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ARABS-ISRAEL - April 6 - Israeli Stance Casts Doubts On Peace Plan.

A report in The FT says: "Israel reiterated its refusal to resume peace negotiations while under Palestinian terrorist fire, casting doubt on the future of a plan being pushed by London, the EU, the UN and some US officials. Dov Weisglass, a senior aide to [PM] Sharon, is expected to stress to US officials that Israel will not compromise on security in any peace plan when he travels to Washington this week. Other Israeli officials have also outlined their objections to the 'road map' - which calls for a Palestinian state by 2005 after a number of parallel measures are achieved, including an end to Palestinian violence and easing of conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. [US Pres.] Bush and [British PM] Blair are expected to discuss the road map at their summit in Belfast, amid a flurry of diplomatic activity in the region. [Swedish PM] Goran Persson and [German] Joschka Fischer are due to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories this week. [French FM] Dominique de Villepin has also expressed an interest in visiting. While the US has said the road map will be formally unveiled within the next couple of weeks - after the inauguration of the new Palestinian government headed by Mahmoud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen - Israel is resisting any implementation of the plan in its present form. Numerous changes that Israel is demanding include diluting the call for a total freeze on Jewish settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli analysts say the White House is unlikely to risk antagonising the Jewish and Christian fundamentalist lobbies by forcing Israel to implement the road map. [US State Secretary] Colin Powell said last week that the road map was not open to change but acknowledged it could not be 'imposed' on both sides. Israel is highly critical of Blair's attempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by linking progress to the war against Iraq. 'A country that adopts such unbalanced positions cannot expect to have its voice attended to seriously', Weisglass said. The Palestinians are highly doubtful about the prospects for peace, particularly as Sharon's coalition includes rightwing parties opposed to the principle of a Palestinian state and which would strenuously resist any dismantling of Jewish settlements".
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Apr 12, 2003
Words:372
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