Israel, Palestinians Announce Truce
Leaders Vow To Meet Soon On Issues Blocking Peace
POSTED: 7:29 am EST February 8, 2005
UPDATED: 5:15 pm EST February 8, 2005
SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt -- A long hoped-for goal seems a
few steps closer in the Mideast.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian
leader Mahmoud Abbas met in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt,
Tuesday, and promised to halt the violence between
their two peoples. They also vowed to meet soon to
negotiate the more difficult issues blocking a lasting
There were broad smiles and handshakes as they
announced an end to four years of violence.
The two leaders pledged Tuesday to stop the cycle of
attacks and military retaliation. Abbas said he told
Israeli Sharon that Palestinians will halt all
violence against Israelis.
Emerging from Tuesday's summit at Red Sea resort in
Egypt, Abbas announced the cease-fire agreement with
"We have agreed on halting all violent actions against
Palestinians and Israelis wherever they are," Abbas
Sharon also made a similar pledge, saying, "Israel
will cease all its military activity against all
Palestinians everywhere." After a face-to-face meeting
with Abbas, Sharon said he hoped the Palestinian
leader would lead his people to statehood and that the
two countries will eventually live peacefully side by
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon shakes hands with
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at a
Mideast summit, Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt.
A senior Israeli official said the two leaders have
agreed to meet privately. Abbas has accepted an
invitation to visit Sharon at his ranch in southern
Sharon and Abbas greeted each other earlier in the day
across a long white table as Israeli and Palestinian
flags whipped in the wind at an Egyptian resort. It
was their first meeting since Abbas succeeded the late
The leaders aren't signing any formal cease-fire
A top Sharon adviser said Israel will stop its
controversial targeted killings of wanted
Palestinians, as long as Palestinians keep militants
One militant group, Hamas, isn't committing to
U.S. Reacts Cautiously
It's certainly not the first cease-fire in the Middle
East, and U.S. officials know that previous ones
haven't lasted. So, they're reacting cautiously to the
truce announced by Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said halting
terrorism and other violence would be an important
step, but a State Department spokesman said, "Let us
Briefing reporters as Air Force One flew President
George W. Bush to a stop in Detroit, McClellan said
America "will continue doing its part" to aid peace
Mubarak Mediates Successful Summit
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said the Israelis and
the Palestinians are both committed to "work together
truly and sincerely" to make peace.
It was Mubarak who summoned the Israeli prime minister
and the new Palestinian leader to an Egyptian resort
to resume peace talks. Both sides agreed to stop
attacks on each other.
Mubarak acknowledged the challenges are "large and
deep," and he said what happened Tuesday is the "first
step" on a long road.
Speaking on behalf of himself and Jordan's King
Abdullah, he said both the Palestinians and the
Israelis deserve to live in peace.
Truce Could Open Arab Doors For Israel
The Egyptian foreign minister said Egypt and Jordan
will return their ambassadors to Israel after a
four-year absence, possibly within days. And Israel's
foreign minister says that may just be the beginning.
Silvan Shalom told an Israeli TV station, "This could
lead to a breakthrough with many other Arab
Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab countries to have
signed peace treaties with Israel. They withdrew their
ambassadors in 2000 amid rising violence between the
Israelis and Palestinians. Other Arab nations have had
low-level missions in Israel.
Shalom said the Israelis are in talks with Persian
Gulf and North African nations to open diplomatic missions.