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      Pressure Or Not?

      Is or is not the United States pressuring Prime Minister Sharon to formally accept the Road Map? Senior officials in Sharon's office are saying that the media are fanning the flames of this issue.
      First Publish: 5/23/2003, 4:21 PM

      Is or is not the United States pressuring Prime Minister Sharon to formally accept the Road Map? The New York Times reports that the White House is coming down hard on Sharon to debate the matter in the next Cabinet meeting. Senior officials in Sharon's office are saying that the media are fanning the flames of this issue, and that in truth the so-called "pressure" has been blown way out of proportion. The Prime Minister told U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell last week that there is currently not a majority among the ministers to support the plan. This could change, however, if the U.S. publicly accepts most or all of the 15 "reservations" that Israel expressed against the program.

      Minister Uzi Landau, who served as Public Security Minister in the previous government, said today that the Oslo Agreement was a "house pet compared to the Road Map." He noted that the Road Map gives the PA a state and an end to Jewish construction in Yesha - neither of which was offered under Oslo. "And all this in exchange for barely anything," Landau said. He also said that the Arabs of the PA would see these achievements as justification for the path of terrorism, and would cause them to step up their attacks.

      Minister Landau said that the peace process could not proceed unless the PA agrees in advance to give up the "right of return" and to get rid of all anti-Israel incitement from its educational system.