The Mayor of Bethlehem, Mr. Elias Freij, has warned of a prolonged deadlock between the?
CU: Mayor Freij speaking in English.
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 1: FREIJ: "I was not optimistic anyway because the divergent political views of both parties were so wide and I can say unbridgeable. So actually, they had to break down. They could have just talked about anything. And the Israeli insistence in refusing to recognise the right of the Palestinian Arabs of self-determination and Israeli insistence on keeping Jewish settlements in the occupied territories and in Sinai, that will never lead to the expected peace between the Arabs and the Jews. There is a deadlock that may last for a long time and the only hope is that we have to see what the Americans can do to persuade and convince the Israelis to change their attitude vis-a-vis the right of the Palestinians for self-determination and Jewish settlements and withdrawal from the occupied territories. I don't think there will be war in the near future but there will be critical repercussions in the Arab world in the near future."
REPORTER: "What do you mean by that?"
FREIJ: "What I mean is the Arabs will turn to extremism: The Arabs will start to lose confidence in America and her policy and influence, and a new spirit of frustration with the established Arab regimes and the American policy will start to appear."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Mayor of Bethlehem, Mr. Elias Freij, has warned of a prolonged deadlock between the Israelis and the Arabs if the current Middle East peace initiative ended in failure. Mr. Freij, and Arab known for his moderate views, said permanent peace cannot be established in the area while the Palestinians were not given the right of self-determination and Israel kept Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. In an interview in Bethlehem on Thursday (19 January), he said persuasive powers of the Americans was the only hope for a settlement.