Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to cancel his meeting with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and said that he will not meet with him before he “acts against terrorism”.
Sharon’s office reported, on Thursday afternoon, that Sharon made this decision after the Hadera suicide bombing which took place on Wednesday afternoon. Five Israelis, including an Arab resident of Israel, were killed and 30 others were injured.
“There will be no progress in the peace process as long as the Palestinian Authority fails to acts against terrorism”, a statement released by Sharon’s office reads.
“The Palestinians will lose their national dreams and aspirations if these acts continue”, Sharon’s office reported, “I will not meet with Abbas under such conditions, and thus the Palestinians will lose all their national dreams”.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian News Agency WAFA, reported that the US secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, phoned Abbas, and discussed the means to put the peace process back on track, and the latest cycle of violence in the area.
Rice urged Abbas to act against the armed factions and stop their activities.
Earlier on Thursday, Sharon said during his meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, that the Palestinian Authority is not conducting serious efforts to counter “terrorism”.
Lavrov said that he met with Abbas earlier on Thursday, and that the later asked him to pass his condemnation of the suicide bombing to Sharon.
Lavrov also said that Abbas is serious in his intentions to take action, but he is still waiting for the Palestinian forces to become stronger, adding that international support for Abbas is needed.
Sharon and his defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, decided to launch a comprehensive operation in the occupied territories, mainly against the Islamic Jihad which claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Several Palestinians were arrested on Thursday, including the 50-yeard-old father of the bomber.
Earlier on Thursday morning, Israeli Air force shelled several areas in the Gaza Strip; the army claims that the shelled locations were used by the resistance to fire homemade shells against Israeli sites.