New Tenet Plan: Egyptian-Trained Palestinian Forces

(Ha'aretz) Aluf Benn - After lunch at the State Department with the visiting foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters: "I reaffirmed to my colleagues President Bush's working as hard as possible to try to achieve a final settlement within the three-year period." American officials are now saying behind closed doors that broad agreement was reached at the Quartet meetings on how to proceed. All the participants agreed that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat must be bypassed. The Americans are convinced there is complete agreement on the need to first of all deal with the security issue, and even if work is undertaken on other issues, security has to come first. According to a new plan worked out by CIA director George Tenet and approved last Friday by the White House, Egypt would train the Palestinian security forces city-by-city, and as Israel withdraws, Palestinian police, screened for their credibility, will enter. The Americans said there's no point to conduct Palestinian elections if they only reconfirm Arafat as president, and it would be best to hold parliamentary elections that would end with the election of a Palestinian prime minister and Arafat "kicked upstairs." The U.S. administration has told Jerusalem that it does not accept the idea of a temporary agreement on 42 percent of the West Bank (a combination of Area A and B), with a promise to discuss the rest of the territory in another decade, as Sharon wants.

2002-07-19 00:00:00

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