AUGUST 2, 2003
“POINTERS for Sharon” (editorial, July 29) points in the wrong direction. To say that if Ariel Sharon takes the “measures” of releasing more prisoners, suspending work on a security fence, taking down more checkpoints, and freezing settlements, then “Palestinian action should be to disarm militant groups” disregards completely the basic imperatives of the peace endeavor the Globe has repeatedly praised.
The road map calls in Phase I for the Palestinian Authority to “immediately underatake an undonditional cessation of violence,” to “arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks” and to begin “dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure,” which includes “confiscation of illegal weapons.”
Nowhere are prisoners, a security fence, or checkpoints mentioned in the road map. Nor, clearly, is movement on these issues cited as a precondition to Palestinian action to cease violence, rein in terrorists, and confiscate illegal arms. Only a settlement freeze is cited as a requirement of Israel — and that is to occur simultaneous with, not prior to, decisive Palestinian Authority action.
Regarding prisoner release, President Bush noted in a press conference on July 25 the counterproductive potential of setting loose violent individuals: “Surely nobody wants to let a cold-blooded killer out of prison — that would help derail the process.”
COMMITTEE FOR ACCURACY
IN MIDDLE EAST REPORTING