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Israel Threatens to Kill Yasser Arafat ; Ex-PM Peres Blames Sharon For Destroying the Peace Process

StorySeptember 15, 2003
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    Ali Abunimah, founder of, reviews the news of the weekend, the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords. [Includes transcript]

    Click here to read to full transcript Israel’s deputy prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said yesterday his government would consider assassinating Yasser Arafat in order to remove him from power.

    Meanwhile former Israel Prime Minister Shimon Peres criticized the Sharon government for its treatment of Arafat. Peres said exiling or killing Arafat will only strengthen Palestinian groups including Hamas.

    On the 10th anniversary of the Oslo peace accords, Peres said, “This government has destroyed the peace process.”

    Meanwhile Palestinians are calling on the United Nations to demand that Israel ensures Arafat’s safety. Haaretz is reporting the U.S. will abstain from Security Council vote today on a resolution today forbidding Israel from deporting Arafat.


    AMY GOODMAN: As we turn now to our last subject today, Israel deputy prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said yesterday his government would consider assassinating Yasser Arafat in order to remove him from power. Meanwhile, former Israeli prime minister Shimon Perez criticized the government for it’s treatment of Arafat. Perez said, exiling or killing Arafat will only strengthen Palestinian groups including Hamas. We’re right now in our studio by ALI ABUNIMAH:. He is the founder of Electronic Intifada. Welcome to Democracy Now!.

    ALI ABUNIMAH: Thank you Amy.

    AMY GOODMAN: We usually have you on the phone. You are in New York just for the day. Can you talk about significance, first The Jerusalem Post and editorial calling for assassination of Yasser Arafat and now the comments of the deputy prime minister, Ehud Olmert, saying the government is considering assassination.

    ALI ABUNIMAH: There’s been a crescendo of incitement over the past two weeks by the media and by the government, Shaul Mofaz, the defense minister over the weekend by the deputy prime minister calling openly for the murder of Arafat. Consider if it were the other way around. Consider if any Arab leader or leading Arab newspaper or media were to say that the road to peace in the Middle East and the road to security is to murder Israeli prime minister and top echelons of the Israeli government. That would be global outrage. Yet we have this level of incitement going on in Israel and I think it represents an Israeli government gone off the edge that can no longer hear what it sounds like to the rest of the world, which is absolutely outrage by this kind of statement and behavior.

    AMY GOODMAN: What about where we stand right now. Do you see this as a turning point for commentators who are usually very supportive of the government of Israel, for example, Thomas Friedman.

    ALI ABUNIMAH: I think there are a number of issues that make this a turning point. When I was on your show a few months ago when the road map was just published, I said to you that despite the many flaws in the road map, it was worth giving it a chance because had it been implemented as written it could have got us to the point where we wanted in terms of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. But it has failed because as predicted United States sat on its hands while Sharon and Israel carried out assassinations, murder, violence, despite the unilateral cease fire and most importantly went on with the settlement and Apartheid wall, that’s why Friedman this weekend, who is in the West bank and who saw the Apartheid wall with his own eyes, has said that it seems Israel is heading to a situation where within a few years if not right now Palestinians will simply demand one person one vote. In other words will have South africanization of the conflict where we are longer talking about partition between Israel and Palestinian but Palestinians simply demanding their rights within this kind of great Israel, which would mean essentially that a Jewish state is finished in less than 60 years since it was established in Palestine.

    AMY GOODMAN: We only have a few seconds. Is there any prospect for a negotiated solution right now?

    ALI ABUNIMAH: I think the Israeli government has decided that it can defeat the Palestinians by force, it will fail to break the resistance and I’m afraid with the U.S. sitting on the sidelines the future holds intensified violence.

    AMY GOODMAN: Your website?


    AMY GOODMAN: ALI ABUNIMAH: thanks for joining us. And that does it for the show.

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