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Three in a Bed

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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-17-05 03:08 AM
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Three in a Bed
Uri Avnery

"The President of the United States and the President of the Palestinian Authority!" intoned the voice, as the two leaders appeared before the journalists during the recent visit of Mahmud Abbas to the White House.

George Bush also addressed his visitor as "President Abbas", and not accidentally. The use of this appellation was a deliberate choice.

At the office of Prime Minister Sharon, there was much gnashing of teeth. Almost all the Israeli media passed it over in silence. But it may well be that of the fruits harvested by Mahmud Abbas ("Abu-Mazen") in Washington DC, this one was the most important.

In order to understand that, one has to go back. During the negotiations which led to the 1993 Oslo agreement, there was much controversy about the title appropriate for Yasser Arafat. The Palestinians demanded that he be called "President", the Israelis agreed only to refer to him as "Chairman".

Why? Well, "president" sounds like a head of state. States have presidents. Ordinary institutions normally have chairpersons. The Israeli negotiators did not agree at all that the Palestinian Authority, which was set up by the agreement, should have the attributes of a state. /

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