Israel’s Meretz’s Leader to Meet Arafat Sunday
Head of the Israeli Meretz party leader, Yossi Sarid, will meet with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in Ramallah on Sunday, Israel Radio reported.
Sarid said that the purpose of the meeting will be to determine the quickest way of returning to the negotiating table and halting the violence, Haaretz cited him as saying on Saturday.
Several Israeli MKs have met recently with the Palestinian President in a bid to put a halt to the escalating situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has repeatedly stated that negotiations with the Palestinians will not resume until violence completely ends.
On Thursday, former Israeli justice minister Yossi Beilin called for renewed talks with the Palestinians to achieve peace as he met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa in Cairo.
"These meetings are part of the contacts we have become used to holding in our interest and conviction on the need to achieve peace," Beilin was quoted by AFP as telling reporters after the meeting.
He said he discussed with Moussa proposals by Egypt and Jordan, the only two countries to have signed peace treaties with Israel, to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks and end close to seven months of deadly violence.
"Egypt is still waiting for a response by the Israelis and Palestinians," said Beilin, adding that the proposals "contribute to consolidating peace and are a good base for negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis."
The plan consists of confidence-building measures aimed at ending the violence, including a resumption of security cooperation, a third Israeli troop withdrawal from the West Bank and a renewal of talks for a final status agreement.
The Palestinian Authority has voiced its support for the document but, according to Israeli media, Sharon has rejected it as an attempt to force Israel to negotiate under fire.
Mussa said earlier Thursday that if Israel does not change policies, the situation in the Middle East could become "uncontrollable."
Meanwhile, the Saudi Al Watan newspaper said that the majority of the EU countries support the initiative, quoting an EU official.
The paper also quoted Jordan's Information Minister Taleb Rifai' as saying his country is waiting for the Israeli reply.
Israel has repeatedly said that it won't negotiate with the Palestinians until they end "violence." - Albawaba.com
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