Arafat calls for summit to discuss Mitchell report
A committee led by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell delivered its report to Israeli and Palestinian leaders Friday. Both sides have until May 15 to respond to its findings.
The written responses will be incorporated into the report, which will be sent to President Bush. The U.S. president, in consultation with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, could formally release it later this month.
Arafat on Saturday proposed holding a summit at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where both sides established the Mitchell Committee -- charged with investigating causes and possible solutions to the current Mideast conflict -- during an October conference.
Sources say Mitchell's report finds fault with both sides for months of bloody clashes and offers recommendations for preventing flare-ups.
"It is a balanced report," one U.S. official said. "There is plenty for both sides to be upset with."
Sources say the report addresses Ariel Sharon's visit to a holy site sacred to both Muslims and Jews -- called Temple Mount by Israelis and Haram al-Sharif by Palestinians -- which occurred just before the violence erupted on September 28, 2000.
The report says the visit by Sharon, who now is Israel's prime minister, was not a direct cause of the conflict but must be seen in the context of Palestinian dismay with the lack of progress in the peace process, sources say.
The sources say the document makes no specific recommendations as to what steps should be taken to end the violence but said any security cooperation should take place in a wider political context.
According to one source, the report provides the dots which, if linked, might serve as the beginning of a formal solution. It makes clear the violence itself is a product of the failure of negotiation and therefore cannot be ended unless ways are found to restart the negotiation process.
Source: Mideast report offers 'plenty' to upset both sides
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