Der PA-Vorsitzende in der NYT:
Arafats Vision vom Frieden
In einem Leitartikel der New York Times
Yassir Arafat, der jüdische Charakter Israels sei klar und
offenkundig, das palästinensische Flüchtlingsproblem könne also nur
gelöst werden, wenn Israels demografische Interessen berücksichtigt
werden und Israel ein jüdischer Staat bleiben kann.
Das Rückkehrrecht der Flüchtlinge in ihre Heimatorte sei allerdings
ein grundsätzliches Recht der Menschenrechtsdeklaration und niemand
könne darauf einfach verzichten. Wie jedoch die Umsetzung dieses
Rechtes möglich sei, müsse in Verhandlungen geklärt werden. Um
darüber aber ernsthaft und unter gegenseitigem Respekt verhandeln zu
können, müsse Israel dieses Recht als Grundrecht überhaupt erst
einmal anerkennen. Die 1948 geflohenen oder vertriebenen
Palästinenser, die mit ihren Nachkommen inzwischen auf etwa vier
Millionen angewachsen sind, hätten ein Recht darauf, dass ihre
Vertreibung als Unrecht anerkannt würde. Für eine gewisse Anzahl von
Flüchtlingen müsse es aber nicht nur eine symbolische und moralische
Anerkennung ihres Rechts, sondern auch die tatsächliche Rückkehr
geben, entsprechende Schätzungen habe es schon in Taba gegeben.
Wie schon vor Camp David bekräftigte Arafat seine Forderung auf 97%
der Gebite des Gazastreifens und des Westjordanlands. Für die
fehlenden 3% müsse man Gebiete gleichwertig austauschen.
Grundsätzlich sei er gegen eine Teilung Jerusalems, die Stadt müsse
jedoch als "offene Stadt" Hauptstadt zweier Staaten sein. Nach
seinen Vorstellungen würde Israel im Rahmen eines Friedensabkommens
die Oberhoheit über die Klagemauer und das jüdische Viertel in
Jerusalems Altstadt behalten. Die Palästinenser müssten hingegen den
von Muslimen als "Haram el Scharif" (Edles Heiligtum) verehrten
Tempelberg bekommen, meinte er. Israelis würden freien Zutritt zu
den heiligen Stätten unter palästinensischer Kontrolle bekommen.
NY-Times EDITORIAL DESK | February 3, 2002, Sunday
The Palestinian Vision of Peace
By Yasir Arafat (NYT) 1159 words - Yasir Arafat Op-Ed
article describes Palestinian vision for peace with Israel, which he
says is based on creation of independent and viable Palestinian
state on territories occupied by Israel in 1967; says all Jerusalem
must be shared as one open city and as capital of two states; calls
for fair and just solution to plight of Palestinian refugees;
condemns terrorism, saying no degree of Israeli oppression and no
level of Palestinian desperation can ever justify killing of Israeli
SUMMARY OF PRESIDENT ARAFAT'S OP-ED IN THE NEW YORK
terrorism. I condemn the killing of innocent civilians, whether they
be Israeli, American or Palestinian, whether they be killed by
Palestinian extremists, Israeli settlers, or by the Israeli
- Independent and viable Palestinian state on the 1967 borders;
- Security for Israeli and Palestinian peoples;
- Just solution for Palestinian refugees;
- Reiterates the right of return but indicates that the
implementation of the right will take into account Israel's
- Warm peace with close economic and social cooperation; and
- Jerusalem as one open city that is the capital of two states,
Israel and Palestine.
IL-Question: "Arafat claims to condemn terrorism and to put an end
to it, so why isn't he doing more?"
PA-Response: "Arafat did all required by the Mitchell Report to
combat terrorism. He has:
- Called for a cease-fire on December 16, 2001 and outlawed
- Closed offices of Hamas and Jihad and ended financial transfers to
Hamas and Jihad;
- Arrested 260 individuals suspected of violating the cease-fire,
including those listed by Israel and the US.
