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Arafat’s Adviser Doubts Sincerity of Sharon Pronouncement

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Palestinian-state pronouncement “means nothing until his words become genuine actions.” That was the reaction of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yassir Arafat’s adviser Nabil Abu Rudeina, in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam.

Sharon talked on Monday of the futility of the “occupation,” yet the Palestinian Authority [PA] maintains that the real test Sharon has to withstand is turning his words into reality. Abu Rudeina said “the important thing is to implement the Road Map and to stop the aggression against our people, the Palestinian nation…we wish to transform words into action and this is the real test. Regarding talks while the occupation continues, this will be of no benefit.”

Abu Rudeina also responded to the reported statement of Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz that Israel will accept the Palestinians’ end of violence but will not be obligated to stop assassinations or aggression. Abu Rudeina claimed this is an “Israeli attempt to impede the efforts to reach an internal Palestinian agreement for a cease-fire.”

Sharon said during a meeting of his own Likud Party on Monday that “controlling 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation is bad and cannot go on endlessly. We must end this situation in a way that will ensure our own security. Do you want to continue staying in Jenin and Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem? I don’t think this is right.”

Yet Abu Rudeina claims that Sharon’s pronouncements are only an attempt to soften the international rejection of the continuing Israeli occupation.