After talks with Jesse Jackson, Arafat reiterates commitment to peace, opposition to suicide attacks
Yasser Arafat said Monday he is pushing for a ceasefire among hardline factions despite last week's devastating Israeli air raid on Gaza. Arafat spoke in Ramallah after meeting U.S. civil rights leader, Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Jackson said he made an "all-out appeal" for a cessation of Israeli-Palestinian violence in talks on Monday with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
Jackson, visiting the Middle East on a peace mission, has also called on Israel to halt settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip as a key to renewing peace talks frozen for nearly two years.
He met Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah after holding talks in Tel Aviv on Sunday with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. "I made an all-out appeal to stop violence," Jackson said on his talks with Arafat. Jackson said both the Palestinians and the Israelis were locked in violence in which neither had the upper hand.
"It seems that one force is driven by fear of violence and the other by despair," he said. "Somebody must have the wisdom to break the cycle of retaliatory violence. There are no winners in this present state."
For his part, Arafat said: “I declare our adherence to the peace option and to reconciliation through the ending of Israeli occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state with holy Jerusalem as its capital to live side by side with Israel.”
“I reiterate our adherence to the peace of the brave and to discussions away from violence, state terrorism, suicide operations, chaos and bloodshed. Such acts do not serve the interests of the peoples of Israel, Palestine and the region in making a durable, comprehensive and just peace…”.
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)