|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
The region is better off now: Israel
November 11, 2004 18:50 IST
Last Updated: November 11, 2004 19:31 IST
Israel on Thursday said Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat's death would be a "historic turning point" for West Asia and expressed the hope that it would lead to cessation of terrorism in the region.
"Israel is a country that seeks peace and will continue its efforts to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians without delay," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom echoed Sharon by saying Arafat's death heralded "a new era".
"Our region, after Arafat, has turned into a different region, and in my view, will be a better region," he told Army Radio.
"Arafat for years led the ideology that it is possible to achieve by the force of arms and the path of terror what might have been achieved by negotiation," he said.
"This path of forty years of involvement in terrorism has yielded only victims, blood and destruction."
"I hated him for the deaths of Israelis... I hated him for not allowing the peace process... to move forward," Deputy Prime Minister Yosef Lapid told Israel Radio.
"It is one of the tragedies of the world that he didn't understand that the terror that began here would spread to the entire world," he added.
Opposition leader Shimon Peres, who shared the Nobel Prize with Arafat in 1994 for the Oslo peace accord, said, "There is no doubt that with the death of Yasser Arafat an era has ended... for good or bad."
"The biggest mistake of Arafat was when he turned to terror. His greatest achievements were when he tried to build peace," he told Israel Radio.