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Spokesman can say occupation

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Last Update: 27/05/2003 14:04

Israeli spokesmen may be allowed to say 'occupation'
By Haaretz Service

The Foreign Ministry was weighing Tuesday the
distribution of an internal regulation that, for
the first time, would allow Israel's official
spokesmen and women to use the word 'occupation,'
Army Radio reported Tuesday.

The step follows remarks by
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,
who startled his Likud party
lawmakers in a Monday meeting
by stating: "I think the idea
that it is possible to continue
keeping 3.5 million
Palestinians under occupation -
yes it is occupation, you might
not like the word, but what is

happening is occupation - is bad for Israel, and
bad for the Palestinians, and bad for the Israeli
economy. Controlling 3.5 million Palestinians
cannot go on forever. You want to remain in
Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem?"

According to the radio, "Until now, the word
'occupation' in international spokesmanship was
considered something that was forbidden to utter,
because it was believed that Israel would always
thus be seen in a bad light."

Now, in the wake of the prime minister's comments,
officials are weighing the possibility of
changing standing instructions to allow spokesmen
to use the word, Army Radio said.

Coalition chairman Gideon Sa'ar (Likud) demanded
on Tuesday that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
refrain from using the phrase 'occupied' when
referring to Israeli operations in Palestinian
territories. Sa'ar made his request at a meeting
Tuesday of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs &
Defense Committee.

Sharon responded by saying that Attorney General
Elyakim Rubinstein had already told him that the
preferred phrase is 'disputed territory.'

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