The Bush administration has stressed that it does not
plan to adopt a State Department proposal to reform Palestinian insurgency
Officials said President George Bush has not agreed to a proposal
drafted by the State Department on guidelines for the rehabilitation of such
groups as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The department's proposal, discussed with
the National Security Council, would offer guidelines on how these groups
could be converted into political movements.
"His position is that Hamas is an enemy of peace and that Hamas needs to
be dismantled because it is a terrorist organization," White House spokesman
Scott McClellan said on Friday. "That's his position."
McClellan said the administration continues to regard Hamas and
Hizbullah as terrorist groups. The spokesman said Bush regards people who
"carry out attacks on innocent civilians are terrorists, indeed."
"They can continue to be terrorist organizations on the terrorist
organization list," McClellan said. "And we've made it very clear that
people need to stop supporting those organizations and that they need to be
But administration officials said Bush continues to support Palestinian
Authority efforts to win the release of Hamas and Jihad detainees from
Israeli prisons. The officials said the president believes that such a
release is important to maintain the current truce declared by Islamic
insurgency groups a month ago.
On Sunday, Israel's Cabinet voted 14 to 9 to release Hamas and Jihad
members. Ministers said Sharon is expected to come under further U.S.
pressure to release Palestinian prisoners, including those convicted of
"The Americans are already pressing us to release terrorists with blood
on their hands," Housing Minister Effi Eitam said.
In all, Sharon has agreed to release 540 Palestinian prisoners,
including 210 Hamas and Jihad members. A Sharon aide relayed the decision as
Israeli authorities announced the search for an aide of PA Chairman Yasser
Arafat in Ramallah suspected of planning suicide bombings in Israeli cities.
Authorities said the military and security services arrested a Fatah
insurgent charged with planning to send two women to blow themselves up in
nightclubs in Netanya or Tel Aviv. The Arafat aide was said to have been
given haven in Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah.