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Israeli envoy to UN: We accept two states for two peoples

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  • Joseph M. Hochstein
    Sunday, December 01, 2002 Israeli envoy to UN: We accept two states for two peoples By Aluf Benn
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 30, 2002
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      Sunday, December 01, 2002

      Israeli envoy to UN: We accept two states for two peoples

      By Aluf Benn

      Israel's ambassador to the United Nations informed the UN General Assembly
      on Friday that Israel accepts the vision of "two states living side by side
      in peace and security" as a basis for a peace deal with the Palestinians.

      This is the first time any official Israeli representative has explicitly
      used the "two states for two peoples" formula. Hitherto, Israeli officials
      have always said merely that they accept the principles outlined in U.S.
      President George Bush's June 24 speech, but without elaborating on these

      Israeli Ambassador to the UN Yehuda Lancry made the statement during the
      General Assembly's annual debate on the Palestinian issue on Friday, and
      his remarks were included in the UN's official protocols.

      Lancry also told the assembly that the essence of peace is security, and
      charged that so far, the Palestinian leadership has taken no action against
      terror, despite Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's "sporadic
      denunciations" of terror. But the ambassador, whose term expires soon,
      ended on a personal note by saying that he still believes in the
      possibility of an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

      This week, the UN will hold its annual vote on resolutions pertaining to
      the Arab-Israeli conflict, during which Israel traditionally finds itself
      with no supporters except the United States and sometimes Micronesia or the
      Marshall Islands. The current resolution calls for restoring the situation
      in the territories to what it was on the eve of the intifada and a prompt
      resumption of negotiations on a final-status agreement.

      Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon criticized
      his American hosts during his first visit to Washington last week, saying
      it was the administration's response to Israel's siege of Arafat's Muqata
      compound in September that helped to rehabilitate Arafat and to weaken the
      alternative leadership that had begun to crystallize following Bush's June
      24 speech. The U.S. was vehemently opposed to the siege and exerted heavy
      pressure on Israel to lift it. Ya'alon's charge was a response to repeated
      accusations by U.S. officials that the siege itself strengthened Arafat and
      scotched efforts to reform the PA.

      Ya'alon, who met with several leading administration and defense
      establishment officials, including National Security Adviser Condoleezza
      Rice, Secretary of State Colin Powell and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs
      of Staff, General Richard Myers, urged all his interlocutors to isolate
      Arafat, saying there would be no positive developments as long as Arafat
      remained in charge.

      The recent talks between Fatah and Hamas about the possibility of
      declaring a cease-fire with Israel failed largely because Arafat was not
      interested in having them succeed, Ya'alon charged. He said that in
      addition to Arafat, everyone involved in terrorism must be removed from the

      Ya'alon also expressed reservations about the administration's "road map"
      for realizing Bush's two-state vision, saying the security components of
      the plan are too weak.

      The U.S. has already informed the PA that a final draft of the "road map"
      will not be approved by December 20, as originally planned, but will be
      postponed until after the Israeli elections on January 28 and the
      establishment of a new government. The State Department had wanted to
      adhere to the original timetable, which called for the document to be
      approved at a December 20 meeting of the foreign ministers of the
      Quartet(the U.S., UN, European Union and Russia), but the administration
      decided to accede to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's request that the issue
      be deferred until after the elections.
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