In an interview to Haaretz, the Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser Al-Kidweh warned U.S. President George W. Bush that not resolving the Palestinian problem would endanger his plans in the Middle East.
Al Kidweh told Haaretz, if Bush does not find a way to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, "He can say goodbye to the American agenda in the Middle East ? democratization in the region and security in Iraq."
Al-Kidweh’s statements come ahead of a historic visit the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House.
He gave an important focus on the need of a more active American Political involvement in the Middle East saying that Bush is a strong president who can deepen U.S. involvement in the peace process, and can press Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to carry out his obligations on freezing settlement expansion and dismantling outposts.
Al-Kidweh, a nephew of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, described the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza as "war crime," and warned that the ongoing expansion of the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement in order to create territorial contiguity with Jerusalem would kill the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace.
He insisted that full Palestinian sovereignty over the land is what constitutes independence. An Israeli withdrawal from Gaza without handing over control of international crossings to the Palestinians would not be considered by the Palestinians as an end to the occupation in the Strip.
The occupation ends only when Israel quits the West Bank and the Gaza strip, Al Kidweh said, therefore, as long as Israel controls the West Bank, the pullout from Gaza should not be viewed as an end to the occupation.
The Foreign Minister slammed comments made by the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in which he said he is not ready to hold negotiations on Jerusalem. He described these comments "ridiculous" and said it is an insult to Islam and Christianity.