Israeli official describes israeli siege of president Arafat as stupidity
Israel-Palestine, Politics, 2/19/2002
Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Abraham Burg, criticized as "stupidity" Ariel Sharon's aggressive policy and siege of President Yasser Arafat in his headquarters in Ramallah, which has been imposed since December 2001, reports the Palestine Media Center.
Burg's criticisms came during an interview with the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot, published on Monday. He further criticized the Israeli government's policy, stating that it will only lead to further deterioration in the current crisis between the Israelis and Palestinians.
"Israel has passed all the red lines. In fact, we have reoccupied all of the West Bank. Do any of you think that the Palestinians' love to [President] Arafat would decrease because of putting him under house arrest in Ramallah? This and the [Israeli] incursions into the areas under the control of the [Palestine National Authority] will only lead to radicalization," he criticized.
Burg also revealed that his idea of delivering a peace speech in front of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah City was strongly supported by European and Arab parliamentarians, who attended the European-Mediterranean Conference in Athens a few days ago. He also confirmed that a number of senior European and Egyptian parliament members would accompany him in his visit, which is expected to take place in the coming two or three weeks. Parliament speakers of Spain, Sweden and Greece have already announced they would accompany Burg to Ramallah.
Finally, Burg stressed that the only way to end the current crisis is by "immediately returning to the negotiation table.. The only way to achieve a cease-fire is through negotiations and there is no military solution to this problem."
PMC further notes that criticism of the Israeli policy, within intellectual and political circles, dealing with the current crisis has been fueled by failure to put an end to the violence. It has also been sharpened by the Israeli government's inability to bring back security to the Israeli people, which was Sharon's main promise during his election campaign. PMC comments that Burg's remarks are also an indication of the serious schisms that the Labor party finds itself in regarding peace and negotiations.
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