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Barak: New Palestinian leadership needed


TEL AVIV, Israel (CNN) -- Peace in the Mideast will come only when "different Palestinian leadership of the caliber of President Sadat or King Hussein" emerges, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday.

However, he told ABC's "This Week" he did not think Israel should forcibly remove Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

"I don't think that we have to have our fingerprint, our finger on the trigger that gets rid of him," Barak said. "It's up to the Palestinian people."

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Barak, whose dovish stances are thought to have contributed to his loss in last year's election to Ariel Sharon, said Israel should strike even harder in response to the latest violence, to "make it clear that Israel would never, never yield to this Palestinian terror campaign."

Weekend violence that began with a suicide bombing Saturday outside a synagogue in Jerusalem killed 20 Israelis and four Palestinians.

Barak also said Israel should make it clear to the Palestinian Authority that "door is open" to resume negotiations, if the violence stops. And he repeated his support for a plan by Sharon's for a fence that would create a buffer zone between Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Barak said Arafat deliberately opened the terror campaign, even after President Clinton presented a proposal Barak characterized as close to Palestinian demands. That plan would have created a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital.




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