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Bush: Suicide Bombings Are Terror

April 1, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush appealed Monday for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to order a halt to the suicide bomb attacks in Israel and the West Bank. ``Suicide bombings in the name of religion is simple terror,″ Bush said.

But the president stopped short of applying to Arafat his oft-repeated own statements that those who harbor terrorists are terrorists. He said the Palestinian leader is excepted because of his past efforts to negotiate peace.

``There will never be peace so long as there is terror, and all of us should fight terror. I’d like to see Chairman Arafat denounce the terror,″ Bush said during a meeting with New York’s governor and New York City’s mayor.

As for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Bush urged him to ``keep a pathway to peace open,″ and said he believes he remains committed to negotiating peace.

Bush spoke as members of the Senate turned up pressure on him to get more directly involved in the Middle East peace process. He said those critics ``must have not been with me in Crawford (Texas) when I was on the phone all morning long″ talking to leaders in the region.″

Earlier, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer denied that Bush gave tacit approval for Israel’s fierce crackdown, saying ``the Israelis did not seek a green light″ from the United States.

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