PM Abbas Slams Israeli Wall as Racist
PM Abbas Slams Israeli Wall as Racist, Title for No Coexistence
Bush: Establishing Palestinian State by 2005 Is ‘Realistic’ Goal
A day after US President George Bush backed off from overt criticism of the Apartheid Wall Israel is building on occupied Palestinian territory, PNA Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas condemned the wall as “racist” and a symbol of the lack of coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians, while Bush was declaring Wednesday that his goal of establishing a Palestinian state by 2005 is “realistic.”
“The fence is racist,” Abbas said. “It represents a title for no coexistence” between Israel and the Palestinians.
President Bush said Wednesday that his goal of establishing a Palestinian state by 2005 is realistic and the United States must help Palestinian premier Abbas root out “terrorism.”
“I do think its realistic, I also know when we start sliding goals, it makes progress less realistic,” Bush said on Wednesday.
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s media adviser Nabil Abu Rudeinah told reporters in Ramallah Wednesday that Bush statement is “important,” but “words have to be translated into deeds.”
Palestinians see the wall as the exact prescription to render establishing their statehood impossible, as it grabs 58% percent of the West Bank area according to President Arafat, demarcate a “de facto” border line, and separate tens of thousands of Palestinians from their people as well as from their lands, the sole source of income for them.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair Wednesday agreed with the Palestinian grievances and said that his government had “expressed our own misgivings” to Israel about the possibility of a "situation where, de facto, the boundaries are changed, because that would mean that a peace settlement is less likely.”
Bush failed in talks Tuesday to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to stop building what Israel says is a “security fence” and Palestinians call a new “Berlin Wall.”
“The most effective way to fight terror is to dismantle terrorist organizations,” Bush said when asked about the wall by an Israeli reporter. “And therefore, I would hope in the long term, a fence would be irrelevant. But look, the fence is a sensitive issue.”
President Arafat on Wednesday called the wall a “Berlin Wall” that would divide Palestinian areas into ghettos.
Israel pushed ahead Wednesday with the construction of the wall in the West Bank despite Palestinian dismay, encouraged by Bush’s backing off.
Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi told al-Arabia satellite TV station that the US Administration adopted the Israeli position at the expense of its own when Bush met Sharon on Tuesday.
However Bush added that Israel must consider the consequences of its actions on the peace process, but Israeli and US officials said the comment was a general one, not linked to any specific issue.
Mahmud Abbas told Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman Wednesday that the wall “has little value from a security point of view and the Palestinians reject it because it is being built on their lands,” the official Petra news agency said.
Petra said Abbas briefed Abdullah on his White House talks with Bush last Friday, four days before the US president met with Israeli PM Sharon in a bid to jump-start Mideast peacemaking.
After his meeting with Abbas, Bush had described the segregation wall as “a problem.” But at a White House press conference Tuesday, Bush did not press Sharon to stop building the wall.
Sharon confirmed the “fence” would continue to be built “with every effort to minimize the infringement on the daily life of the Palestinian population.”
However Petra quoted Abbas as saying he “felt there was big understanding” to the issues he discussed with Bush, but he did not elaborate.
The US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday tried to rebalance his country’s stance on the wall issue.
He told Reuters in an interview: “We are going to press on this issue. There are other phases of construction coming along and ... this is an area that will have to be discussed as we move forward.”
“If the fence is constructed in a way which continues to intrude on Palestinian land, even if it's compensated for, in a way that makes it harder to go forward with the additional elements of the road map ... that is a problem,” he added.
Sharon’s Neighbors Refute His Statements
Earlier Sharon said in Washington: “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Neighbors do not agree. “They took all the land, the olive trees and the land, which was full of fig and almond trees and I couldn't do anything but cry,” said farmer Ahmed Yousef in the northern West Bank. Nearby, cranes placed posts with electronic sensors into deep holes in northern West Bank.
PNA Information Minister Nabil Amre was quoted as saying that Sharon's pledge to continue construction on the fence was “disappointing” and said it would “complicate matters and dampen the positive atmosphere” that surrounded the endorsement of the “roadmap.”
Palestinian Authority lawmaker Saeb Erekat blasted the continuation of building “the wall” and said peace with the Palestinians is not possible if it continues.
“If Mr. Sharon...wants to make peace with the Palestinians he cannot do it through the continuation of the security wall,” Erekat said.
“As far as the wall is concerned, [we] expected President Bush to say 'stop it' after he said the continuation of building the wall was 'a problem,” Erekat added.