The PA only controls 17.2% of the West Bank (divided into 13
separate areas). Israel has set up many obstacles to Arafat's
- Closed Palestinian towns and villages making it impossible for PA
forces to move from one Area A to the next;
- Bombed every police station in the West Bank;
- Bombed Palestinian towns and destroyed Palestinian infrastructure
such as the airport in Gaza and radio services in the West Bank;
- Assassinated 83 political activists and killed over 1000
- Reoccupied Areas A (and continues to do so);
- Not prosecuted any settlers for attacking Palestinians (there have
been 54 attacks against Palestinians since the December cease-fire)
or IDF soldiers who have killed and injured Palestinians;
- Expanded settlements and build new settlements;
- Demolished homes, including 60 homes in Rafah; and
- Not approved the implementation of the Mitchell Report in its
Arafat trying to destroy Israel through the right of return?"
PA-Response: "While there is a right of return (as
guaranteed under international law), Arafat states that the
implementation of the right of return will take into account
Israel's demographic concerns. Refugees must be provided with
choices: resettlement, moving to the Palestinian state, moving to
third countries, and return to Israel. The implementation of each of
these choices will take into account each country's demographic
has to compromise. Camp David was a compromise. Why was Baraks
generous offer not accepted?"
PA-Response: A 78% IL - 22% PA division of historic
Palestine is a more than adequate compromise. This most generous
offer was not accepted by Israels PM Barak.
Question: "This is what Arafat says to Americans,
but what is he saying to his own people?"
PA-Response: Statements are available to the
Palestinian and Israeli press, who will undoubtedly translate and
republish from arabic as well as from english, whether in parts or
cnn on the New
York Times op-ed by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Arafat condemns attacks, calls Israel
partner in peace
Israeli foreign minister says comments provide 'element of interest'
February 3, 2002 -- In a New York Times op-ed piece,
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said Israel and the Palestinians
are natural "partners in peace."
RAMALLAH, West Bank (CNN) --
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Sunday condemned terror attacks
against Israeli civilians and called for peace talks "as partners,
not as subjects" with the Jewish state.
In a column published on the op-ed page of Sunday's New York Times,
Arafat detailed what he calls "the Palestinian vision of peace." The
piece was published a day after Palestinian sources confirmed a
meeting last week between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and
three senior Palestinian officials.
Arafat said such a vision is "an independent and viable Palestinian
state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, living as an
equal neighbor alongside Israel with peace and security for both the
Israeli and Palestinian peoples."
Arafat, who asserted that the Palestinians seek a "fair and just
solution" to the refugee issue, said: "We understand Israel's
demographic concerns and understand that the right of return of
Palestinian refugees ... must be implemented in a way that takes
into account such concerns."
Column brings mixed reaction
Despite conciliatory letter by Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat in The New York Times, doubts still exist in Israel
and Washington about his ability to lead. CNN's Kelly Wallace
reports (February 3)
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres
said Arafat's column provided an "element of interest" for Israel.
He said Arafat's comment calling for an understanding of Israel's
demographic concerns under any peace agreement is significant. Peres
reiterated the Israeli position that any agreement involving
Palestinian refugees must not threaten the Jewish character and
population of Israel.
"We shall not agree to convert Israel into a Palestinian state by
changing the Jewish majority and having a Palestinian majority,"
Peres said Sunday. He said Arafat's article laid out the Palestinian
"He didn't depart from his final positions. He must remember that a
negotiation doesn't mean we are going to meet 100 percent of what he
wants as we don't expect the Palestinians to meet 100 percent of
what we want," Peres said. "This is a declaration about the
Palestinian 100 percent -- what we need is a declaration about the
middle, between the two positions."
Peres called for peace talks, which Arafat also did in the article.
Borders, refugees, Jerusalem and settlements are the four main
issues both sides need to discuss, Peres said.
"None of us can really escape peace. ... We have to sit and talk,"
A spokesman for Sharon called for Arafat to take action to stop
"You don't make peace by writing a [public relations] article in the
op-ed segment of The New York Times," said Ranaan Gissin. "You make
peace by stopping terrorism. And a [public relations] campaign is no
substitute for stopping terrorism, and Arafat for the past 16 months
has not stopped the campaign of terrorists against our innocent
'Arafat has to
act,' Powell says
of State Colin Powell, appearing Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation"
news show, said he was pleased that Arafat condemned terrorism. "But
now what we need now is action against terrorists," Powell said.
