PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath Still "Hopeful" about Peace Agreement
Pasquini, Elaine, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
The breakdown in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations is "not the end of a dream," Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath told an audience of 200 at San Francisco's Sir Francis Drake Hotel. The current situation for the Palestinians, however, is "untenable and it can't go on," he stressed. Speaking Oct. 17 at a program cosponsored by the World Affairs Council of Northern California and the Arab Cultural and Community Center, Sha'ath reiterated the Palestinian Authority's commitment to peace, explaining, "A Middle East in peace and security is what we want." Even though there are forces on both sides trying to disrupt the peace process, he warned, "The leaders should not lose sight of the goal. Peace is not impossible, but there is no other way than to return to the negotiating table to end the occupation and make peace for each side."
The foreign minister lamented the breakdown of the U.S.-backed road map-a process he said he valued despite many deficiencies, because it combined a time plan with a performance evaluation. According to the document, he explained, monitors on the ground would judge both sides' performance and submit the results to the foreign ministers of the Quartet endorsers-Russia, the U.S., EU and U.N. If the monitoring capacity is not active and enlarged, Sha'ath argued, sending a U.S.- led peacekeeping force is the only remedy to stop the killing of Palestinian civilians. More than 2,640 Palestinians-including 480 children-have been killed and at least 40,000 Palestinians injured by the Israeli military over the last three years. "Why not troops?" he asked. "There are 52 stations in the world that have peacekeepers and have ended bloody confrontation."
Ambassador Jazairy Gives Algerian View on Terrorism
Algerian Ambassador Idriss Jazairy spoke on the subject of terrorism to San Francisco's World Affairs Council Oct. 20. The program was co-sponsored by the Algerian-American Association of Northern California.
Jazairy began by reviewing terrorism in Algeria between 1964 and 1990. Explaining the army's intervention after the Islamic Salvation Foundation (FIS) was leading in the 1991 parliamentary elections, Jazairy charged that "The FIS indulged in the systematic falsification of the electoral registers." Major street demonstrations erupted, the president resigned, and the army intervened "because the republican system was imperiled," he maintained. The FIS, he told the audience, had entered the race with the slogan: "An Islamic state whether by ballots or bullets."
The ambassador recounted his country's efforts to combat terrorism locally and internationally, particularly Algeria's role in creating the Arab and African Conventions Against Terrorism in 1998. "We believed-and were proved right-that local and international manifestations of terrorism are closely interrelated," he said.
Jazairy criticized the international community for not offering "sympathy or support for [Algeria's] fight against terrorism" in the 1990s. "If there had been a greater international response to the rise of terrorism in Algeria in the 1990s," he argued, "the African Embassy bombings and 9/11 would not have happened."
Commenting on the definition of terrorism, Jazairy stated: "Until the Israeli-Palestinian war is ended and Iraq regains sovereignty, it is unlikely the major powers will reach an agreement on what is 'terrorism' and what is 'freedom fighting.'"
Asked his opinion on U.S. relations with Libya, the ambassador replied that the U.S. should end its boycott of Libya, as the United Nations has done, and offered his country's assistance in helping establish a relationship between Washington and Tripoli. "It would be in the United States' economic interest to have a zone of peace and stability in North Africa," he added.
San Francisco Anti-War Protest
More than 10,000 anti-war protesters marched from Civic Center Plaza to a rally in Jefferson Square Park on Oct. …