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Palestinian official urges U.S., Europe to push peace

Erakat
Erakat  

AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- As Israeli helicopter gunships attacked targets associated with the Palestinian Authority, the chief Palestinian negotiator urged the United States or Europe to jumpstart the stalled Middle East peace process.

"If we leave the situation the way it is now, I'm afraid the worst is yet to come," Saeb Erakat told CNN after the Arab Summit in Amman. "This situation will lead to more explosions, more unfortunate dead on both sides. ...

"My question to the Israelis today: Do you have a partner in the peace process or not? Do you have a program for peace or not?"

The comments came shortly after Israeli Defense Forces began attacking targets linked to Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat, responding to a series of attacks against Israelis.

 VIDEO
Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat reacts to the attacks

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Video of the fire and destruction in Ramallah

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 TIMELINES
graphic Recent acts of violence in the Middle East:
 • Bombings
 • Activist deaths
 

A member of Arafat's elite bodyguard unit -- Force 17 -- was killed in one of the bombardments. The Palestine Red Crescent Society said two other people were wounded in Ramallah and four were wounded in Gaza City.

Israeli officials said Israeli intelligence had linked Force 17 with three bombings in the past two days in Israel.

Erakat said the Palestinian Authority was not to blame for those attacks, and added that Palestinians have been "dying every day" in recent months.

He urged the United States or European Union to step in to bring both sides back to the negotiating table. "What we need is sanity," he said.

"We want to salvage the situation. We want the revival of the peace process," Erakat said. "We can't allow it to die. Palestinians and Israelis have no alternative. ... Palestinians and Israelis need peace more than any people on Earth."



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RELATED SITES:
Palestinian National Authority
The Israeli Prime Minister's Office
Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Israel Defense Forces

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