Rice's Response to PA's Demands: Counter-Demands

(Ha'aretz) Arnon Regular - * In return for "a quiet withdrawal," the Palestinians want the U.S. to press Israel to allow them to control the Philadelphi Route, as well as the border crossings into Egypt. Instead, the Palestinians received counter demands from visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rice, who asked them not to "burden the withdrawal agenda with superfluous issues." * Rice bombarded her interlocutors with a long series of questions - to which she did not receive answers - with regard to the PA's ability to restore order to its security mechanisms in the Gaza Strip prior to the disengagement. Rice also questioned the PA's apparent inability to preserve the period of quiet and prevent Islamic Jihad and certain Fatah elements from escalating the situation. * There has been a significant and dangerous fall-off in the PA's ability to preserve the calm and rein in the various opposition groups. * Under the current situation, with large question marks surrounding Fatah, Abbas' leadership, and his ability to continue to withstand internal pressure, no PA official is willing to sacrifice himself in a conflict with the opposition elements.

2005-06-20 00:00:00

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