Arafat Blasts UNSC's 'Failure' to Stop Israeli Aggression
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat blasted Saturday the United Nations Security Council for its “failure to stop Israel’s aggression against the Palestinian people.”
Arafat’s remarks came during a speech he delivered in Doha at an urgent meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to discuss the Palestinian crisis.
“Who is imposing this silence on the UNSC?” wondered Arafat, who added that "the Israelis are getting the full protection from the dominating powers.”
“The Israeli aggression aims at destroying our people,” he added, quoted by the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA.
“The Palestinians are appealing for your help to stop these atrocities which have claimed the lives of hundreds.”
Arafat reiterated that “peace is our choice to regain our rights.”
“We want a comprehensive and just peace for [Israelis] and our children,” he said.
Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Hamad Al Thani, opened the meeting by urging the OIC to take practical steps against Israel, not traditional statements of condemnation "which are no longer sufficient."
"The danger... is grave," Arafat told the ministers. "It cannot be stopped by statements of denunciation, condemnation and censure. There is no way but to take a firm stand that puts aggression and the aggressors in shackles," Reuters quoted him as saying
The Palestinians are asking OIC members to freeze ties with Israel until it stops attacks on Palestinians, in line with action taken by the Arab League last week.
Arafat also wants the OIC, the world's largest Muslim organization, to provide strong moral and financial backing for the Intifada, or uprising, and to lobby the United States and other big powers to press Israel to return to peace negotiations, delegates said.
Al Thani, appealed to US President George W. Bush to force Israel to stop the fighting, said Reuters.
"It is necessary [for Bush] to intervene immediately to put an end to this worsening situation, it is no longer acceptable to remain silent," he said.
The emir also demanded that an OIC team visit the United Nations and world powers to push for a UN protection force for the Palestinians - an idea raised by the group at a summit in Doha in November but rejected by Israel.
"We are demanding resolutions that can be implemented," said Palestinian minister Nabil Sha'ath before the meeting. "We have to enforce the isolation of the government of [Prime Minister] Ariel Sharon, which is launching a dirty, crazy war on the Palestinian people."
Sha'ath told Reuters that OIC members should follow the Arab League's lead and freeze all political contacts with Israel until it halts attacks on Palestinians and "abides by a real initiative for peace built on the Mitchell report and the Jordanian- Egyptian proposal".
The Arab League, whose 22 members also belong to the OIC, called last week in Cairo for a freeze on political contacts with Israel but stopped short of breaking diplomatic relations.
Sha'ath said OIC members should tell US envoys in their countries "that they reject this bias towards Israeli aggression and the use of American weaponry against the Palestinians."
"Not a single bullet fired against us is not US-made," he complained.
Muslim countries have criticized Qatar for maintaining relations with Israel and some of them threatened to boycott the summit.
Arab diplomatic sources told the Middle East Newsline that “seven OIC members are pressing Doha to end all ties with the Jewish state.” But the sources did not identify these states.
The OIC has 56 members.
The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council and Egypt said they would not send foreign ministers to Doha to protest the continued operations of Israel's trade office in Qatar —Albawaba.com
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