Following international criticism Tel Aviv backs away from threats to kill Arafat as factions warn Israel
The Israeli government has not adopted a formal decision to kill Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Monday, in an apparent attempt to tone down remarks made earlier by Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that "killing [Yasser Arafat] is definitely one of the options" under consideration by the Israeli government.
"We are trying to eliminate all the heads of terror, and Arafat is one of the heads of terror," Olmert told Israel Radio on Sunday. "In my eyes, from a moral point of view, this is no different from killing others who were involved in ... acts of terror. It's only a practical question. What is the benefit? What will the reaction be? What circumstances will allow this?"
On Monday, the Israeli Foreign Minister contradicted Olmert's earlier statements, as Shalom told reporters, "It (killing Arafat) is not the official policy of the Israeli government. It was never before, and we don't speak about any killing, we didn't speak about it before, and we don't speak about it today."
Meanwhile, Palestinian resistance movements on Monday blasted Israeli threats to kill the Palestinian leader, as Hamas and Islamic Jihad warned they would act if Israel were to harm Arafat.
Moreover, Islamic Jihad said it would hold the international community, in particular the US, accountable for any Israeli attempt on the Palestinian President's life. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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