|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Barak outlines path to peace
Violence spreads to east Jerusalem
CNN Correspondent Jerrold Kessel contributed to this report.
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, speaking at a high-profile session of the Israeli parliament Monday, held out the possibility of peace if Palestinians would stop their demonstrations. He also said he would be willing to return to the United States for more peace talks if necessary.
Barak's peace proposal came after another day of killings in a month of Israeli-Palestinian clashes that have left at least 161 people dead, 136 Palestinians, 13 Israeli Arabs and 12 Israelis, according to the Red Cross.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said he was "disappointed" by Barak's speech and blamed Israel for the continued violence.
"We had hoped Mr. Barak would really address the real issue," Erakat told CNN. "The real issue here is ending the Israeli occupation, ending the situation of abnormality and bringing both Palestinians and Israelis toward the shores of peace."
Barak told the Knesset that Israel currently did not have a peace partner in the Palestinians and that the window to peace was closing.
"Let the Palestinians know that we were ready to allow for the realization of some of their dreams even at a heart-rending price," Barak said. "But let the Palestinians realize we too have dreams. We too have national interests that we cannot compromise -- the security of Israel, unity of Israel and our sacred values."
A two-hour meeting with Likud opposition party leader Ariel Sharon on Sunday failed to result in an emergency coalition government that might have strengthened Barak's shaky hold on power.
Talks broke down after Barak refused to allow Sharon veto power over any future Palestinian peace agreement.
Barak's 'safety net'
But Barak was helped Sunday when the ultra-Orthodox Shas party promised to aid Barak for at least a month in warding off a no-confidence vote in the parliament, or Knesset. Shas called the offer a "safety net."
Following Barak, on Monday, Sharon delivered an address of his own.
"In my talks with the prime minister I discovered that he's not prepared to abandon the Camp David ideas, and I cannot be a partner to such a policy," Sharon told the Knesset. "Just imagine and think how much graver our situation would be if the old city of Jerusalem were for the most part handed over to the Palestinians according to the Camp David ideas."
The Jerusalem question
The status of Jerusalem under a final Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement was one of the most contentious issues during July's failed U.S.-brokered peace talks at Camp David, Maryland. Both sides claim Jerusalem as their traditional capital.
"If violence is reduced, and the fact-finding American-led committee goes to work," Barak told CNN immediately following his address, "we are ready to go (to the United States) and help put an end to violence."
Israel supports a proposed U.S.-led commission of inquiry into the Israeli-Palestinian violence, which began September 28 after Sharon visited an east Jerusalem shrine holy to both Muslims and Jews.
Palestinians reject the idea of the commission being led by the United States and favor a United Nations-led commission instead.
Israeli security guard killed
Israeli-Palestinian violence spread to east Jerusalem on Monday, when an Israeli security guard was shot and killed and another was critically injured at a national social security office. Israeli police said they believed Palestinians committed the attack.
"These events are not helping to put an end to violence," Barak said.
In other violence in the region reported on Monday, the body of an Israeli man who was stabbed to death near the West Bank town of Beit Jala was turned over to Israeli authorities.
In Gaza, five Palestinians and an Israeli officer were hurt when, Israel said, Palestinians attacked a military patrol.
More violence was expected following funerals for seven Palestinians who died of their wounds or were killed on Sunday.
Israel to use 'counter-guerrilla' troops
Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh revealed Monday a new Israeli military policy to unleash troops specially trained in guerrilla warfare.
"Since we face a guerrilla warfare, we have to take measures which are counter-guerrilla," Sneh told CNN. "This is one of the relative advantages of the Israeli Defense Forces and we are going to exercise them, to use them on the ground."
Palestinian negotiator says violence will stop if Israel withdraws troops
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.