June 2, 2002

DM Ben-Eliezer meets US Asst-Secy. of State Burns
(Communicated by the Defense Minister’s Media Adviser)

Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer met this morning (Sunday), June 2, 2002, in Jerusalem, with US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs William Burns. US Ambassador to Israel Daniel C. Kurtzer and OC Planning Maj.-Gen. Giora Eiland also attended the meeting.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer said that the situation in the region was even more serious and explosive than meets the eye because the security establishment has received warnings of severe attacks now being planned by the Palestinian terrorist organizations. Fatah-Tanzim has recently returned to leading the terror campaign and there have been no orders or attempts by Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat or the PA to halt its activities.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer asked the US to form and lead a united front – consisting of the US, Europe and moderate Arab countries – that would unequivocally press Arafat to halt terror and violence. "The only way to halt the deterioration in the region is to unmercifully press Arafat from all possible directions," the Defense Minister said.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer also reiterated the importance of US pressure on Syria to halt both Hizballah attacks and the organization’s efforts to build up its armaments.