Mistaken assertions that Arafat has not condemned terror “in Arabic”

Yasser Arafat

Specifically, Bush wants the Arab leaders to compel Arafat to crack down on Palestinian militants. Powell will warn them they will bear responsibility if terrorism continues, said a senior Bush administration official. The appeal to Arab moderates also reflects Bush’s frustrations with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, whom Bush seems to be giving a final chance to get involved in the peace process. “He needs to speak clearly, in Arabic, to the people of that region and condemn terrorist activities. At the very minimum, he ought to at least say something,” Bush said.

Source: “Bush Expresses Concern to Sharon”, by Ron Fournier, White House Correspondent, Associated Press, 7 April 2002.

Contrary to what US President George Bush and various media sources have said about Palestinian President Yasser Arafat needing to condemn suicide bombings “in Arabic”, below are translations of three recent statements made by Arafat or representatives of the Palestinian Authority and broadcast in Arabic over the Voice of Palestine radio station, Palestine TV, or WAFA (the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency):

Arafat: “On this occasion, I would like once again to reiterate our condemnation of yesterday’s operation in Netanya, in which a number of innocent Israeli civilians were killed and wounded. This operation constitutes a deviation from our policy and a violation of our national and human values. I affirm our commitment to working toward an immediate cease-fire, as we informed General Zinni. We highly value his efforts. We informed him that we are ready for the immediate implementation of the Tenet’s work plan without conditions, and without prejudicing any of its articles. Also, we have informed him of our readiness to implement the Mitchell Report recommendations in cooperation with the four-way US-Russian-European-UN committee headed by Gen. Zinni.”

Source: Arafat speech broadcast on Palestinian TV, in Arabic, on 28 March 2002, at 20:08 GMT.

Abd-al-Rahman: “The Palestinian leadership strongly denounces the Netanya operation against Israeli civilians, particularly because it was carried out today, during the Passover and when General Zinni is continuing his mission to bring about a cease-fire.”

Source: PA’s Abd-al-Rahman Criticizes Netanya Bombing, Ramallah Voice of Palestine, in Arabic, on 28 March 2002, at14:00 GMT.

Arafat: “Today, I emphasize once again the complete and immediate halt to all armed operations. Once again, I call for a complete halt to all operations, especially suicidal operations, which we have always condemned. We will punish all those who carry out and mastermind such operations. This also applies to the firing of mortar shells, which have no objective but to provide an excuse for the Israeli attacks on us, our people, our children, and our women. Any violation of this decision will be considered an attempt to harm the higher national interests of our people and of our Arab nation.”

Source: Speech by Yasir Arafat, PA president and PLO chairman on the occasion of Id al-Fitr in Ramallah, Gaza Palestine Satellite Channel Television, in Arabic, on 16 December 2001 at 16:00 GMT.