Powell Rejects Qurei’s ‘Bi-National’ Threat

Responding to Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei’s suggestion that the Palestinians could seek a bi-national state with Israel instead of an independent state, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States remained committed to a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. When asked at a press conference if he thought the idea of a bi-national state was viable, Powell remarked: "No, we’re committed to a two-state solution; that’s the only solution that will work; a state for the Palestinian people called Palestine, and a Jewish state, the State of Israel, which exists."

Qurei called Prime Minister Sharon’s threat to unilaterally determine Israel’s borders, should peace negotiations fail, an "apartheid solution." However, Powell said he believed Sharon’s plan would not come to fruition if the Palestinians presented a reliable negotiating partner. "Mr. Sharon begins all of his discussions by saying he would like to see a solution," Powell said. "He is looking for a reliable partner he can work with. what we are trying to do is get that reliable partner to stand up and start acting."

"I don’t believe that we can accept a situation that results in anything one might characterize as apartheid or bantuism," Powell added. "What we need right now is for the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority to get control of security forces and to use those forces and use the other tools available to him to put down terror and to put down violence. And if that happens and we see that kind of commitment, then I’m confident that we can move forward on the road map."