Sharon reiterates intention to take unilateral steps as top Israeli military official says chances for truce ''slim''
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, speaking before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, reiterated Tuesday that he would take unilateral steps only when it becomes clear that the Palestinian Authority is not fighting "terror," Israel Radio reported.
Sharon emphasized that the U.S.-backed road map is the main diplomatic plan, but added that due to difficulties in its implementation, he was working to prepare an alternative plan that would be activated if it is proven that the Palestinians are not fighting "terror."
Also Tuesday, a top Israeli intelligence official told the Parliament's Security and Foreign Affairs committee that according to the Israeli army's intelligence assessments, the chances of reaching a truce are slim.
When asked by one of the committee members whether the truce has totally collapsed, the senior official replied, "There are still contacts, but as it appears, at this point, the chances are slim".
"The path to real progress in the solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict lays in by-passing the Road Map plan", former Mossad chief Efraim HaLevi said Tuesday during a conference he attended.
According to HaLevi, "In order to advance regional dialogue, Israel must initiate measures such as withdrawing from unmanned outposts and pulling out of the Gaza Strip".
Moreover, the former Mossad head said Israel ought to enable the Palestinians a freer entrance to Israel and to "place them before a real test." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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