Arafat: Cooperation with Hamas possible just if suicide attacks stop; Fatah denies Israeli reports on ''HIV-bomb''
"Cooperation with Hamas is conditional upon an end to suicide attacks" told Yasser Arafat to "Gush Shalom" delegation in a meeting in which possibilities for the future were assessed, the Israeli peace group said in a statement on Tuesday. "Any Hamas participation in the administration of the Gaza Strip after a possible Israeli evacuation or any other partnership with that organization is dependent upon the Hamas leadership agreeing to totally stop suicide attacks," the Palestinian President was quoted as saying. "In our dialogue with Hamas, which was initiated via the mediation of the Egyptians, we have made absolutely clear that harming civilians is unacceptable."
A "Gush Shalom" (Peace Bloc) delegation had come to visit Arafat at his Presidential Compound in Ramallah, West Bank. The group had to evade Israeli army roadblocks to enter Ramallah, defying the Sharon government's prohibition upon entry of Israeli citizens into Palestinian areas. The initiative to meet Arafat was taken upon the explicit threat to the life of Arafat made last week by Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon.
"Sharon threatens to kill me, but he sent his son to meet me. Omri Sharon sat and talked with me here in this room," said Arafat. "I rather like Omri Sharon. He is good guy and open-minded. Also after Sharon put me under siege in 2002 and his soldiers destroyed most of the compound around here, nevertheless he sent Omri again. And I also remember the Wye- River Conference ."
Meanwhile, Arafat's Fatah movement denied on Tuesday Israeli reports on its intention to carry out biological attacks against Israeli targets. The Fatah movement said in a communique that "the Israeli reports are mere lies," asserting "the Fatah movement doesn't adopt such behaviors." "These allegations aim at providing pretexts for the continuous siege imposed on Palestinians and their leaders as well as justifying the occupation of the territories and its aggressions carried out against the Palestinian people, its leadership and its movements," the Fatah movement said.
This reaction came after Israeli newspapaers reported on an attempt by Palestinians to carry out a suicide attack using a bomb laced with HIV-infected blood. According to these reports, Israel's Shin Beth security service foiled this attempt. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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