We begin in the Middle East, where there’s a new so-called roadmap to peace. The United States and its partners in the Middle East quartet released the roadmap. The group, made up of the U.S., the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia put the plan out after the new Palestinian prime Minister and his new cabinet were sworn in wednesday. Amy Katz has details.
Representatives of the Quartet delivered the road map to new Palestinian Prime Minster Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, at his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
Earlier, security was tight when U-S Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer’s convoy drove to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Jerusalem residence to deliver the peace plan to him.
Dr. Judith Kipper, a Middle East analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, says there is no provision in the “roadmap” that permits changes to the document.
JUDITH KIPPER, MIDDLE EAST ANALYST
“What is absolutely crucial is that the United States, along with its partners, stay on the ground, have a team, use ‘tough love’, are consistent, and continuous until it gets implemented.”
The peace plan, which envisions the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005, includes a freeze on Israeli settlements on the West Bank and Gaza strip and calls for an end to Palestinian attacks against Israelis. There was just such an attack only hours before the road map was released. In the early hours of Wednesday morning a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing three Israelis, outside a Tel Aviv nightspot. Dozens of others were wounded in the bombing.
The attack came just hours after the Palestinian parliament approved the new Prime Minister and his cabinet, a condition for the release of the “roadmap.”
Two militant groups, Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, claimed responsibility for the bombing. The roadmap also requires both the Israelis and Palestinians to issue statements affirming each other’s right to live in peace and security.