U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday in Washington that the American administration was disappointed by the rate at which settlers’ unauthorized outposts had been removed, demanding Israel to fulfill its promises.
Following a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Powel told reporters, ‘We have some disappointment in the rate at which outposts had been removed.’
Shalom commented by saying that the number of unauthorized outposts was reduced to 28and that Israel is working with the U.S. to fulfill its commitments.
Israeli movement Peace Now, which runs a settlement watch program, reported that more than 100 of such outposts exist in the West bank.
Palestinian sources expressed surprise into how the number was scaled down to 28 even when only a handful of them were removed, and some the one’s removed were even re-built by settlers.
Media sources reported that Shalom told Powell in their Washington meeting on Tuesday that 12 of the 28 were in the process of being removed and that Israel was waiting for a decision from its Supreme Court on the 16 other outposts.
The same sources reported that Shalom presented Powell with a list of demands, including:
To use its influence to convince PA donors to condition their financial support with the cessation of Qassam rocket attacks against Israel, and with the political reform of the PA.
To make every effort to ensure that the United Nation does not pass a resolution concerning Sharon’s disengagement plan.
Shalom also told Powell that Israel opposes an Egyptian proposal for a Palestinian cease-fire declaration in September and that Israel fully supports transferring the powers of the Palestinian interior minister to Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia.
Egypt is working to insure a cease-fire agreement prior to dispatching any of its security advisors in the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s rejection of the cease-fire is expected to hinder Egyptian efforts, which is fully endorsed by the quartet and the international community.
Powell expressed confidence in Israeli Prime minister Ariel Sharon’s ability to carry out his disengagement plan, despite the political obstacles in his path.