"Chairman Arafat has to act. He has to do a lot more to get the
violence under control, to persuade the Palestinian people, all of
these Palestinian organizations, that they are destroying the vision
of a Palestinian state by violent acts," Powell said.
U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice reacted to the
column by saying that Arafat has not done enough to fight terror.
"What will ultimately make the Palestinian people's life better,
what will ultimately give them the chance of their national
aspiration for a state ... is to get the peace process moving again,
and right now Chairman Arafat holds the key to that," Rice said on
CNN's "Late Edition."
Saudi Arabia's former chief of intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal,
predicted Sunday that there will be "a lot more bloodshed" between
Israelis and Palestinians in the coming months, and the United
States must remain involved in the peacemaking efforts.
"Without U.S. intervention and without U.S. participation in the
full and total commitment to peace in the Middle East, there is not
going to be peace," he told several hundred people at his alma
mater, Georgetown University.
Arafat: Palestinians 'ready to end the conflict'
Arafat said groups conducting attacks against Israeli
civilians "do not represent the Palestinian people or their
legitimate aspirations for freedom. They are terrorist
organizations, and I am determined to put an end to their
Arafat said Israel and the Palestinians are natural "partners in
"Israel's peace partner is, and always has been, the Palestinian
people. Peace is not a signed agreement between individuals -- it is
reconciliation between peoples," he said.
Palestinians are "ready to end the conflict" between Israelis and
Palestinians that has escalated over the last 16 months and has been
a constant in the region since Israel came into existence in the
late 1940s, Arafat said.
"We are ready to sit down now with any Israeli leader, regardless of
his history, to negotiate freedom for the Palestinians, a complete
end of the occupation, security for Israel and creative solutions to
the plight of the refugees while respecting Israel's demographic
concerns," Arafat said.
Arafat said the Palestinians will only meet with Israel "as equals,
not as supplicants; as partners, not as subjects; as seekers of a
just and peaceful solution, not as a defeated nation grateful for
whatever scraps are thrown our way."
He also addressed criticism of his leadership. "The personal attacks
on me currently in vogue may be highly effective in giving Israelis
an excuse to ignore their own role in creating the current
situation," he said.
Many believe Sharon "is fanning the flames of unrest in an effort to
delay indefinitely a return to negotiations," Arafat said.
Israel has confined Arafat to Ramallah for two months, and the
United States has demanded that the Palestinian leader do more to
crack down on militants.
As for last week's meeting between the Palestinians and Sharon,
Palestinian sources said that the Israeli leader told them he was
serious and willing to compromise on certain issues.
The Israeli government would not comment on the meeting, first
reported Friday by Israel Radio. But a government statement said
that all of Sharon's contacts with Palestinians are meant to achieve
one end -- stopping violence and terror -- and that no political
progress will be made in the region until the Palestinians take
certain steps to stop violence.
NYT February 3, 2002:
The Palestinian Vision of Peace
By YASIR ARAFAT
RAMALLAH - For the past 16 months, Israelis and
Palestinians have been locked in a catastrophic cycle of violence, a
cycle which only promises more bloodshed and fear. The cycle has led
many to conclude that peace is impossible, a myth borne out of
ignorance of the Palestinian position. Now is the time for the
Palestinians to state clearly, and for the world to hear clearly,
the Palestinian vision.
But first, let me be very clear. I condemn the attacks carried out
by terrorist groups against Israeli civilians. These groups do not
represent the Palestinian people or their legitimate aspirations for
freedom. They are terrorist organizations, and I am determined to
put an end to their activities.
The Palestinian vision of peace is an independent and viable
Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967,
living as an equal neighbor alongside Israel with peace and security
for both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. In 1988, the Palestine
National Council adopted a historic resolution calling for the
implementation of applicable United Nations resolutions,
particularly, Resolutions 242 and 338. The Palestinians recognized
Israel's right to exist on 78 percent of historical Palestine with
the understanding that we would be allowed to live in freedom on the
remaining 22 percent, which has been under Israeli occupation since
1967. Our commitment to that two-state solution remains unchanged,
but unfortunately, also remains unreciprocated.
