PLO says Israel failing to deal 'seriously' with withdrawal coordination
Published June 14th 2005 in Palestinian News Agency
President Mahmud Abbas chaired a PLO Executive Committee meeting at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah in the West Bank today. President Abbas reviewed the outcome of his visit to Washington at the end of last month and the important talks he held with US President George Bush and senior US officials.

The PLO Executive Committee valued President Bush's stands, particularly his statements calling for a complete and comprehensive halt to settlement activities in all parts of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. The PLO Executive Committee also welcomed President Bush's stand that any changes to the 1949 armistice line should take place only with the agreement of the two sides, his call on Israel to immediately withdraw to the pre-28 September 2000 positions and his non-acceptance of the course of the racist separation wall that Israel is building deep in the Palestinian territories for the purpose of expansion, annexation and attainment of Israel's objectives which were decided unilaterally.

The PLO Executive Committee valued the US understanding of the Palestinian stand for one cannot dissociate democracy from freedom, stressing at the same time the importance of pursuing joint action with the US Administration to turn the US stands into tangible actions, complete the full withdrawal from the Gaza Strip without any exceptions, link this withdrawal to that from the West Bank through the safe passage and immediately initiate final status negotiations simultaneously with this first step in the Gaza Strip.

The PLO Executive Committee voiced anxiety over the manoeuvres by the Israeli side, which rejects dealing seriously with the core issues that have to do with the withdrawal from Gaza and does not offer the needed answers to security, political, economic and other issues which would ensure this withdrawal is tantamount to a genuine termination of the occupation in accordance with international law.

The PLO Executive Committee called on the Israeli government to respond seriously to the Palestinian call for coordination and cooperation on all levels to complete the full withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and secure its linkage with the withdrawal from the West Bank.

The PLO Executive Committee also called on the US Administration and all the relevant international quarters, whether Mr James Wolfensen, who is the coordinator of the Quartet [comprising the US, EU, Russia and UN] for the Gaza withdrawal, the European Union and the other members of the Quartet to carry out an effective role to turn this step into the beginning of a comprehensive solution and not into a step that will place the political process in a new dilemma.

The PLO Executive Committee welcomed the trend towards adopting the 50-50 solution for constituencies and proportional representation on the national level in order to formulate an elections law after which national accord can be reached on the date of the forthcoming elections through dialogue with all the relevant parties.

The PLO Executive Committee also welcomed President Abbas's proposal to elect a vice-president for the [Palestinian] National Authority, calling for completing discussion and consultations on this proposal and having the appropriate legal frameworks within the [Palestinian] Legislative Council study it.

The PLO Executive Committee said it appreciates the Palestinian national forces and factions' compliance with the cease-fire and the period of calm in spite of the Israeli provocations and crimes seeking to force the Palestinian side to react, thus allowing Israel to restore tension and evade domestic and international pressure to halt the Israeli violations, particularly the racist separation wall, settlement activities and the ongoing siege that is clamped on Palestinian cities and areas.

The PLO Executive Committee called on all the relevant Palestinian and international organizations and the forces of peace in Israel to bolster their joint cooperation and action to expose the falsehoods of the Israeli government, particularly the false claim of having eased the siege and removed some of the barriers, and show that it continues to build the wall of racist segregation and expansion and expand the settlements in all parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem in spite of the international calls, the most recent being the US president's call to end this policy which undermines the chances of attaining a solution based on two states and increases the chances of the eruption of the conflict and its expansion.