Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has pleaded for "no more war" with Israel
and said he accepted a proposal made by former US president Bill Clinton as a
framework for a peace deal.
"Enough is enough," Arafat told Israeli daily Haaretz, repeating a phrase used
recently by US President George W. Bush. He said he supported an initiative by
a number of prominent Palestinians who published an advertisement against the
He said unspecified "foreign" forces were exploiting young hopeless Palestinians
and encouraging them to commit attacks in exchange for money. He said two families
of suicide attackers from Jenin had received 30,000 dollars each from these foreigners.
He also said his advisers were amazed that Israel has not taken steps against
the radical groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, preferring to focus its military campaign
against the Palestinian Authority and Arafat's Fatah faction.
The interview was the first time Arafat had declared his acceptance of the
That plan, which Arafat has repeatedly been criticized for rejecting in the
past, envisions an Israeli withdrawal from much of the territory captured in the
1967 Middle East war, shared Palestinian-Israeli control of Jerusalem and land
swaps that would allow 80 percent of Jewish settlers in the West Bank to remain
It also calls for an equitable solution for Palestinians who fled or were driven
from their homes in the war that followed creation of the Israeli state in 1948.
It proposes that right of return be granted only to those who qualify for it on
humanitarian grounds and that others receive financial compensation.
Arafat said he agreed with border corrections and territorial exchanges, and
that he was proposing to accept Israeli sovereignty over, and access to, the Western
Wall and the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City.
The Palestinian leader said he believed it was possible to reach peace with
hardline Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has vowed never to negotiate
with the Palestinian leader.
Arafat said he would not rule out a much-vaunted US proposal for the creation
of a temporary Palestinian state but said he had not yet received any information
from Washington on the idea.
He also said he had not ruled out a plan put forward by Israeli Foreign Minister
Shimon Peres and Palestinian parliamentary chief Ahmed Qorei, which includes the
declaration of a Palestinian state to be followed by negotiations on borders,
Jerusalem and refugees.
During the interview, which took place at Arafat's battered headquarters compound
in Ramallah, the Palestinian leader said work had already begun on reforming his
security services, a key demand from Israel and the United States. He said he
was ready to cooperate with Israeli security, on condition that they let him reorganize
his own security services.
Copyright 2002 AFP