The Guardian April 17, 2002


President Arafat's statement on Israeli aggression and terrorism

Last Saturday, April 13, President of the Palestinian National Authority 
Yasser Arafat made a statement strongly condemning terrorism and the 
Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.

President Arafat expressed his and the Palestinian leadership's deep 
condemnation of all terrorist activities, whether they be 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", said 
President Arafat.

"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 
since, including our declaration on December 16 last year."

Israel's only response was an "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 Tulkarem and also the brutal aggression 
against the church in Bethlehem during the last two weeks."

President Arafat called on the international community, the UN Security 
Council and Mr Colin Powell to undertake an international peace mission in 
the region to investigate these massacres against the Palestinian people.

President Arafat spoke of the need to investigate the Israeli occupation 
and 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 emphasise 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 UN resolutions", 
territories and immediate implementation of the Tenet understandings and 
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 Summit in Beirut to protect Christian and Muslim holy 
places..."

President Arafat stressed the importance of having international peace 
forces follow up and monitor the implementation of these decisions.

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