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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 08, 2003

Arafat Welcomes New High-Level Contacts
Here we go again as Arafat once again steps up to the plate. Is he worried about the recent announcement from Hamas that they are ready to replace him? Or is there American pressure on Shaon?
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said Saturday he welcomed the resumption of high-level contacts between the Israelis and Palestinians, and was prepared for additional discussions.

Arafat spoke briefly to reporters at his battered headquarters in Ramallah. His comments came a day after officials from both sides confirmed that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held secret talks on Wednesday with Ahmed Qureia, a senior Palestinian negotiator.

"There is a decision within the Palestinian leadership to continue talks with the Israelis," Arafat said. "We are ready for any talks as long as this might lead us to peace."

Sharon has refused to meet with Arafat, accusing him of masterminding violence and calling for his removal before peace talks with the Palestinians can resume. The talks broke down two years ago, shortly before Sharon was elected prime minister. [more]