West Bank Withdrawal On The Skids

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JERUSALEM: This is how bad a week it's been for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: His own mother showed up in the U.S. press questioning his policies. She told the Washington Post that she is no longer proud of her son, that peace with the Arabs is absurd, and that the release of Palestinian "terrorists" rendered the death of her first son meaningless. More fuel was added to the fire Monday, when Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank ran into a dead end as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat rejected plans to remove troops from just over nine percent of West Bank territory. Denouncing the move as "a trick," Arafat fumed that the Israeli government had breached an agreement with Palestinians who had expected to receive no less than 30 percent of West Bank land in the first of three troop redeployments expected to start this week. They claim that the Israelis have violated the agreement by not consulting with them on the exact specifics of redeployment. The Israeli government counters that, according to their interpretation of the terms of the deal, it is up to Isra el alone to decide when, where and how much. The whole process is in danger of bogging down over such details, and as it does, it continues to make Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's position all the more precarious. "The problem for Netanyahu is that having come reluctantly to the conclusion that land for peace is the only practical way to deal with the Palestinian "problem," he has deeply offended the very people who put him into office," notes TIME's Bill Stewart. "His approach to military redeployment, seemingly designed to appease the right wing, instead has outraged conservative Israelis who don't want any redeployment at all."