TODAY'S MA'ARIV HEADLINE ["generous withdrawal"] - BASELESS
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Jerusalem, Tuesday, November 27, 2001

[Editor's Note: This scares me. I have learned never to trust statements by politicians.]


Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Bureau states that the main headline in today's Ma'ariv newspaper is completely baseless and without any foundation whatsoever.

[IMRA: The headline in Ma'ariv: "Generous withdrawal - and recognition of a Palestinian State, The Program: Give the US President a Commitment as a 'Deposit'" by Eli Kamir.]

The text continues:

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is considering coming next week to Washington with a "personal surprise" for President George Bush: A "diplomatic deposit" that will testify to his intentions for after the achievement of a cease-fire with the Palestinians.

According to the most senior diplomatic sources Sharon will make clear to Bush that immediately after the Palestinians completely honor all the terms of the cease-fire, including the seven days of quiet and a cooling off period of six weeks, he will agree to implement a "generous" third redeployment, authorize a change in the status of Area "B" [Israeli security control] to Area "A" [full Palestinian control], and recognize the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Sharon, according to the source, will not specify the size of the third withdrawal to the American president, but the intention is some ten percent "and maybe a bit more". This will lead to a Palestinian state of an area of slightly more than fifty percent of the territories. The Palestinian state will be part of the long term interim stage, and therefore the terms of the interim agreement will apply, among them Israeli control of the airspace and all borders.

According to diplomatic sources, Sharon will be ready to also consider a series of gestures to the Palestinians, among them implementation of the idea of turning the Atarot airport in northern Jerusalem into an Israeli-Palestinian airport, with the establishment of a secure passageway between the airport and the territories of the Palestinian Authority.

Elements involved in preparing the program explained that Sharon understands full well that he cannot come "empty handed" to the White House. They maintain that if the prime minister leaves the "deposit" with the US president, he will preserve the principle of not engaging in diplomatic negotiation until there is a cease-fire. On the other hand, all the American pressure will be diverted to the Palestinians."

Ma'ariv 27 November 2001


IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

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