Arafat Says War against Israel an 'Option'
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat warned in an interview published Sunday by the Saudi newspaper Okaz that he was ready to use "any option", including war, to face up to Israel.
"We are ready for any option that circumstances throw up (at us)," Arafat said in a telephone interview Saturday from Cairo, where he was meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
"We are always looking for peace, but if we are forced to defend ourselves, we will not hesitate" to wage war, Arafat said.
"We are ready to defend ourselves at any moment," he stressed, adding that "the Palestinian people have several options at their disposal, and their history is full of sacrifices."
On whether the peace process with Israel could be continued after three days of violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces, Arafat said he was obliged to carry them through.
But he said the meetings sporadically organised between the two sides since the collapse of July's Israeli-Palestinian peace summit in Camp David were "not negotiations but simple contacts. Everyone knows that it's simply contacts."
A visit Thursday by Israel's right-wing Likud leader Ariel Sharon to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in eastern Jerusalem triggered bloody clashes that have left 27 Palestinians dead and some 700 injured in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- (AFP)
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