ABC's This Week over the weekend.
The State Department went further,
suggesting that the killing of Abdel
Aziz Rantissi showed a lack of sophis-
tication. Putting Hamas out of busi-
ness is "a much more complicated
question than just assassinating a
leader here and there," State
Department spokesman Richard
Boucher said Monday. "The idea of
putting them out of business really
does require somebody else to take •
authority in these areas."
Boucher reiterated U.S. support for
Israel's right to defend itself, and noted
that Rantissi headed a terrorist organi-
zation. But his comments still under-
scored an emerging U.S.-Israel schism.
A senior Israeli official described
Israel's pull-out plan as a "mortal
blow" to Palestinian dreams, while
President Bush sees the plan as facili-
tating Palestinian empowerment.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
Richard Armitage is in the region this
week, explaining that last week's deal
only enhances Bush's vision of a
Palestinian state as the outcome of
"Our desire was to sit down and talk
to people about moving forward,
about how to make withdrawal from
Gaza contribute to overall progress on
the road map and toward the presi-
dent's vision, that we have been engag-
ing Arab leaders and Arab govern-
ments in those discussions," Armitage
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from page 25
That means that Washington wants to
see concrete Israeli actions, and U.S.
officials are not likely to be comforted
by a senior Israeli official's pledge last
week to "establish committees" to
examine how to withdraw.
The president wants to "jump-start
progress on the road map," a senior
administration official said last week.
"Sharon has also talked about continu-
ing to move toward a settlement
freeze, getting rid of unauthorized out-
David Makovsky, a senior analyst at
the Washington Institute for Near East
Policy, said the administration would
remain quiet until a May 2 referen-
dum in Sharon's Likud party on the
plan; after that, it would want results.
"This is a president with over 100,000
troops in Iraq, and he will want to see
Israeli action after the Likud referen-
dum," Makovsky said. I-1
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