Countdown to Disengagement

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Dennis Ross - Several measures can be taken at this stage to advance Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation: The ceasefire must be secured. U.S. Army Gen. William Ward, who is spearheading security coordination in the area, should create a list of goals for Mahmoud Abbas to complete before his visit to Washington. The problem of the 495 Palestinians on Israel's wanted list must be seriously addressed. General Ward can be helpful on this front as well. The EU and the World Bank should create a team to help Abbas clean up the PA. If he cannot eradicate the PA's corruption-riddled reputation, he will never succeed domestically. The $1.2 billion that the international community has pledged to the Palestinians must have tangible effects on the ground. Pledged money must be quickly turned into concrete accomplishments that increase Palestinian employment. The greatest threat facing both sides is violence supported by Hizballah and Iran. The Europeans should make clear to Iran the consequences of Hizballah violence. Arab states must bolster Abbas. American pressure on this subject is long overdue. With Arab states publicly supporting him, Hamas would find an oppositionist stance increasingly costly.

2005-04-20 00:00:00

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