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    Congress presses Bush
    on 'road map'
    Letter urges president to avoid talks until terror stops

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Posted: May 3, 2003
    1:00 a.m. Eastern



    © 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

    Four-hundred and one congressional lawmakers have signed a letter to President George W. Bush about the Middle East "road map" with the veiled message: "Don't sell out."

    As WorldNetDaily reported, the blueprint was drafted by the so-called Mideast "Quartet," which consists of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

    It lays out conditions, phases, timelines and benchmarks for the formation of a Palestinian state – a move perceived by mediators as key to achieving "final and comprehensive settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict" – by 2005.

    As Israel National News first reported, the letter notes Bush appears to be shifting away from his previous demands for a complete end to terror before negotiations could take place.

    "We write to express our support for your efforts to resume peace negotiations based on the clear principles you outlined in your June 24, 2002 speech," the letter states.

    It then highlights four principles and emphasized they "should underline and guide any 'road map' to peace:


    Palestinian terror and violence must cease;

    A new Palestinian leadership – with real authority – needs to be established, free from the taint of terrorism and willing and able to dismantle the terrorist network;

    There must be true accountability and transparency in Palestinian governance;

    The Palestinian security apparatus must be overhauled so that it truly fights terrorism, rather than engages in it."
    "Many are urging you to short circuit this process and to focus on timelines in achieving the road map's benchmarks," the letter states. "We believe that you will not be dissuaded and will focus instead on real performance. Without a new, empowered Palestinian leadership that is firmly engaged in fighting terror, Israel has no one with whom to negotiate."

    The lawmakers used Bush's own words in regards to the need for a new Palestinian leadership "with real authority." The president declined to release details of the road map until Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat had installed a prime minister.

    Even as Arafat's newly appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was being sworn in, Arafat was working to undermine him, reports the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Arafat issued a presidential order for the establishment of a national security council, which goes against clauses in the road map. This council would oversee all the PA's security mechanisms, including the counter-security apparatus, the uniformed police and the civil guard. Under the road map, Abbas' government must be unified into three divisions that all answer to the interior minister.

    It is unclear whether the lawmakers' reference to the new Palestinian leadership needing to be "free from the taint of terrorism" is related to doubts recently surfaced over the commitment of Abbas to end terrorism in the region.

    WorldNetDaily has reported that an Israeli civil-rights group claims Abbas, known as Abu Mazen, provided financing for the terrorist attack that killed 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. The mastermind of the Munich attack, Mohammed Daoud Oudeh, or Abu Daoud, echoes the claim.

    CNSNews.com reports an American woman has filed a lawsuit against Mazen.

    Bernice Wolf, 78, a dual American-Israeli citizen, claims he ordered the terrorist murder of her daughter and son-in-law. Dina Horowitz and her husband, Rabbi Eli Horowitz, both born in the United States, were murdered by Palestinian gunmen who burst into their home in Kiryat Arba on March 7, 2003.

    Days before, according to Wolf, Mazen said in newspaper interviews that it was permissible to murder Jews who lived in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

    Calls to authors seeking clarification were not immediately returned.

    Members of the House International Relations Committee, including Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill., House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Ranking Member Tom Lantos, D-Calif., teamed up with Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and John Ensign, R-Nev., to author the letter.

    The letter was endorsed by 88 senators and 313 representatives.

    Blunt, who gathered the House signatures, provides a copy of the letter on his website.

    According to the road map, U.S. rebuilding and training would follow a crackdown on terrorism, the Palestinian Authority's rebuilding of a security apparatus and its reform of civil institutions. And an oversight board made up of representatives from the U.S., Egypt and Jordan would implement a security-cooperation plan.

    The blueprint calls for two international conferences to be convened by the Quartet after the successful conclusion of Palestinian elections by the end of 2003, and to endorse agreement reached on an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders in the beginning of 2004.

    The letter warns Bush that unnamed "nations or groups" could derail the process.

    "The United States has developed a level of credibility and trust with all parties in the region which no other country shares," the letter states. "We are concerned that certain nations or groups, if given a meaningful role in monitoring progress made on the ground, might only lessen the chances of moving forward on a realistic path towards peace."

 
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