Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Israeli/Palestinian happenings 

Ariel Sharon really seems serious about his plan to vacate all Israeli settlements in the Gaza strip. Opinion polls support the idea, and even Palestinian PM Ahmed Qurei calls the plan "good news."

Sharon has pledged to form a new government if the pro-settler elements of his governing coalition try to block the removal of settlements. Good for him.

Then there is a story about Sharon considering a territorial swap with the Palestinians--Arab Israeli towns for Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Qurei likes this idea too. Will wonders never cease? Sharon is opposed by the pro-settler movement on this plan as well, which tells me he's doing something right.

The swap would only take place under a final peace agreement, and that's a long, long way off. But putting this kind of idea on the table is a step forward.

In related news, Syria once again says it is ready to resume talks with Israel. But... the two countries can't agree on where to start.

Syria has reiterated that it is ready to resume peace talks with Israel, but it has dismissed Israel's call to begin them again from scratch.

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Sharaa told the BBC that peace talks were a cumulative process and that to start every round from the beginning would lead to a vicious circle.

Syria says it wants to restart talks from where they broke off four years ago.
Plus ├ža change...
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