FM Peres to PES Participants: Arafat erred in rejecting Clinton proposals and deciding to open fire; Israel will not commit suicide by accepting Palestinian right of return

(Communicated by Foreign Minister Shimon Peres’ Bureau)
May 8, 2001

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres last night (Monday), 7.5.2001, told his interlocutors at the Berlin congress of the Party of European Socialists (PES, see that it is possible to advance the process along the diplomatic outline proposed in the Mitchell Committee report and the Egyptian-Jordanian initiative which include – first and foremost – a cease-fire, confidence-building measures, a cooling-off period and the resumption of diplomatic negotiations in order to achieve a permanent settlement on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions #242 and #338, with the first stage being negotiations on the implementation of existing signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.

Foreign Minister Peres also said that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has recently made two mistakes: First, he rejected former US President Bill Clinton’s proposals and opened fire instead. Second, he did not see to it that there was only one armed Palestinian force; since there is more than one armed force, there is neither administration nor sovereignty.

Foreign Minister Peres also cited the series of unilateral steps which Israel has taken to ease conditions in the territories.

Foreign Minister Peres met this morning (Tuesday), 8.5.2001, with Danish Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and Foreign Minister Mogens Lykketoft. When the Danish leaders noted their concern that Israel was responding too forcefully, Foreign Minister Peres expressed his amazement that Denmark was not condemning Palestinian terrorism, but only Israel’s responses.

Foreign Minister Peres accused PA Chairman Arafat of, "wanting a monopoly in Jerusalem," and added that, "If someone thinks that Israel will accept the right of return and commit suicide, the answer is, ‘No!’"

The PES is being attended by – inter alia – the prime ministers of Germany, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, senior ministers from European union member states and leaders of Europe’s socialist and left-of-center parties.