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Mofaz: We´ll Fight Terror As Long As P.A. Does Not

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz said today that Israel would not agree to end its counter-terrorism military activities until the Palestinian Authority takes its own steps towards that end.
First Publish: 5/4/2003, 8:27 PM

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz said today that Israel would not agree to end its counter-terrorism military activities until the Palestinian Authority takes its own steps towards that end. He further said that the PA cannot be said to have accomplished "reforms" until it unites all its military bodies into one organization *not* under the authority of Yasser Arafat.

Abu Mazen, however, is not even close to trying to implement the Road Map, according to Israeli sources, and he will not begin efforts in that direction until he stabilizes his authority in the PA. Mofaz noted that there was a significant increase in terror organizations' efforts to perpetrate attacks following the installation of the new PA government. "As long as Israel is subject to violence, and does not see Palestinian actions against terror," Mofaz said, "Israel will have no choice but to continue to act to thwart and prevent terror as is done today."

Prime Minister Sharon said today that he would meet with Abu Mazen after Secretary Powell's visit next week, though he did not specify a date. The Yesha Council, representing the Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, released a statement decrying the planned meeting, saying that it contradicts Sharon's policy of not negotiating under fire. See below for a list of attempted Palestinian terror attacks over the weekend.

The U.S. has asked the UN Security Council to officially call upon Israel and the Palestinian Authority to adopt the Road Map plan. The US proposal called on both sides to "act together to stop terrorism."

The Foreign Ministers of the European Union were more adamant in their demand. Meeting in Rhodes over the weekend, they said that the argument over Arafat's fate should not hold up the "complete implementation" of the plan, and that in any event they do not want Arafat "out of the picture." Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou even said that Arafat is "a historic figure, a critical player in the Middle East who can still have influence over the peace process." Javier Solana, the EU's Foreign Minister, said that Israel must be pressured to "implement the Road Map without conditions or changes," and that the Palestinians must "promise to stop the suicide attacks."

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who served in the past as a US mediator in the Middle East, met today and will meet tonight with Israeli leaders, including Sharon, Mofaz, and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom. He will meet with PA officials tomorrow.