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U.S. warns Israel of financial sanctions over security fence

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  • Josh Pollack
    Ha aretz Sunday, August 03, 2003 Av 5, 5763 U.S. warns of financial sanctions over security fence By Ze ev Schiff
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3 9:27 PM
      Ha'aretz
      Sunday, August 03, 2003 Av 5, 5763
      U.S. warns of financial sanctions over security fence
      By Ze'ev Schiff

      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=324816

      The U.S. State Department has prepared a proposal,
      awaiting the approval of President George W. Bush,
      that calls for cuts in loan guarantees to Israel
      matching its outlays for the construction of the
      security fence east of the Green Line.

      The proposal also calls for cuts
      in the loan guarantees matching
      the sums spent by Israel on
      bypass roads in the West Bank,
      because the State Department
      views the roads as an effort at
      establishing facts on the
      ground while the two sides are
      negotiating within the
      parameters of the road map.

      The State Department and Secretary of State
      Colin Powell, in particular, have emphasized
      that the opposition in Washington to the
      outlines of the security fence continues,
      contrary to the efforts of the Prime Minister's
      Office in Jerusalem to suggest that an
      understanding has been reached on the matter
      between Bush and Ariel Sharon.

      In addition to a press conference after Sharon
      departed Washington, Powell also gave an
      interview to Maariv reporter in which he
      reiterated that the U.S. did not agree with
      Israel on the outline of the security fence.

      The State Department's opposition to the Israeli
      security fence is based on the view that it may
      result in a worsening of relations with the
      Palestinians and endangers the fragile nature
      of the cease-fire and the continuation of
      negotiations.

      The opposition to the fence is also a response
      to a disdain for Israel's tactic of
      establishing facts on the ground, a method used
      in the past following the Oslo Accords and also
      after the Mitchell Report in 2001.

      Sources in Washington say that the proposal
      calls for cuts in the precise amounts that
      Israel expends on the construction of the
      security fence east of the Green Line, over
      Palestinian territory that is the subject of
      negotiations. In a sense, the formula is based
      on a dollar-for-dollar basis in the loan
      guarantees.

      It is still not clear how the U.S. will make the
      calculation in relation to the outlays and the
      territory confiscated east of the Green Line.

      It is also doubtful whether the American
      sanctions will include the fencing of
      individual settlements in the territories.

      Sources in the State Department insist that now
      is the time for Washington to press Israel on
      about bypass roads, used to avoid
      concentrations of Palestinian populations in
      the territories, and in the process confiscate
      land in the West Bank.

      Prior to his departure for Washington earlier
      last week, Sharon said that he would not agree
      to any changes in the outline of the fence. But
      he promised Bush that the Palestinians living
      by the fence would not suffer because of its
      construction.

      Some sources here suggest the government should
      avoid further conflict with the U.S. on the
      fence and concentrate on fencing various
      settlements individually. In any case, the
      sources say, the budget for the completing the
      security fence is no where to be found.
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