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Arafat Calls For A Ceasefire During The Olympics

President Arafat Lights the Olympic Torch, Calls to a Ceasefire during the Olympic Games

RAMALLAH, Palestine, June 27, 2004 (IPC + WAFA) - - The President Yasser Arafat lighted yesterday the Olympic torch for the Olympics that would be held in Athens this year.

The celebration for lighting the torch began by President Arafat lighting the torch and then the national Palestinian anthem followed by a speech for the President.

During his speech, President Arafat declared a ceasefire with Israel during the Olympic Games, which was scheduled to be held next August.

"I declare that we shall honor and abide by the ceasefire I have signed at my besieged office during the entire period of the Olympic Games, hoping it would revive the ancient Greek tradition of creating a world living in peace, justice and security for future generations," President Arafat said.

He also addressed the Israeli people by saying, "we are calling on our Israeli neighbors to agree on a common word … to make a just, comprehensive and everlasting peace for the sake our children and yours."

Elana Sorani, the Consul of Greece to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), on her side, pointed out during her speech on the occasion that the Olympic Games constituted a way to remind the people of the world of the suffering of other nations under occupation, stressing that differences in religions, beliefs and ethnicities must be excluded from the Games.

Sorani hoped that the world would be able to see and express its humanity and that the Games would present an opportunity to bypass the obstacles and set an example for the international community to follow.

On his side, Khader Abu Abara, president of the Arab Orthodox Club in Beit Jala, said that the Palestinian Olympic torch was meant to be a message of love and friendship to the Greek people, expressing the continuous Palestinian giving even under the harsh circumstances of occupation and hardships.

"We at the Arab Orthodox Club in Beit Jala, along with the Greek Consulate, have decided to light the Olympic torch at the Mokata'a (President Arafat's Ramallah office), which bears witness to the Israeli crimes in its every spot. We see the launch of the torch from here as an intense and live example of the Palestinian plight and despite that remained the place where the Palestinian decisions are made," Abu Abara said in his speech.

He also added that the torch would make its way from Ramallah to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem, crossing all the Israeli military checkpoints and obstacles and settling at the Arab Orthodox Club's premises in Beit Jala.


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