Arafat Says Sharon Must Learn History Lessons, Urges Kuwait to Press for Int’l Protection for Palestinians
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat told a Kuwaiti newspaper that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had been after him since 1982 but that he had not learnt from history.
The Palestinian president told al-Rai al-Aam in an interview published on Wednesday that Sharon, a former general, tried during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon "to expel me from Beirut.
"And here I am back to him in Gaza, Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, and all of the West Bank. Sharon either forgets history or he does not learn from it," added Arafat.
Arafat said Sharon had been after him since 1982 "and now he is repeating this with his commanders to get rid of Yasser Arafat. Some of them publicly say (Arafat) must be killed and others say he must be expelled and the Palestinian Authority destroyed."
"Sharon told some of the Europeans that he has an old score to settle with Arafat since 1982," he added without elaborating, as cited by agencies.
In his first interview with a Kuwaiti newspaper since the emirate's liberation from occupying Iraqi forces in 1991, Arafat thanked Kuwait for recent support for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Arafat also told the daily that he has maintained "continuous contacts" with Kuwait's First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
Kuwaiti-Palestinian relations have remained frozen since the emirate accused Arafat of backing the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
But Sheikh Sabah embraced Arafat at the Arab summit in Cairo in October last year and called him a "brother" while visiting injured Palestinians in Kuwaiti hospitals.
"I spoke to him (Sheikh Sabah) before his important trip to Washington (last month) and after it. I came to know how great an effort he exerted (there) for the sake of the Palestinian people," Arafat told the daily.
During the interview, Arafat directly addressed Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah saying: "We need you more than ever before Your Highness."
The emir is currently convalescing in Britain after suffering a brain hemorrhage in September.
Arafat also called on the Kuwaiti leadership, "which enjoys a prestigious Arab, Gulf, Islamic and international position, and an influential effect on the Americans and Europeans, to exert more efforts to stop (Israeli) aggression and provide protection for Palestinians by demanding international observers." – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)