Arafat calls on Canada for help

Arafat calls on Canada for help

Pressure U.S. to end Israeli occupation, Palestinian chief asks

JERUSALEM (AP-CP-Reuters) — Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is urging Canada to pressure the United States to bring about an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, Montreal's La Presse newspaper reported yesterday.

In an interview from his Ramallah headquarters last week, Arafat said the Palestinian people also need Canada to press its U.S. ally to bring about free elections in Palestinian territories as soon as possible.

"I am personally asking, on behalf of myself and my people, for Canada and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to act quickly to save the (1993) peace accord that I signed with my partner (former Israeli prime minister) Yitzhak Rabin," Arafat told La Presse.

"I would like for Canada to act quickly so that the Americans can bring about an end to the occupation," he said. "I know there is a very strong relationship between Canada and the United States and I know that Canada can help to end this occupation."

Arafat said he was grateful Canada took an independent position on the future of the Palestinian people during the G-8 summit in Kananaskis, Alta., in June. Chrétien and other Canadian officials said it was up to the Palestinians to choose their own leaders.

U.S. President George W. Bush has repeatedly called in recent months for Palestinians to replace Arafat through new elections and reform the Palestinian Authority he now heads.

Arafat told La Presse he's prepared to step down if his people want him to do so. But the 72-year-old leader added he won't be forced out by Israeli tanks, which have rolled into Palestinian territory on several occasions following attacks on Israeli citizens.

"No elections can be held while our territory is being occupied," he said.

A foreign affairs department spokesperson said Canada will continue to talk with its allies, as well as Palestinian and Israeli leaders, in an effort to resolve the Mideast conflict.

"At this point, all I can stress is that the conflict requires the involvement of the international community," Marie-Christine Lilkoff said yesterday. "I can't go beyond that."

She confirmed Canada continues to recognize Arafat and the Palestinian Authority as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people.

An Israeli official, meanwhile, said the Palestinian Authority must overhaul its security services and rein in terrorism before holding elections.

"They don't need elections," said Raanan Gissin, an aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "First of all they need to get rid of terrorism," he said, arguing it is impossible to have meaningful elections "when there is terrorism and corruption."

Those comments came as CIA Director George Tenet met in Washington with the Palestinian Authority's interior minister, Abdel Razak Yehiyeh. They were believed to have discussed a U.S. plan to reshape Palestinian security services as a prerequisite for rapprochement with Israel after 22 months of violence.

In other developments:

An Israeli woman was killed and her husband seriously wounded last night in an attack by a Palestinian gunman in a remote West Bank Jewish settlement, the army reported. It said the attacker had been killed by soldiers. Israeli media reports said the gunman had climbed the perimeter fence of Mehora, in the Jordan Valley, and opened fire on the couple as they sat in their car outside their home.

A demonstration that drew hundreds of Israeli and Arab peace activists to a checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem ended in scuffles, as police sprayed the demonstrators with water and charged them on horseback. Two people were arrested, according to protest organizers.

Israeli soldiers fatally shot a Palestinian municipal worker in Nablus, one of the seven cities Israel has occupied in the West Bank in response to suicide bombings. The army, expressing regret, said it appeared the man had a permit to move through the city streets despite a curfew.

In the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli troops said they killed a Palestinian armed with grenades who was trying to infiltrate into Israel near the Niram kibbutz.
Right now Arafat is calling on a country that is just not listening. Chretiens Liberals have no real interest in settling this dispute. Chretien has had many years to act and has done next to nothing. Chairman Arafat is grabbing at straws thinking we have any control of the beast to our south. Americans step on us just as much they do others so why expect better results of their twisted Middle East policy?

The majority of eductated Canadians side with the Palestinians in that they want to see an end to the illegal occupation, the destruction of the settlements, the creation of two seperate states, and for the Palestinians to just get a better deal as outlined by the UN.

Canadians would also like to see an end to some Palestinians use of terror against Israeli citizens. But that last point is where Canadians and Americans really disagree and differ. Americans just believe the Israeli propaganda that Arabs are nothing more than murders and theives and thrive in a cult of suicide. Canadians on the other hand see the reasons behind the desperate use of human bombs. Everything has a cause and effect Until Israel and America figure this out, this situation will sadly continue for many years to come.
Free Thinker
czardogs, I do thank you for referring to me as education. Whenever me, or anyone else sides with palestinians, we get called nazis or just completely attacked. Actually many of my family members agree with Palestine. But go out into Toronto and you get a whole different opinion. Most arabs (not palestian) seem to have no opinion on it here.

And that's all it is, is Israeili propaganda fueled by the United States.

I love explaining to fellow Canadians about the situation in the Middle East. At one time I agreed with the Israeli side, but that was before I educated myself on the topic.

I find the few Canadians that do side with Israel have not explored the whole issue. When I tell them of the 65 UN resolutions ignored by Israel, the theft of water rights, the building of settlements, use of assassination, use of torture, high civilian death toll, the Palestinains living on less than $2 a day and that this occupation has lasted over 35 years many change their stance. Israel is the only country in the world right now that is occupying another country through military conquest. Israel punishes a whole society for the actions of a few. World leaders from the Dali Lama, to Desmond Tutu have branded Israeli actions as illegal and racist, but too many take what the news tells them as the whole truth.

Killing of civilians is a nasty tactic employed by Palestinians and is hard to swallow no matter what your stance is on the subject. However when digging deeper, Israel in the last two years has killed more than double the number of civilians than Palestinian freedom fighters have. Canadian and American news outlets seem to forget this.

Palestinians openly admit to targeting civilians, Israel on the other hand tries to take the high stance, which is so hypocritical when the facts are there to see. Israeli lives are NOT worth more than Palestinian lives. Everyone is born equal regardless of color, race, sex or religion but so many have forgotten or have chosen to ignore this fact.
Canada is too spineless to stand up to the Americans, and I think in this instance we should, like czardogs said, we have had ample time to do this in the past. We need some real people running this country, and if he gets bloody voted in again Im going to lose my mind and move to Norway :P
Actually New Zealand is a nicer place
Free Thinker
Shmad: It's not only Canada that is too spineless to stand up to the United States. It's almost every country in the world. Not that I blame anyone, seeing as the USA can blow any country off the face of this earth (however, not likely, the military situation in the USA is a mess right now, and has been for some time).

Canada shall build a military one day when we don't have bloody fools in Ottawa. We need a master plan, not passing laws whenever you have an impulse!
Quote: Originally Posted by Andem

Canada shall build a military one day when we don't have bloody fools in Ottawa. We need a master plan, not passing laws whenever you have an impulse!

True Canada should build a military some day.. Our military sucks @$$. But as for passing laws whenever they get the impulse, its not like that. They pass the laws from pressure by the United States, and their party supporters, because lets face it, they could lose a lot of election dollars if they go against their supporters.

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