Powell Hopes for Israeli Withdrawal

JERUSALEM?Ending a 10-day Mideast peace mission with little to show, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday that Israel had promised to withdraw troops from the West Bank within a week. He bluntly admonished Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat that he had to do more to fight terrorism.

President Bush said Powell had made progress, but acknowledged much more remains to be done.

Israel and the Palestinians blamed each other for Powell’s failure to achieve more. “Who can accept this?” said an angry Arafat, complaining of the Israeli siege of his Ramallah headquarters.

Powell, for his part, focused on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s promise to wind down the Israeli military offensive in Palestinian towns and villages, calling the operation an obstacle to starting peace talks.

In a news conference before heading home, Powell said he would return to the region to get peace negotiations on track.