Photo: Gil Yohanan
Rice and Livni. 'The Women's Channel'
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Rice. Wants to leave a personal legacy
Photo: Reuters

Rice: There are new options for peace

US secretary of state leaves for Israel in bid to try and advance her vision of peace in region. US newspapers report Rice, Livni hope to work together to reach agreement while skipping over first stage of road map – dismantling PA terrorist infrastructure

WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who left Washington Friday night on her way to Israel, expressed cautious optimism over the situation in the Middle East.


Before her departure, Rice told the reporters accompanying her that there were "new options" for peace in the Middle East following the second Lebanon war and the stance of the moderate Arab states against the extreme Iran and Syria.


According to estimations, during her visit to Israel Rice will attempt to advance the Saudi plan for peace in the Middle East.


Rice stated that all the countries interested in the establishment of a Palestinian state must reach an agreement on the way to do it. She added that the United States was committed to be fully involved, but that it cannot succeed its own.


We also need the Arab voice, the Egyptian, Jordanian and Saudi, as well as the involvement of the rational elements among the Palestinians, like PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Rice said in an interview with the BBC.


She added that she wanted to look into the possibility of advancing the road map, and perhaps even accelerating the process to its end and examining what could be done in order to establish a Palestinian state.


Rice noted in the interview that she was dedicating a lot of time into reading about the issue and trying to understand what went wrong in the past. There were many failed attempts on the Palestinian-Israeli front and this time I want to advance in a way that will succeed, she said.


Rice views Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's speech in the Negev and his meeting with Abbas as appropriate steps in advancing peace, and see Hamas as the main obstacle standing in their way.


How can a process be advanced with one side not recognizing the other side's right to exist, she asked, clarifying that she would discuss with Abbas the possibility of moving up the elections in the Palestinian Authority.


Personal effort to achieve a breakthrough

Time Magazine wrote in its last edition that up until now, Rice has not spearheaded any ambitious new diplomatic initiatives in the manner of her predecessors, but that a Palestinian-Israeli peace could transform her legacy.


According to reports, Rice has told friends in Washington that she sees her latest trip to the region as the beginning of a prolonged, personal effort to achieve a breakthrough.


According to the article, titled 'The Women's Channel,' Rice and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have joined forces to advance a new strategy for peace. According to the report, the two women discussed their new approach in Washington in early December, and since then they have had frequent phone conversations.


The US stance today requires the Palestinian to dismantle their terrorist infrastructure as a condition for any new phase of negotiations. Time reports that Rice will not focus her efforts on an attempt to skip over the first stage ahead of a permanent agreement with the moderate Palestinians.


According to the plan, if a suitable framework for a Palestinian state is reached, Abbas would then go to his people with a referendum: Do you want it or not? He is convinced that more than 70 percent would vote yes, thus marginalizing the Hamas resisters. Olmert would do the same, and probably get close to the same support.


Time reports that the outlines of a two-state framework include a variety of land swaps that would allow Israel to keep some of its major settlements blocs.


The issue of Jerusalem and the rights of refugees could be compromised along the lines almost agreed to in 2000, with an international fund providing incentives for Palestinian refugees to return to the new Palestinian state.


פרסום ראשון: 01.13.07, 08:34
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