U.S. Urges Arafat to Repudiate Terrorism: Palestinians Refuse to Curb Militants

By Sieff, Martin | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 25, 1997 | Go to article overview

U.S. Urges Arafat to Repudiate Terrorism: Palestinians Refuse to Curb Militants


Sieff, Martin, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The Clinton administration, thrown on the defensive by charges it ignored warnings that Palestinian leaders were planning violence, called yesterday for Yasser Arafat to clearly rule out the use of terror in the Middle East.

"There is no place for terrorism in the Middle East. ... Clearly, more needs to be done," State Department spokesman John Dinger said.

"What we want now is for Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to make very, very clear that there is no place for terrorism in the Middle East or in the strategy there," Mr. Dinger said.

But officials of Mr. Arafat's Palestinian Authority rejected Israeli demands that the self-rule organization clamp down on Muslim militants and increase security cooperation.

"The role of the Palestinian Authority is not to protect the security of the Israeli people but to save the interests of the Palestinian people and to protect the political agreement," said Mohammed Dahlan, the Palestinian secret police chief in the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Dahlan also said the Palestinian Authority is shutting down its security cooperation with Israel. "We stopped both security activities and intelligence cooperation as a result of the Israeli violations of the agreement by continuing to establish settlements," he said.

"We will not accept or deal with the Israeli conditions and will treat them as if we didn't hear them."

The refusal was another sign of the breakdown in trust between Mr. Arafat, the Palestinian Authority president, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Clashes continued for a fifth day yesterday in the West Bank, where one Palestinian was wounded by gunfire.

In Washington, Israeli Ambassador Eliahu Ben-Elissar called on Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright amid a growing row over whether Mr. Arafat unleashed Friday's Hamas bombing in Tel Aviv that killed three women and whether the United States knew about it.

Netanyahu foreign policy adviser Dore Gold repeated Israeli charges yesterday that the Palestinian leadership gave a green light to extremists to carry out terrorist attacks on Israel.

"If another attack is a result of their green light, which is still on, it will be a serious blow to the peace process," he said. …

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