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THE MIDDLE EAST

Arafat Statement Decries Terror Activities

April 14, 2002|From Associated Press

The statement issued Saturday by Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat on the WAFA news agency, translated from Arabic:

The Palestinian leadership and his excellency, President Arafat, express their deep condemnation for all terrorist activities, whether it is state terrorism, terrorism by a group or individual terrorism. This position comes from our steady principle that rejects using violence and terror against civilians as a way to achieve political goals.

We declared this position beginning in 1988 and also when we signed the Oslo accords at the White House, and we have repeated it several times before, including our declaration on Dec. 16 last year. After that, we did not find any Israeli response but more Israeli escalation, a tighter siege, further occupation of our people, refugee camps, cities, villages, and more destruction of our infrastructure.

We strongly condemn all the attacks targeting civilians from both sides, and especially the attack that took place against Israeli citizens yesterday in Jerusalem.

We also condemn very strongly the massacre that was committed by the Israeli occupation troops against our refugees in Jenin and against our people in Ramallah, Nablus and Tulkarm and also the brutal aggression against the church in Bethlehem during the last two weeks.

We call on the international community, the U.N. Security Council and Mr. Colin Powell to undertake an international peace mission in the region to investigate these massacres against our people because of the Israeli occupation and to investigate the Israeli government's determination to kill the Palestinian hope for liberty and freedom by using military forces, tanks, missiles and weapons.

On behalf of the Palestinian people, we once again emphasize our full commitment to a fair and just peace between the two peoples and two states as a strategic choice--peace that could provide security for the Israelis and liberty and freedom in an independent state for the Palestinian people. Only through peace will security be achieved for everyone, not through occupation and military operations, massacres and terrorist attacks, especially against civilians, which will not provide peace and security for either Palestinians or Israelis.

We have to all work together, especially after the recent U.N. resolutions, the statement of President Bush and his secretary of State, the statement that came from the international committee overseeing cease-fire efforts, and also in light of the mission by Mr. Colin Powell and his presence here among us to stop this war and bring about an immediate Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories and immediate implementation of the [George J.] Tenet understandings and [George J.] Mitchell report and the resumption of negotiations based on what was decided in the Arab summit, and the Saudi Arabian initiative that was adopted by the Arab [League] summit in Beirut to protect Christian and Muslim holy places and the importance of having international peace forces follow up and monitor the implementation of all this.

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