April 3, 2002

April 3, 2002 | News Releases on Middle East

Arafat Is Part of the Problem, Not Part of the Solution

WASHINGTON, Apr. 3, 2002-"The current spasm of Israeli-Palestinian violence is the logical conclusion of Yasser Arafat's dual policy of talking about peace while preparing for war. For many years now, Arafat has paid lip service to peace negotiations in English, while calling in Arabic for a jihad, or holy war, to liberate Jerusalem.

"Since September 2000, Arafat has stepped up the violence. Official Palestinian media have incited Palestinians to riot, and Arafat's own group, Fatah, has joined Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad in launching suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

"As long as Arafat continues to believe that terrorism advances his cause, there is little the United States can do to stop the violence, let alone jump-start peace negotiations that were derailed by Palestinian violence. The Bush Administration cannot save Palestinians from bad leadership.

"As long as Arafat remains the leader of the Palestinians, there is no chance of a genuine peace. He has a long history of terrorism, which he has used to cement his control over the Palestinians, to attack Israel, and to attack other Arabs, particularly in Jordan in the 1970s and Lebanon in the 1980s. He was expelled by the Jordanians after he tried to overthrow King Hussein. He was expelled from Lebanon in 1982 after he used Palestinian refugee camps as bases for cross-border terrorist attacks against Israel. Nobody should be surprised that he has returned to terrorism after gaining a foothold in the Palestinian territories.

"By negotiating the 1993 Oslo Accord, the Israelis gambled that Arafat was ready to renounce terrorism and seek a genuine peace. That gamble has failed. Arafat is clearly a large part of the problem-not the solution. He already has been given numerous opportunities to end his policy of violence and return to negotiations. But he has spurned repeated American efforts to resolve the crisis: the Mitchell Plan, the Tenet Plan, and three diplomatic missions by General Zinni.

"It's time for the United States to abandon the wishful thinking that has allowed Arafat to continue his double game. It should encourage Israel to expel Arafat and shun him in exile. The only hope for peace in the long run is for a new generation of Palestinian leaders to realize that Arafat's cynical dual policy of negotiating via terrorism will not earn Palestinians a state, but will only assure continued misery."

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