RAMALLAH Ñ The prime minister-designate for the Palestinian
Authority wants U.S. guarantees that Israel will be pressed to withdraw from
parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of a process to establish a
Palestinian Legislative Council speaker Ahmed Qurei said he will
condition his acceptance of the post of prime minister to a U.S. commitment
for the roadmap, an international plan that calls for an interim Palestinian
state by the end of the year. Qurei was chosen by the Fatah Central Council
to replace outgoing Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who resigned over the
"I've been nominated but have not accepted yet," Qurei said during a
series of meetings with reporters in Ramallah on Monday. "Because before
that I want to see what kind of support I will receive from the Americans
and the Europeans to change things on the ground for the Palestinians.
Without it I am not going to accept it."
Qurei said he wanted an end to the Israeli offensive against Hamas as
well as a commitment for withdrawal. The PLC speaker said he expects
Washington to pressure Israel to resume withdrawal, which began in July
after Palestinian insurgency groups declared a ceasefire. The ceasefire was
marred by several major attacks, the bloodiest of which was on Aug. 19 when
a Hamas suicide bombing of an Israeli bus in Jerusalem killed 22 people.
Assuming the unassumable
Those who believe that an unplanned, random "Big Bang" explosion of unknown matter caused the formation of the numberless bodies of the cosmos have more faith that fanatics. They also conveniently ignore some obvious points of information: Read on . . .
Qurei did not discuss his proposed policy toward Hamas and other
insurgency groups. Abbas had carried out a policy of dialogue rather
confrontation with such groups as the ruling Fatah movement as well as Hamas
and Islamic Jihad.
"I don't want to see assassinations and demolitions of houses," Qurei
said of Israel. "I want to see a real ceasefire. These are my conditions."
Palestinian sources said the State Department, whose representatives met
with the PLC speaker on Monday, has been in contact with Qurei regarding his
candidacy. The sources said Qurei was told that the Bush administration
would cooperate with a Palestinian government under Qurei.