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'West Asia peace only after Israel vacates Palestine'
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | September01, 2003 11:29 IST
There can be no durable peace in West Asia till Israel vacates Palestinian territory, Palestine Foreign Minister Nabeel Shaath has said.
Speaking to journalists at Delhi's Foreign Correspondents Club Nabeel said he is thankful to the Indian government for listening to the Palestinian point of view before the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on September 22.
"I had a good meeting with Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Principal Secretary Brajesh Misra. They assured us of continued support to the case of the Palestine people," he said.
He condemned the terrorist attack in Mumbai. "Any incident in which innocent civilians are killed needs to be condemned. Whether it be blasts in Mumbai or attack on New York," he said.
He accused Israel of trying to enforce its own solution on the people of Palestine by resorting to violence.
"The road map prepared by US government is the right way to bring about peace in Middle East. Palestine as a state has to be established. Israel is trying to impose its own solution by building eight-metre high wall in Jerusalem and increasing the number of Jew settlements within our own land. These settlements have to go," he said.
He rejected the argument that there can be no peace till President Yaseer Arafat resigns.
"Yaseer Arafat is the President of Palestine and nobody can dictate to us who should lead Palestine. He is ready to contest and get himself elected," he explained.
What kind of peace do you expect in the region when one sends in suicide bombers and the other sends in helicopter guns ships?
Expressing helplessness at controlling militants, he asked, "How can we control them when Israel has destroyed the Palestine police force. More than 2000 of Palestine policemen are under detention in Israel."
He denied that there was any similarity between the situation in Kashmir and Palestine.
"How can you compare the two? We are fighting for our rights to have an independent state of Palestine," he added.