      prejudice a final settlement, and must help ensure that a new Palestinian 
      state is truly viable. A state of scattered territories will not work.''
      
      But many Palestinians and their supporters in the Arab world will not see 
      neutral equality here. They are not likely to be looking for it. Their 
      eyes will be on the relocating U.S. general. 
      (END/IPS/EU/MM/IP/HD/SS/RAJ/05)
      
       
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