US: Ball in Israel's court
Palestine-Israel-USA, Politics, 7/13/1998
State Department Spokesman James Rubin said "the ball is not in the court of the Palestinians" but "the ball is in the court of the Israelis," referring to the state of negotiations regarding the US initiative for Israeli withdrawal from occupied West Bank territories.
This is as close as the US has come to calling Israel the main obstacle to peace in the Palestinian - Israeli negotiations.
Rubin said the Palestinians have said "yes" to the US proposal and the US is are waiting for a second "yes" from the Israelis who have expressed reasons for not accepting the US proposal, chief amongst those are security issues and modification of the Palestinian National Council charter.
Rubin addressed those concerns in his remarks, stating that the US has conjured up the scheme of "parallel" action by the Palestinians and the Israelis to avoid gridlock. The mechanism agreed to by both parties was developed during this year's visit by Netanyahu and Arafat to the US in their intensive discussions with US President Clinton and US Secretary of Sate Madeleine Albright. This mechanism demands that as each party performs an agreed-upon task, then the other party (in parallel) will perform its own agreed-to obligations.
The US is anxious for Israel to accept the US initiative as it would start this process and deal with Israeli concerns for "building a security infrastructure to fight terrorism," Rubin said. These were president Clinton's ideas and "and we stand by the ideas that President Clinton put forth," Rubin added.
Rubin described the Palestinians agreeing to a 13 percent redeployment by Israel as a "serious reduction in the amount of land" from what Arafat had been asking for and said Arafat had agreed to fight terrorism. Netanyahu is seen by many as having backtracked on his agreement for parallel implementation of these two issues of redeployment and fighting terrorism and wanting to preempt the agreement by insisting that the Palestinians implement their part before an agreement is signed, thus putting Arafat in an unacceptable position.
This has led the Palestinian side to say that if Israel wants to renegotiate the US initiative, then the Palestinians will return to their previous position of demanding no less than 40 percent of redeployment, as we reported today.
Rubin described the negotiations as being "in the end game," and said some progress was being made but gaps remained.
Rubin stressed the important of direct dialog between the parties as relations between the two sides have deteriorated significantly as a result of Israeli preconditioning their talks with unacceptable demands on the Palestinian side in what is seen by Palestinians as a sign of bad faith in negotiating, resulting in a cut-of of face to face dialog.
But Rubin stressed that if the two sides are to have "an enduring peace" then face to face talks are essential. Towards that end, Rubin said, a face to face meeting is expected between the two sides after President Arafat's return from his visit to China which started today and is expected to end on Wednesday.
Palestine: No renegotiating US plan, else 40 percent withdrawal needed
Erekat is cool toward announcements of pending Palestinian - Israeli agreement
Albright: time to seize the moment
Please add a link on your webiste pointing to ArabicNews.com and bookmark ArabicNews.com & subscribe to our daily email news bulletin.
| Advertise on ArabicNews.com. MyFlowers.com sold more than $2700 of flowers in one month advertising on ArabicNews.com! Make your company, and products a success. Special rate for new and small business. Inquire!Advertising Info