News Release

Arafat’s Visit to U.S.


The following analysts are available for interviews about the U.S. visit by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat scheduled to begin on Wednesday:

Professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, former board member of Amnesty International and author of The Obstruction of Peace: The U.S., Israel, and the Palestinians, Aruri said today: “The approach of Syria’s Hafez Assad toward Israel was based on equality, land for peace, an international framework, and normalization with Israel after it fully withdraws from occupied territory. By contrast, Arafat’s approach — despite lip service to the contrary — is open-ended. It would bypass the international framework; it involves the creation of a state without sovereignty or contiguity, legitimizing apartheid, no return for the refugees and no sharing of Jerusalem. With Assad’s passing, the U.S. and Israel feel that it will be easier to nudge Arafat towards even more concessions. However, this falls short of the consensus of the 7.7 million Palestinians in the world who are likely to consider such a settlement to be illegitimate and non-binding. Arafat’s disregard for Palestinian opinion is also reflected by his trampling of the rule of law — for example, his jailing people for signing petitions talking about the corruption of his regime.”
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Executive director of Justice and Equality in Palestine/Israel, Hanauer said today: “A viable, just peace must be based on international law, human rights and relevant UN resolutions. On each of the major issues — settlements, refugees, borders, Jerusalem, land and water — the Palestinian position is based on these laws, resolutions and rights. Rather than giving billions of taxpayer dollars yearly to Israel, the U.S. needs to lead international pressure on Israel to abide by international law, human rights and UN resolutions which would achieve total Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, equitable sharing of Jerusalem, the abolishment of most, if not all, illegal Israeli settlements and the internationally recognized right of return for 3 or 4 million Palestinian refugees who have been denied their rights for 50 years by Israel. In the short run, Israel should stop house demolitions, confiscation of Palestinian land and denial of water resources.”

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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167