Arafat not to travel to Bethlehem; Hamas vows to continue attacks against Israeli civilians
Israel's Cabinet decided Sunday that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would not be allowed to travel to Bethlehem for Christmas celebrations, an Israeli government source said.
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Cabinet made the decision at its weekly meeting after consulting with the security forces, said the source, according to AP.
A spokesman for Arafat criticized Israel's decision. "The Israeli decision ... is a violation of their promises to the American administration, the Vatican and the Pope," said spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh. "All the excuses that they give are lies and are rejected."
Meanwhile, the founder and leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, confirmed his movement representatives met several weeks ago with those of Fatah, who had tried to convince Hamas to stop targeting Israeli civilians. But Yassin firmly added his group's armed wing would never stop its suicide bombings and other attacks on Israel -- and as long as Israeli forces targeted Palestinian civilians, Hamas would target Israeli civilians.
Speaking to UPI, he conveyed his movement had agreed then to halt attacks and indeed had done so. "But Israel unfortunately did not respect the Palestinians and continued its aggression against them," he asserted. "They (the Palestinian Authority) say that stopping attacks into Israel would help the left wing in Israel to win. I would tell them that stopping attacks would support (Ariel) Sharon and make him win in the elections."
"It is not reasonable to keep our children, women and aged people losing security while Israelis are enjoying it," said Yassin. "No one will prevent us continuing our jihad (holy struggle) against Israel." (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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