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April 23, 2004 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-04-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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weighing Gains

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Sharon gains from Bush meeting, but payoff for
U.S. is yet to come.

Abdullah off-guard. Jordan wanted to
"clarify the U.S. position regarding
final status issues, especially in light of
recent statements by U.S. officials,"
Washington
the statement said.
riel Sharon already is reap-
It said the king "underlined the
ing political dividends from
last week's historic exchange importance of ensuring that Israel's
withdrawal from Gaza will be part of
of letters with President
the 'road map,' and not an alternative
Bush, but the U.S. president's payoff
to it." The road map is an internation-
depends a great deal on what Israel
ally-backed peace plan that envisions a
does next.
Palestinian state.
The Bush administration wants to
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
see clear signs in coming weeks that
played down the significance of
Israel will live up to the prime minis-
Abdullah's sudden change of plans.
ter's commitment to pull out of the
He has postponed his visit, but we
Gaza Strip and a small portion of the
look forward to welcoming him back
West Bank in exchange for Bush's
in early May, and the date's being
recognition of Israel's claim to part of
worked out now," Powell said after
the West Bank.
meeting Tuesday with Jordanian
Bush's historic endorsement of
Israel's claims — and his rejection of - Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher.
"The concerns that.he has, I'm sure
any "right of return" to Israel for
that we can address."
Palestinian refugees — have boosted
The Sharon-Bush summit won't
Sharon's political fortunes, allowing
help the transfer of power in Iraq, said
him to win over opponents in his
Feisel Istrabadi, a constitutional advis-
Cabinet who had been skeptical of the
er to the U.S.-suppOrted Iraqi govern-
withdrawal plan. By contrast, the deal
poses clear political risks for Bush, bat- ing council. "From the perspective of
American policy and helping us in
tered by increasing U.S. casualties in
Iraq and seeking international support Iraq, I think it was the wrong thing to
do at the wrong time," Istrabadi told
for a transition to civilian rule there.
PBS.
The fallout in the Arab world was
Israeli-Palestinian tensions dog the
almost immediate. Jordan's King
United States' good intentions in Iraq
Abdullah II postponed until May a
and elsewhere, Istrabadi said. "It is the
meeting scheduled this week with
major bone of contention between the
President Bush, and it was clear from
broad masses — I'm not talking about
his embassy's statement that the Bush-
the radicals, but the broad masses of
Sharon agreement had caught
the Arab and Islamic world
Photo by BP Images/JTA
and the United States," he
said.
Administration officials
said matters were worsened
by Israel's assassination April
17 of Hamas' new leader,
and the predictable conspir-
acy theories in the Arab
world accusing the United
States of approving the hit.
"Certainly, given that we
had just talked about trying
to get the 'road map' under
way in the Middle East, try-
ing to get the Gaza disen-
gagement plan under way,
then the timing is not help-
Thousands of Palestinians April 18 escorted the
body of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantissi through ful," Condoleezza Rice, Bush's
national security adviser, told
the streets. of Gaza City to his funeral.
GAINS on page 26

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