Arab leaders talk peace; Netanyahu wants security crackdown
September 7, 1997
Web posted at: 3:22 p.m. EDT (1922 GMT)
(CNN) -- The leaders of Egypt, Jordan and the
Palestinians warned Sunday that the breakdown in
Israeli-Palestinian relations was a "grave threat" to the
Middle East, and called on all parties involved to redouble
efforts to carry the peace process forward.
The warning came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
accused Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat of
turning Palestinian-controlled areas into "save havens" for
In Cairo, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, King Hussein of
Jordan and Arafat made the statement after a one-day summit,
which came ahead of this week's visit by U.S. Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright.
The summit called on the international community, and
particularly those with a direct role in the
Palestinian-Israeli peace process, to "increase their efforts
to confront the dangers to the peace process."
U.S. and Arab leaders are looking for ways to revive peace
moves between Israel and the Palestinians, which broke down
in March when Israel broke ground on a Jewish settlement in a
disputed area of east Jerusalem. Since then, suicide
bombings by Islamic militants have thrown the peace process
into even deeper crisis.
The three leaders condemned all terrorist violence and said
that actions toward peace should be resumed as soon as
The talks followed Thursday's bomb blasts in Jerusalem, when
seven people were killed, including the three suicide
bombers, during an attack on a busy open-air mall.
In the wake of the incident, Netanyahu announced that he
considered the Oslo peace accords no longer binding and said
Israel would not hand back any more land until Arafat cracked
down on "depraved terrorists."
Israeli security forces have arrested another 100 suspected
Palestinian militants, the army said Sunday. This brings to
170 the number of people arrested in the West Bank in the
wake of Thursday's bomb attack.
Speaking on CNN's "Late Edition" Sunday, Netanyahu accused
Arafat of still not doing enough to crack down on extremist
"They're walking around totally free, making demonstrations,
declaring that they'll destroy the state of Israel,"
"If Mrs. Albright is going to focus on the security issues,
she is committing a mistake," said Palestinian Communications
Minister Abed Rabbo. "Security has never been separated from
the political aspects, and security is threatened now by the
policies of the Netanyahu government: by expansion,
confiscation of Palestinian land, demolitions and daily
atrocities against the Palestinian people."
He also accused Arafat of creating "safe havens" and "bases
of terrorist organizations minutes away from our major
However, Chief Palestinian Representative to the U.S. Hasan
Abdel Rahman told CNN that Palestinians could not arrest
every sympathizer of Hamas.
He maintained that the Palestinian authority did take
measures against extremists by destroying their
infrastructure, such as bomb factories and weapons caches,
and had arrested a number of suspected extremists.
The Cairo summit came ahead of Wednesday's visit by Albright,
who will be making her first visit to the region. She is
expected to visit Palestinian territories, Egypt, Saudi
Arabia, Jordan and Syria.
On Sunday, both the Cairo summit leaders and Netanyahu
separately welcomed Albright's visit and expressed hope that
her mission would be successful.
Jordan has said that it hopes Albright's visit would generate
ideas to revive the peace process. The United States was one
of the sponsors of the Madrid peace conference and has
actively mediated between Israel and the Palestinians.
Washington has demanded the Palestinians take action against
the militants. Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
pledged a policy of "zero tolerance" of terrorism, but
virtually ruled out the Jewish state's request to arrest
suspected militants en masse.
Correspondents Jerrold Kessel and James Martone Reuters contributed to this report.
Related sites:Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.