Barak Slams Arafat on U.S. TV
Oct. 08, 2000
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat started the latest round of Palestinian-Israeli bloodshed and will be responsible for the consequences if he does not stop it.
``We know Arafat started this. ... We know he can stop it,'' Barak said. ``If he doesn't ... it means he deliberately decided to put an end to the peace process and go back into conflict.''
Fighting began Sept. 28 after hard-line Israeli politician Ariel Sharon visited a shrine holy to Muslims as well as Jews. It escalated into the worst confrontation in four years, with 82 people killed, almost all Palestinians, and the violence continues. Barak said Saturday that Arafat must stop the trouble within 48 hours.
Appearing live Sunday on NBC's ``Meet the Press,'' Barak refused to speculate whether war might be imminent.
``From now on, if it will become clear that there is no partner, we will have to see him as a rival, not a partner,'' and act on that, Barak said.
``I don't want to use the definitions or the terms of the battlefield,'' he said. ``But we will have to see the whole systems and institutions of Arafat as it is. You know he violated every agreement with us. ... He even allowed his police and soldiers to shoot at our people.''
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, appearing on the same program, said, ``We have to do everything we can not to be at the brink of war in the Middle East.''
She spoke of the importance of disengagement between both sides, both Israeli forces and the ``rock-throwers and Palestinian gangs.''
She said she understands Barak's ``incredible sense of frustration'' but said: ``We need to try to break the violence. That just hasn't happened. ... There has to be disengagement.''