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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Compromises Made at Mideast Summit

AQABA, Jordan -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pledged Wednesday to dismantle illegal settlements in Palestinian areas, while the new Palestinian leader renounced all terrorism against Israel. Both steps were sought by U.S. President George W. Bush as he brought the two sides together in a bid to advance Middle East peace.

"We will immediately begin to remove unauthorized outposts," Sharon said. Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas declared: "We do not ignore the suffering of the Jews throughout history. It is time to bring all this suffering to an end."

Joining Abbas and Sharon at a podium, Bush praised the Israeli leader's willingness to dismantle the settlements and lauded Abbas for promising "his full efforts to end the full intifada."

Israelis set up dozens of unauthorized outposts after the intifada began, most of them in the West Bank and most created since Sharon took office a year ago.

Hard-line Israelis say the settlements reinforce their claim to Biblical lands but other Israelis say the illegal outposts get in the way of a deal that could unburden their country of the costly occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Bush promised training and support for a "new, restructured Palestinian security service," and said he would place longtime diplomat John Wolf at the head of a U.S. mission on the ground to help the parties and monitor progress.

"The journey we're taking is difficult, but there is no other choice," Bush said. "No leader of conscience can accept more months and years of humiliation, killing and mourning. I know that peace can finally come."

Abbas promised to "act vigorously" against incitement and hatred against Israel, including using Palestinian security forces. Calling violence inconsistent with Palestinians' Islamic faith and the establishment of an independent state they have long sought, he also pledged to end "the militarization of the intifada."

Abbas filled a role played in the past by Yasser Arafat, the longtime Palestine Liberation Organization leader and symbol of the Palestinian movement. Arafat was not invited; his removal from the peace process was a major demand of Bush's plan, a so-called road map to a two-state Israeli-Palestine settlement.

In a sign of the passions that fuel the conflict, a radical Palestinian group urged Abbas "not to bow to Sharon's blackmail and to adhere firmly to the need for equal commitments from the two sides." The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine urged Abbas to reject "the Israeli and U.S. preconditions that would turn the road map into a mere paper in the drawers of Sharon's government."

Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who headed an international commission that published a plan in early 2001 that prescribed steps toward resuming peace negotiations, said on NBC television: "People on both sides now lead unbearable lives. They've had two devastating years. The alternative is looking much more attractive."

Sharon accepted the principle of a Palestinian state. Abbas also publicly acknowledged Israel's right to exist side by side with a Palestinian state. In a goodwill gesture, Israel had released scores of Palestinian prisoners in advance of the summit.