Abbas: President Bush Promised Me an Israeli Withdrawal to the 1967 Lines

(Washington Post) Interview by Lally Weymouth - Q: What's your impression of President Bush? Abbas: I think he's an honest man. He is direct - to the point. And I think he keeps his word. He told us that he will stick to his vision of a Palestinian independent state and withdrawal to the '67 borders. Q: Many Israelis are convinced that Palestinians do not accept Israel as a Jewish state. A: The majority of Palestinians accept Israel as a state. Q: A lot of Israelis have been killed in the past two years. Why would Israel release prisoners - some of whom carried out these killings? A: The Israelis also killed Palestinians. So both sides killed each other. We cannot keep this problem forever. We must ask the people to forget about the past and to live for the future. Q: Does Arafat have to approve the actions that you take? A: All the actions, all the actions. He is the leader of the Palestinian people. Q: People are hoping you can be an independent actor. A: No, I cannot be independent. I am a part of the authority. Q: What lessons do you draw from the U.S. operation in Iraq? Reportedly, Iraq was sending money to the territories. A: They did send money. I think [the Palestinians] should be compensated by the international community because Iraq sent the money for social aims, for social affairs. So we need the money for social affairs, for the victims, and for the martyrs.

2003-07-28 00:00:00

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