US urges crackdown on Islamic Jihad

The White House has urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to crack down on Palestinian resistance movement Islamic Jihad in the wake of the bombing in Hadera, Israel, last week.

    Abbas has been urged to act "forcefully" against the group

    "Palestinian President Abbas earned the trust of his people when he was elected on a platform of peace this past January. Now the Palestinian Authority must make good on that promise by fighting terrorism," White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley told a pro-Israeli group on Monday.


    "We have made it very clear to him, especially in the wake of the vicious attack in Hadera, that he should begin by acting promptly and forcefully against Palestinian Islamic Jihad," Hadley said in prepared remarks for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee National Summit 2005 in Los Angeles.


    A bomber blew himself up in a crowded market in Hadera on Wednesday, in the first such attack since Israel's pullout from Gaza last month.


    In the speech released by the White House, Hadley emphasised that spreading democracy in the Middle East would make Israel more secure.


    Iraq democracy


    "If freedom prevails in Iraq, others in the region, including Syria and Iran, will be under greater pressure to open up their repressive political systems," Hadley said.


    "For Israel should not be condemned, in the name of stability, to live in a region where despots threaten to 'wipe them off the map,'" he said, referring to comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on Monday that the Palestinian Authority must "wage a real war on terror" before peace talks can resume.


    The Palestinians say Israel must do more to freeze expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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