Bush to urge Israeli withdrawals

Oct. 23, 2001 at 3:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The White House said Tuesday that President Bush is expected to urge Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territories when he drops by a meeting between Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice later in the day.

The president is also expected to extend condolences to Peres over the death of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavem Zeevi, who was killed last week by Palestinian gunmen.

Secretary of State Colin Powell also has a meeting scheduled with Peres Tuesday. On Monday the State Department said that it had been made "quite clear" to Israel that it must act to restore calm.

"Israeli incursions into Palestinian-controlled areas have contributed to a significant escalation and tension and violence, as I noted earlier," said Deputy State Department spokesman Philip Reeker during a Monday briefing with reporters. "The government of Israel has told us that it does not intend to remain in those areas. Israeli defense forces should be withdrawn immediately from all Palestinian-controlled areas and no further such incursions should be made."

President Bush has said he would support a Palestinian state once a peace agreement had been forged between Israel and the Palestinians.

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