Below is the text of an official State Department Press Statement . Incredible, isn't it?
U.S. Department of State, Office of the Spokesman, Press Statement
We told you it was incredible.
Press Statement by James P. Rubin, Spokesman,March 17, 2000
Resumption of the Permanent Status Negotiations
On Tuesday, March 21, Palestinian and Israeli negotiators will resume permanent status negotiations at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, DC. The primary focus of the negotiations will be to reach a framework agreement as soon as possible so that all permanent status issues can be resolved by September 13, 2000. The negotiations will also address interim issues, including the third phase of further redeployments. The talks are being held under U.S. auspices. The U.S. will be working with both sides to facilitate progress. Indeed, the U.S. has long believed that the Palestinian issue represents the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict. A solution that meets the needs of both Israelis and Palestinians is essential if there is to be a comprehensive peace.
"The Palestinian issue represents the core of the conflict?"
Silly us. We thought the core issue was Arab rejection of the establishment of the State of Israel -- beginning well before 1948 and only partially overcome today. A nearly forgotten article of UN Resolution 242 requires of the Arabs, "termination of all claims and states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."
The Palestinians were not recognized as a "State in the area" by Resolution 242, but if they aspire to that status, it is incumbent upon their leadership to assume the same obligations toward Israel that every Arab country has. And since obligations are generally honored in the breech, an appropriate role for the United States would be to insist that the Arab states, and the Palestinian leadership, change both their behavior and their propaganda as a prerequisite to changes to the borders of Israel.
(JINSA March 20)
Source: Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)