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Israeli Propaganda Campaign Aims at Aborting Peace

President Arafat: Israeli Propaganda Campaign Aims at Aborting Peace Efforts

President Yasser Arafat said that the escalating Israeli propaganda campaign of accusations against him aims at reinforce the siege imposed on him and at aborting serious efforts to achieve a real peace in the region

Arafat on Monday refuted Israeli officials’ accusations that he stands behind bombing attacks, saying that such accusations are Israeli propaganda, which aims at tightening the siege imposed on him.

“First we should not forget that I condemn these terrorist attacks, then we should remember that they (the Israelis) are launching a wide propaganda campaign against me with the aim of expanding the siege imposed on me,” he told reporters in Ramallah.

“I am accused of many things, including terror attacks, but they forget that I made peace,” president added.

President Arafat said in an interview broadcast Monday evening that the PNA had made arrests and seized explosives in recent weeks that foiled terror attacks.

“The Quartet (UN, US, EU and Russia) and senior Israeli security officials know that we have foiled these attacks, but this is concealed from the Israeli people,” president told Israeli Channel Two.

Meanwhile, Arafat criticized Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for not formally accepting the “roadmap” peace plan, adopted by the Quarted and backed by the US.

In a telephone interview with Fox News, Arafat said he would “definitely not” agree to expulsion as a condition of the peace plan and said he hoped US President George W. Bush would convince Sharon to accept the “roadmap.”

“I am committed completely to the peace of the brave. ... And now we are committed also, as we have declared from the beginning, to the roadmap ... which has been declared by President Bush,” the Palestinian leader said.

Palestinian and Israeli prime ministers met in Sharon’s office in Jerusalem for nearly three hours on Saturday. The meeting ended just before 1 a.m.
after the meeting ,the Israeli cabinet decided on more moves to isolate Arafat, including refusing to meet foreign dignitaries who went to see him while visiting the region.

However, in the special Cabinet session Sunday evening, Sharon responded to calls from several ministers to expel Arafat by saying it was not the time for such action.
According to a senior Israeli government official speaking on condition of anonymity to Haaretz, Sharon said that deporting Arafat would create a worse situation for Israel than the present one, with Arafat travelling from capital to capital stating his case.

On Monday, president Arafat met French diplomats at his Ramallah headquarters in the West Bank and told reporters, “I condemn completely these terrorist activities” and described PM Abbas as “my brother.”

The Sharon-Abbas meeting was the first Israeli-Palestinian summit since September 2000, when Yasser Arafat held talks with the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in an attempt to restart peace talks stalled at Camp David two months earlier.

But Sharon’s refusal to officially and publicly commit Israel to the “roadmap” found in the latest series on bombing attacks a pretext to win time in his strategy to foil implementation of the internationally-adopted peace plan and cancelled a planned visit to the United States for a meeting with Bush, which was scheduled for May 20.

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