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Palestine PM Qurei' Proposes Bi-National State


PM Qurei' Proposes Bi-National State Amidst Israeli Fury and US Opposition

GAZA -- The Palestinian Prime Minister, Ahmad Qurei' declared that he would push for a bi-national state including all the lands of historical Palestine if his Israeli counterpart Ariel Sharon seizes more lands in the West Bank.

PM Qurei' was speaking in an interview with Reuters news agency on Thursday, where he said that the Israeli "Apartheid solution by putting Palestinians into cantons. Who would accept this?"

PM Qurei' slammed also the construction of the Israeli Apartheid Wall, which has forcibly annexed vast areas of the Palestinian lands in the West Bank, and warned that the construction of this wall, coupled with Sharon's "unilateral disengagement plan" would make the Palestinians shift for a bi-national state, the AFP reported.

Several Israeli officials and politicians warned that such a solution would mean that the Jewish population would eventually become a minority under one state, indicating the recent demographic studies that revealed that the Jews would become a minority in the area between the Mediterranean and Jordan Valley by 2010.

PM Qurei' said the bi-national state idea is his own idea, not official policy, though he said Palestinians suggested it shortly after Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967-war.

Commenting on PM Qurei's statement, the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's media advisor, Nabil Abu Rudeina, said Friday that Washington was doing nothing to prevent Israel from "walking away from the Road Map".

On the other side, an advisor to Sharon, Zalman Shoval, called the remarks by PM Qurei', also known as Abu Ala'a, an "empty threat."

"Mr. Abu Ala'a has threatened to call for a bi-national state, but he may just as well call for a Palestinian state on the moon," Shoval said. "This is an empty threat that Israel is obviously not going to think seriously about," Haaretz daily reported on its online edition.

Internationally, the United States opposed to a one-state solution that PM Qurei' proposed, saying that the "Road Map" international peace plan and its two-state solution was the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

".. we're committed to a two-state solution. I believe that's the only solution that'll work: a state for the Palestinian people called Palestine; and … the state of Israel, which exists. And what we have to do is get to a table where we can negotiate the terms of existence," the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, told reporters in a press conference Thursday.

As well, the French President Jacques Chirac said that it was time to re-launch the peace process in the Middle East, calling for an international conference and an international monitoring mechanism to revive peace in the Palestinian territories, Al Jazeera satellite channel reported on Friday.

President Chirac considered in Paris that such a conference would give the interested party an opportunity to recommit to the way of the negotiations on the basis of the "Road Map" plan, devised by the Quartet committee, and agreed by the Palestinians, but the Israelis had their reservations on it.

In Iran, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharazi, asserted that Tehran welcomes the project of establishing one state in the land of Palestine, adding that Iran believed the only democratic way in Palestine lies in a one-state solution, according to the Iranian news agency.

"Despite the era of racial discrimination has ended, what has been going on in the Palestinian territories is a form of Apartheid … experiences has taught us that Muslims, Christians and Jews can co-exist peacefully and enjoy equal rights over one land," Kharazi said.

According to several political analysts, both Arab and Jew, a single country including Gaza, the West Bank and what is known now as Israel would spell disaster for a "Jewish state", because the country would soon have an Arab majority. That would force Israel to choose between giving Palestinians the right to vote and risk losing the country's Jewish character, or becoming a minority-ruled country like the Apartheid South Africa.


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