Cheney visit to Israel focuses on Iranian threat
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US Vice President Dick Cheney with former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem (whitehouse.gov) Israeli officials were not very forthcoming about the topics of discussions held with US Vice President Dick Cheney during his two-day stopover in Israel over the weekend, though one official in Jerusalem confirmed that the focus was on how to deal with the growing Iranian nuclear threat.

On an extended swing through the Middle East, Cheney did comment publicly about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Standing alongside Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas at a press conference in Ramallah, Cheney assured that the US is “strongly committed” to help bring forth a Palestinian state that is “long overdue” – a mantra of senior Bush Administration officials of late.

But Cheney also warned that acts of terror are not only killing the innocent, but “they also kill the legitimate hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people.” Cheney charged that Hamas “is supported by Iran and Syria and that they’re doing everything they can to torpedo the process.”

Creating a Palestinian state “requires tremendous efforts at the negotiating table and painful concessions on both sides. It will also require a determination to defeat those who are committed to violence and who refuse to accept the basic right of the other side to exist,” insisted Cheney.

Palestinian Authority officials seemed less than satisfied with the Cheney visit, expressing a particular frustration with the lack of American pressure on Israel to freeze settlement construction.

“Unless the Americans employ heavy pressure on the Israelis, there is no chance of fulfilling [US President George W.] Bush’s vision of reaching a two-state solution by the end of the year,” said one PA official. “But today we got the impression that the Bush Administration has no intention to put enough pressure on Israel.”

“He didn’t bring anything new… We don’t want statements; we want deeds. Bush is deluding himself if he thinks that a peace agreement could be achieved by the end of 2008,” the PA official continued, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Original article: ICEJ News
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