American envoy Anthony Zinni arrived in the Middle East four days ago on a peacemaking mission for the third time over the last six months. During his visit, Zinni had several meetings with all the top officials in the region. On Thursday, Mr.Zinni talked with Israeli premier Ariel Sharon, and, on Friday, he conducted negotiations with Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer and with the Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. After that, he left for Ramallah, where he had meetings with the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, speaker of the Palestinian parliament Ahmed Qureia, head of the local government Saib Arikat, and head of the information ministry, Yasser Abd Rabbo.
This activity of the American official testifies to the fact that the USA is very seriously intended to strive at least for a truce between Israel and Palestine. Anthony Zinni failed to convince the feuding parties negotiate during his previous visit. However, this time, Zinni is not returning empty-handed.
A funeral ceremony took place in the refugee camp Al-Bureij, Gaza Strip, where a Palestinian burried her three kids and a nephew who died in an explosion on Friday. The slogan of the participants was the following: Zinni, your negotiations are not going to help.” Yasser Arafat's Aksa Martyr's Brigade promised revenge. Two recent acts of terrorism happened in Israel. A Palestinian man opened fire on pedestrians in Kfar Saba, killing one Israeli woman and wounding about a dozen of people. The terrorist himself was also killed. A suicide bomber killed himself in Jerusalem, but nobody else was killed. Israeli tanks entered Bethlehem’s central areas after that.
Anthony Zinni harshly condemned yesterday’s violence, which happened after two days of the relative calm. Zinni claimed that those attacks would not shake his determination to continue to work with both parties in order to put and end to the confrontation. He also added that it was very important for the Palestinian government to claim responsibility for those events, take measures against terror, and punish the guilty people.
American Vice President Dick Cheney arrives in Israel today as a part of his tour of the Middle East. He has already visited eleven countries, and his major goal for the tour is to convince the Arab world agree with a military operation against Iraq. Cheney is really in need of peace in the Middle East. This is the only condition for which the Arab world (or a part of it, at least) is willing sacrifice Iraq to satisfy American ambitions.
That is why the USA will insist on the withdrawing of Israeli troops from Palestine, carefully watching Yasser Arafat’s actions at that, constantly reminding him that he does not have any other chance. Arafat has to understand that the luck that he has had after the UN Security Council issued the resolution on the Middle East (in which Palestine is acknowledged as an independent state, not some kind of autonomy) originated from America.
Furthermore, Washington is ready to have a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah, who is the author of the alternative plan for solving the Middle East conflict. The USA seems to like his plan more and more. If the Arab world acknowledges Israel, it will bind the Arab countries hand and foot, and this is exactly what Washington wants. In this case, the Arabs will think twice before helping their Iraqi brothers.
Dick Cheney’s visit to the Middle East is darkened by an unpleasant event. The representatives of the Palestinian autonomy are not going to meet with Dick Cheney, who is coming to the Middle East on March 18. This was said by Yasser Abd Rabbo, the Palestinian Minister for Information. The Palestinian leaders made such a decision because Dick Cheney himself planned not to meet with Arafat. The Palestinian minister said that this was a first. Well, it’s not the first occasion at all. Speaker of the Russian Federation Council Sergey Mironov also refused to have a meeting with Arafat. The difference is that Sergey Mironov’s plans included that meeting, while Dick Cheney's did not.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov