Powell Rejects Qurei’s ‘Bi-National’ Threat
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
"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."