As Israeli and Palestinian teams prepare for peace talks, there are fears that a serious incident from terrorists could take place, in an attempt to scupper the peace process.
President Yasser Arafat has agreed to hold peace talks with other Arab leaders as part of a process launched by US Secretary of State Colin Powell during his recent visit to the Middle East.
Israeli Prime Minister is to visit the white House next Tuesday to present his Cabinet’s latest proposals for peace with the Palestinians after the partial withdrawal from the occupied territories and the recent release of President Arafat from his imprisonment.
As the plans for peace talks proceed, Israeli intelligence services have discovered a plan to detonate explosives on the Azrieli Tower, in Tel Aviv, which is the highest office block in the region. More than 500 kg. of explosives were found in raids on Palestinian safe houses in the vicinity.
This find comes after Israeli government sources drew up a document linking Yasser Arafat to supposed financing of terrorist attacks against Israel, a document which is believed to be on the agenda for the forthcoming meeting in Washington.
Certainly support for the Israeli cause is overwhelming in the US Congress and Senate, both of which have expressed clear support for the tough line adopted by Sharon against what he terms as international terrorism.
What is understood by news sources in the region is that Sharon will present a detailed plan to George Bush regarding Israeli peace proposals, however these are expected to fall short of Palestinian demands for a total withdrawal from the occupied territories.
To date, the Israelis have presented proposals for a withdrawal from 95% of the occupied territories and a disbanding of 75% of their colonies. The Palestinians are left to manage the fallout from the remaining 25% of Israeli colonies built and maintained illegally on their lands and to claim the 5% of their sovereign territory back.
Any attempt to sign a peace deal accepting the majority, but not the totality, of land, would lead to an inexorable wave of violence from Palestinian radical groups. Palestinian sources have recently postulated alternative offers, namely an immediate mutual recognition of states (Israel and Palestine), an immediate acceptance of the 95/75% deal and a phased withdrawal of Israeli colonies/occupation in return for an indexed rent for land occupied.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru