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John Vause: Palestinians want action, not words

CNN correspondent John Vause
CNN correspondent John Vause

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ABU DIS, West Bank (CNN) -- How is the Mideast summit between Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. leaders playing in the area most affected by the success or failure of the road map?

CNN correspondent John Vause is in a village on the West Bank and talked to CNN anchor Bill Hemmer about the atmosphere there.

HEMMER: John, good afternoon. Where are you?

VAUSE: ... We're in the West Bank village of Abu Dis. It's a small village, about 11,000 people at the security wall which was built here by the Israelis in September last year. You can see the barbed wire and the concrete blocks. The Israelis built this because they said it was necessary to keep the terrorists and the suicide bombers out of Israel. But the Palestinians say here this is collective punishment. This is humiliating. And they say statements are flying out of Aqaba [Jordan, where talks are taking place], but what they want to see is real action on the ground.

They want this wall to be torn down. Normally, Israeli soldiers are on the other side. If you look at this gap just here in the wall, we've been watching schoolchildren scurrying through this gap to come home from school. So, the Palestinians in this town say bring this wall down, because the situation here is that the majority of people who live in this village are confined to this village. Some people do have work permits. But only 25,000 Palestinians are allowed to actually go and work in Israel at the moment. And there's still 3.5 million Palestinians who are still confined to their towns like this one here on the West Bank, as well as in Gaza.

So what the Palestinians are saying about this road map [is that] they want concrete action and they want it now. They say they've heard it all before. Let's see some results. The Israelis of course say that they want that cease-fire. They want that crackdown on terrorism. But the Palestinians not holding out a great deal of hope on the road map. They believe it's a U.S- sponsored Israeli document that favors the Israelis.

And as far as [Palestinian Authority leader] Yasser Arafat not being there, some Palestinians in this town here told me, 'Well, when you disrespect the leader of the Palestinian people, you disrespect all the Palestinians.'


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