Words are cheap, especially in this case; it's actions that count. Most of Kofi Annan's actions have linked him as a branch of the American State Department; his occasional speeches otherwise are hardly the true test of what Annan is all about and why Boutros Ghali was pushed overboard by the Americans in order to install Annan in the first place.
Annan calls Israel an expropriator of Arab land, says it must give up "nearly all of the territory" for peace
50 minutes ago
By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer
WASHINGTON - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites) denounced Israel as an expropriator of Arab land and said it must give up "nearly all of the territory" for peace with the Arabs.
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Annan, in a speech at the University of Maryland, also accused the Israeli government of imposing "condition upon condition" to block peace negotiations.
Palestinian farmers have been shot dead by extremist settlers intent on robbing them of their olive harvest and are trying to drive them off the land to which the Palestinians are entitled, Annan said Wednesday.
The tone was different at the State Department. Spokesman Richard Boucher said he did not have "any particular comment" on the biggest Israel sweep on the West Bank in months.
Responding to the slaying of five Israelis, troops stormed into Nablus, a hotbed of militants, with dozens of tanks and and armored vehicles and rounded up 30 suspected terrorists.
Boucher condemned the slaying of the Israelis and said Israel has a right to defend itself and to take action against terrorists.
At the same time, the U.S. official said Israel should be careful not to harm civilians.
And at the White House, Deputy Spokesman Scott McClellan sidestepped questions on Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (news - web sites)'s statement in Jerusalem that he would expel Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (news - web sites) if Netanyahu is elected prime minister in January.
McClellan said the administration would not step into internal Israeli political issues. "We recognize that there are elections upcoming in Israel, and the United States has a long policy of not getting involved in those internal, domestic discussions that are going on within Israel," he said.
Annan, who met with President George W. Bush (news - web sites) later at the White House, drew applause from students assembled in a university field house as he repeatedly criticized Israel and its policies.
The secretary-general's speech marked the 25th anniversary next week of the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Jerusalem that led to a peace treaty in 1979 in which Egypt recovered all the land it had lost in the 1967 Mideast war.
Annan said the United Nations (news - web sites) never would permit the destruction of Israel.
"It was to prevent such things from happening that the United Nations was founded," he said.
Terror attacks have caused Israelis to lose faith in the Palestinians' will to have peace, Annan said.
And, he said, as a result, Israelis support "draconian security measures" against the Palestinians that Annan said have pushed more than 1 million people below the poverty line.
"The Palestinians are just as firmly attached to their land as Israelis are to theirs," Annan said. But they "have lost faith in in the Israeli will to peace," he said.