Arafat is an Obstacle to Peace

(Jerusalem Post) Israeli UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman - Ten years ago Israel was willing to believe that Yasser Arafat had abandoned the path of terrorism and embarked on the road to true reconciliation and mutual recognition. More than any other state, we invested a great deal in Arafat's word, and were willing to forgive his failures. Unfortunately, as we have all known for some time, Arafat lied. Arafat's continuing rejection of Israel's right to exist, his denial of the ancient ties of the Jewish people to its homeland, and his support of terrorists and their tactics has brought untold suffering to the region, and denied the promise of peace and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians, alike. Since September 2000, 869 Israeli citizens have been killed, and nearly 6,000 wounded in suicide bombings and terrorist attacks that deliberately targeted the innocent. There is hardly a single Israeli citizen today who has not been affected, directly or indirectly, by Palestinian terrorism. The equivalent number of casualties in a country with a population of that of the UK would be 84,609 citizens. The decision of the Israeli cabinet last Thursday merely states the obvious - that Arafat is an obstacle to peace. In other instances, members of the international community have recognized that certain leaders are so destructive to the rights of their own people, and to the security and stability of their region, that their legitimacy must be questioned. Arafat is no exception. Was the Security Council galvanized into action after the horrific suicide bombing which killed 23 and injured 135 on a crowded bus in downtown Jerusalem filled with Orthodox Jewish families and children returning from prayers at the Western Wall? Was it galvanized to act this past Tuesday when two suicide bombings, at a cafe in Jerusalem and a bus stop in central Israel, killed a total of fifteen and injured more than seventy Israelis, just hours apart? It would be a grave error if the Council were to come to the aid not of the victims of terrorism, but of their sponsor and perpetrator. What country, faced with terrorism of this unprecedented magnitude and duration, would not hold the person who has both orchestrated the terror and refused to suppress it, directly and criminally responsible?

2003-09-16 00:00:00

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