Israel must withdraw ‘fatwa’ against Arafat

The Green Party is calling on the Government to summon the Israeli representative to the Beehive to express New Zealand’s indignation at Israel’s threat to murder Yasser Arafat.

“We must tell Israel quite bluntly that civilised society rejects political murder,” said Keith Locke, the Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

“State terrorism of this sort is no more acceptable than the terrorist actions of suicide bombers.

“This threat comes amid continuing assassinations of other Palestinian leaders. Any move against Arafat would be a deathblow to peace negotiations and any hopes for a settlement of the Israel — Palestine conflict.

“There can’t be successful negotiations unless Israel respects the Palestinian choice of Yasser Arafat as their leader.

“New Zealand, in cooperation with other nations, has to convince Israel to withdraw its ‘fatwa’ against the Palestine leader.

“Otherwise the cycle of violence will continue with both the Israeli Government and Palestinian groups justifying their terrorism by what the other side is doing,” said Mr Locke.