Palestinians Expect New US "Less Biased": Spokesman

A Palestinian official accused the outgoing US administration of being an "unfair" mediator in the Middle East peace process, hoping that President-elect George W. Bush's new government would be "less biased."

Palestinian Presidential spokesman Marwan Kanafani said this in an interview by phone with the Cairo-based Voice of Arab from Gaza Strip, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported Sunday.

On U.S. President Bill Clinton's compromise peace proposals for a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement, the spokesman said "the Palestinians did not turn down the U.S. peace proposals categorically but only made some reservations on them."

Kanafani said that Saturday night's meeting between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Shimon Peres was held "out of Palestinian keenness" to clarify the Palestinian stance towards the U.S. plan.

It showed that the Palestinian side "is keen on putting the peace process back on track," he added.

The US plan would give the Palestinians sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods and the al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem, but deny the Palestinian refugees' right of return.

Israel has accepted the proposals in principle while the Palestinians considered them "full of ambiguities" and were seeking clarifications from Clinton.

Kanafani stressed that Israel must comply with the U.N. Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, which call for Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories, especially East Jerusalem, and guarantee the Palestinian refugees' right of return to their homeland.

People's Daily Online ---