Bush Meets Resistance on Mideast Plan

(Washington Post) - President Bush's latest bid for a Middle East peace deal is running into unexpected resistance from key allies in Congress. GOP congressional leaders are calling on the president and Secretary of State Powell to temper their support for a long-awaited Middle East peace plan designed to implement Bush's call in June for the creation of a Palestinian state within three years. Republicans and Democrats say they worry that the administration is undercutting Israel by embracing the plan. "There are many members of Congress concerned about this road map," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said Thursday. Sharon's government, and many in Congress, object to the non-negotiable nature of the document and to its demand that Israel and the Palestinians take parallel steps to move toward peace. Israel's position is that the Palestinians must prove they have stopped all terrorism before it is required to take any steps. GOP and Democratic congressional leaders are making clear they will oppose any peace deal that does not first require the Palestinians to change their government and end all terrorist activities before imposing significant requirements on Israel. Several key Republicans said Bush has privately assured them that he agrees with them. But they expressed concern that Powell and British Prime Minister Tony Blair might manage to soften his resolve.

2003-04-04 00:00:00

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