US President George W.Bush has sent his representative to the Middle East, retired Brigader General Anthony Zinni. The US president also announced his parting speech, which was at once proclaimed to be Washington’s new program for the settlement of the Middle East conflict. In his speech, George W.Bush criticized all parties of the conflict. In his words, Israel’s activity on Palestinian territory does not meet the White House’s understanding for the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
George W.Bush said: “We are to pronounce openly that the military operations carried out by Israeli forces can hardly be called assistance in the settlement of the Middle East conflict. I understand when one is trying to protect himself and struggle with terror the way one can; however, such actions are more harmful than useful under the present conditions.”
The same day the White House issued an address to Israeli and Palestinian leaders with the demand to stop violence in the region in connection with Zinni’s arrival. In accordance with his traditional wording, White House’s press-secretary Scott McClellan urged the administration of the PLO to “do their best for the cessation of acts of terrorism on Israel’s territory," and Israel’s leadership is to stop the military operations on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.
Thus, the White House has started to openly criticize Israel. It is reported that the USA will not stand another failure of Zinni. In addition the USA doesn't want more activity from the EU and Russia regarding the peace process. The USA hopes to profit from its peacemaking activity: the Arab world is expected to change the attitude to America then. That is why Washington is persistent in making Arafat and Sharon start negotiations. Under the present conditions, Israel is an obstacle in the way of the US plans.
It is to be mentioned here that the UN Security Council has finally issued a resolution on the Middle East conflict: Israel and Palestine have been recognized as two independent states.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Photo from BBC archives
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/14/38226.html