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Arafat: The Peace Process Faces Most Critical Time

Arafat: the peace process Faces the Most Critical Time

GAZA, Palestine – Palestine President Yasir Arafat said the Israeli threat to exile him is an attempt to destroy the peace process and the self-rule Palestinian people achieved in peace accords.

"The danger here concerns Israel's determination to cancel the Palestinian partner and the Palestinian Authority," Arafat told visiting diplomats at his battered headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The Israeli security cabinet made a decision on Thursday to exile president Arafat "in a manner that will be determined separately", provoking worldwide protests from governments and activists alike.

Arafat stressed the peace process was "facing the most critical time since the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993 ... but I reaffirm before you that despite the incitement and Israeli threats, the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership are committed to the peace process.

"No one can deport me from my homeland, and the homeland of my fathers and forefathers," Arafat said as thousands demonstrated for the third day running to show support for him both on his own office and in all of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Earlier, on Friday, the United Nations Security Council warned the Israeli government of making into effect its cabinet’s decision to expel Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

In a statement, issued by the 15-membr nations Security Council of the United Nations in New York, current president of the council, Emyr Jones Parry of Britain, viewed the Israeli decision as “useless” and unhelpful”, demanding Israel not to implement it.

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Upon the request of Arab nations and the non-aligned states in the United Nations, the Security Council issued the said statement following a closed session on Friday.

The council also decided to hold another session on Monday to discuss a bill produced by the Palestine Representative at the UN, Nasser AlQedwa, demanding the occupying power ”Israel” to “ refrain from deporting or harming the elected President of the Palestinian National Authority”.

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