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Friday, July 25, 2003

"A richly symbolic visit" - Sify News, India


Bush talks of security as Palestinian boy is shot - The Scotsman, UK
AS GEORGE Bush, the United States president, rolled out the White House red carpet for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister, Israel’s military officials announced that a soldier had killed a four-year-old Palestinian boy and injured two other children when he "accidentally" fired a tank-mounted machine gun in the West Bank.

Abbas wins White House red carpet - BBC News
"The Middle East needs leaders of vision and courage and determination to serve the interests of their people," Mr Bush said. "Mr Abbas is the first Palestinian prime minister, and he is proving to be such a leader."

New Palestinian leader makes Washington debut - San Francisco Chronicle/AP
The much-anticipated get-together between the two men Friday included effusive praise from Bush for Abbas, a veteran advocate of peace who earlier this year became the first Palestinian prime minister.

Bush joins Palestinian leader in urging Israelis to halt settlement - Independent, UK
Before they went inside to lunch together, the two men lingered, smiling, the President's arm draped around Abu Mazen - deliberately sending to the world in general and Israel in particular an image that symbolised Washington's commitment to a fair and lasting peace.

For Bush, a blast of the nitty-gritty - MSNBC
On Friday, in a move carefully timed to coincide with Abbas’ talks with Bush, Israel announced several small steps described as “confidence building” gestures, including the dismantling of three key West Bank checkpoints, the issuing of 8,500 travel permits for Palestinians who work inside Israel and the delivery of about $72 million in tax refunds owed to Palestinian workers but frozen when what has become known as the “second intifada” began in September 2000.

Bush Praises Palestinian Prime Minister as a Man of Peace - New York Times
Mr. Bush, who reminded his audience that he recently approved a direct grant of $20 million to the Palestinian Authority, said Treasury Secretary John W. Snow and Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans would travel to the Middle East in the fall to as part of his administration's quest for ways to build "a solid economic foundation for a free and sovereign Palestinian state.''

Abbas in Washington, to Visit White House - Reuters
The plan has run into disputes over which side should do what next. Abu Mazen wants Israel to release thousands of Palestinian prisoners, while Israel wants Abu Mazen to close down Palestinian militant groups.

Settlements hampering peace plan, US told - Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Mr Abbas told reporters the Bush Administration should tell Israel "it is key" that all Palestinian prisoners be released from Israeli jails. At the same time, the Palestinian security chief, Mohammed Dahlan, held an unannounced meeting with Mr Bush's National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice.

Abbas is pressing for DC aid - Boston Globe
Israel's foreign affairs minister, Silvan Shalom, who met with Powell before Abbas's visit, said earlier prisoner releases were designed ''in order to strengthen Abu Mazen.'' But several analysts said the Israelis were making it more difficult in several ways for the new Palestinian leader. They noted that about 5,000 Palestinians are being held without charges; settlement activity hasn't stopped; and an Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem, said the first stage of Israel's separation barriers ''will infringe on the human rights of more than 210,000 Palestinians,'' blocking movement, cutting off villages, and dividing farmland.

Bush meets with Abbas, criticizes Israel's fence, settlements - USA Today/AP
Bush's vision of a Palestinian state by 2005 "cannot be realized if Israel continues to grab Palestinian land," Abbas said.

Arafat scheming to upstage Abbas Visit with Bush - Op/Ed by Uri Dan- NY Post
But according to aides of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news - web sites), who has his own date at the White House on Tuesday, the importance of today's visit is Abbas must hear from Bush that it is time to move against the Palestinian terrorist organizations.

Bush to open White House to Abbas - Sify, India
Israel, which has handed over security control of Bethlehem and much of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians since late June, has been reluctant to execute further withdrawals until Palestinian authorities take on groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Keeping Caesar’s favour - Op/Ed - Daily Times, Pakistan
From the day Abu Mazen was appointed Palestinian prime minister, Sharon’s sole aim has been to topple him from his rickety chair as quickly and as forcefully as possible. It started with statements from Sharon and his henchmen that made Abu Mazen look like an Israeli stooge, a sub-contractor for Israeli security. It is continuing by denying him any political achievement at all, making him look like a “featherless chicken”, as Sharon has called him.

Abbas tells US Israel hinders Mideast peace plan - Japan Today
Sen Joseph R Biden Jr of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters afterward he was impressed with Abbas' "sense of determination and optimism."