We seek true independence and full sovereignty: the right to control
our own airspace, water resources and borders; to develop our own
economy, to have normal commercial relations with our neighbors, and
to travel freely. In short, we seek only what the free world now
enjoys and only what Israel insists on for itself: the right to
control our own destiny and to take our place among free nations.
In addition, we seek a fair and just solution to the plight of
Palestinian refugees who for 54 years have not been permitted to
return to their homes. We understand Israel's demographic concerns
and understand that the right of return of Palestinian refugees, a
right guaranteed under international law and United Nations
Resolution 194, must be implemented in a way that takes into account
such concerns. However, just as we Palestinians must be realistic
with respect to Israel's demographic desires, Israelis too must be
realistic in understanding that there can be no solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict if the legitimate rights of these
innocent civilians continue to be ignored. Left unresolved, the
refugee issue has the potential to undermine any permanent peace
agreement between Palestinians and Israelis. How is a Palestinian
refugee to understand that his or her right of return will not be
honored but those of Kosovar Albanians, Afghans and East Timorese
There are those who claim that I am not a partner in peace. In
response, I say Israel's peace partner is, and always has been, the
Palestinian people. Peace is not a signed agreement between
individuals - it is reconciliation between peoples. Two peoples
cannot reconcile when one demands control over the other, when one
refuses to treat the other as a partner in peace, when one uses the
logic of power rather than the power of logic. Israel has yet to
understand that it cannot have peace while denying justice. As long
as the occupation of Palestinian lands continues, as long as
Palestinians are denied freedom, then the path to the "peace of the
brave" that I embarked upon with my late partner Yitzhak Rabin, will
be littered with obstacles.
The Palestinian people have been denied their freedom for far too
long and are the only people in the world still living under foreign
occupation. How is it possible that the entire world can tolerate
this oppression, discrimination and humiliation? The 1993 Oslo
Accord, signed on the White House lawn, promised the Palestinians
freedom by May 1999. Instead, since 1993, the Palestinian people
have endured a doubling of Israeli settlers, expansion of illegal
Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and increased restrictions
on freedom of movement. How do I convince my people that Israel is
serious about peace while over the past decade Israel intensified
the colonization of Palestinian land from which it was ostensibly
negotiating a withdrawal?
But no degree of oppression and no level of desperation can ever
justify the killing of innocent civilians. I condemn terrorism. I
condemn the killing of innocent civilians, whether they are Israeli,
American or Palestinian; whether they are killed by Palestinian
extremists, Israeli settlers, or by the Israeli government. But
condemnations do not stop terrorism. To stop terrorism, we must
understand that terrorism is simply the symptom, not the disease.
The personal attacks on me currently in vogue may be highly
effective in giving Israelis an excuse to ignore their own role in
creating the current situation. But these attacks do little to move
the peace process forward and, in fact, are not designed to. Many
believe that Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister, given his
opposition to every peace treaty Israel has ever signed, is fanning
the flames of unrest in an effort to delay indefinitely a return to
negotiations. Regrettably, he has done little to prove them wrong.
Israeli government practices of settlement construction, home
demolitions, political assassinations, closures and shameful silence
in the face of Israeli settler violence and other daily humiliations
are clearly not aimed at calming the situation.
The Palestinians have a vision of peace: it is a peace based on the
complete end of the occupation and a return to Israel's 1967
borders, the sharing of all Jerusalem as one open city and as the
capital of two states, Palestine and Israel. It is a warm peace
between two equals enjoying mutually beneficial economic and social
cooperation. Despite the brutal repression of Palestinians over the
last four decades, I believe when Israel sees Palestinians as
equals, and not as a subjugated people upon whom it can impose its
will, such a vision can come true. Indeed it must.
Palestinians are ready to end the conflict. We are ready to sit down
now with any Israeli leader, regardless of his history, to negotiate
freedom for the Palestinians, a complete end of the occupation,
security for Israel and creative solutions to the plight of the
refugees while respecting Israel's demographic concerns. But we will
only sit down as equals, not as supplicants; as partners, not as
subjects; as seekers of a just and peaceful solution, not as a
defeated nation grateful for whatever scraps are thrown our way. For
despite Israel's overwhelming military advantage, we possess
something even greater: the power of justice.
Yasir Arafat is chairman of the Palestine Liberation
Organization, he was elected president of the Palestinian Authority