Israel's security fence "uncivilised", says Mahmoud Abbas

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at
Sun Jul 27 09:32:57 MDT 2003

As Mr Bush was meeting the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, on
Friday, Israel announced several other steps to demonstrate it was sincere
about the road map, which aims to end violence and establish a Palestinian
state by 2005.

These steps include plans to pull troops out of two more Palestinian cities
and dismantle three roadblocks in the West Bank. The first of these, the
Surda checkpoint near Ramallah, was dismantled yesterday.

During his Washington meeting Mr Abbas urged the US to press Israel for more
concessions, including freezing Israeli settlements in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip, freeing up to 3000 Palestinian prisoners and dismantling a
security fence built near Israel's dividing line with the West Bank to
separate Israel from Palestinian areas.

While Mr Bush repeated that terrorism must be rooted out, he referred to
Israel's security fence as a problem.

"It is an uncivilised wall," Mr Abbas later told Newsweek, and, repeating
his response to the Bush Administration's request that Hamas and Islamic
Jihad be dismantled, said:

"Why should we go to civil war against our own people?"

Even if these groups believed that Israel had no right to exist, they could
"keep their slogans", as long as they did not engage in violence, he said.

"I believe that if [Israel can be confined] within the 1967 borders, [Hamas]
will live with it and will accept it. It's only 22 per cent of the
historical Palestinian territory."

While promising to discuss the release of Palestinian prisoners with Mr
Sharon, Mr Bush said: "Surely nobody would want to let a cold-blooded killer
out of prison. I would never ask anybody in any society to let a prisoner
out who would then commit terrorist actions."

Deciding who should make the next move has bogged down the road map's

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