Geneva architects to meet Wolfowitz

The co-authors of a symbolic Palestinian-Israeli peace accord are scheduled to meet US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in Washington, a move likely to deepen a spat between the United States and its ally Israel.

    Abd Rabbu (L) and Beilin say their plan will help advance the 'road map'

    Uri Zaki, a spokesman for former Israeli justice minister Yossi Beilin, one of the pact's authors, confirmed on Wednesday the scheduled meetings to include Beilin and former Palestinian information minister Yasir Abd Rabbu.

    The meeting with Wolfowitz, one of Bush administration's  staunchest advocates of Israel, would likely raise tensions between Washington and Israel's right-wing government, already angry over a meeting planned for the same day between the co-authors and US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    Israel has rebuked Washington for the Powell meeting, but the prime minister's office declined immediate comment on the session with Wolfowitz.

    While Washington has supported Powell’s scheduled meeting with the Geneva initiators, US officials stressed their “road map” was the preferred solution to ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.


    On Monday Abd Rabbu and Beilin unveiled the so-called Geneva Initiative in a glitzy ceremony in Switzerland, attended by intellectuals, former Nobel peace prize winners and world leaders.

    Palestinians across region have
    denounced the Geneva plan

    The Palestinian Authority has given the unofficial plan only half-hearted support, while Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government has  opposed it outright. 

    Abd Rabbu and Beilin defended the plan on Wednesday as a workable solution to "untouchable" issues that was intended to advance, not undermine, the "road map". 

    Hailed by dozens of former world leaders as a brave peace initiative, the Geneva deal would require Israel to pullout out of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and share sovereignty over Jerusalem.

    The deal also effectively gives up the right of return for some 3.8 million Palestinian refugees, allowing Israel to decide how many may return to their homes and villages.

    Under UN resolution 194, Palestinian refugees uprooted from their homes and land when Israel was created in 1948 can return.

    Palestinian factions, including the main resistance group Hamas, have denounced the deal as a capitulation of Palestinian rights.

    Aljazeera criticised

    Meanwhile, Abd Rabbu criticised what he described as Aljazeera's "exaggerated" reporting.

    "Why does Aljazeera consider the existence of opposition sides in Palestine exceptional?" he said, referring to the coverage of the Geneva talks.

    "If some opposition sides do not prefer to hold inter-talks, that does mean they are extremists," he added.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    Life after death row: The pastor praying for Nigeria's prisoners

    The Nigerian pastor adapting to life after death row

    Clinton Kanu spent 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, but life on the outside feels far from free.

    What it means to love a dead child

    What it means to love a dead child

    You must forget all you thought you knew about grief when the landscape of your life has been demolished.

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    Kenya banned FGM in 2011, but Europeans still bring their daughters to underground clinics there to be cut.