The Bush Administration continued this weekend to call for Yasser Arafat’s removal from office, warning Palestinians they would cloud their prospects for nationhood if they re-elected Arafat in January elections. Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” secretary of State Colin Powell said Washington is no longer talking to the Palestinian leader. Asked if the United States would resume contacts with Arafat, Powell said: “I don’t expect so.’’
Meanwhile, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press to say Washington would end any financial support of Arafat’s Palestinian Authority if he remains in power. She said: “We are not trying to pick the leadership of the Palestinian people, but we are saying that there are consequences.”
Rice and Powell’s statements followed just days after President Bush delivered a speech calling for Arafat’s removal from office. Bush did not mention Arafat by name in the speech but said the Palestinians must have new and different leaders before a process could begin that would lead to a state, possibly within three years.
The United States appears nearly alone internationally in its position that Arafat must go.
- Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian Legislative Council, speaking from her home in Ramallah, where she is under curfew.
- Rami Elhanan, father of Smadar Elhanan, who was murdered by a suicide bomber on September 4, 1997. She was 14 years old. Rami Elhanan was the lead speaker at a Peace Now rally last week.
- Parents’ Circle:
- The Bereaved Families’ Forum: