Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat is hoping John Kerry wins the presidential election in November, several Palestinian leaders told WorldNetDaily.
Arafat deputy and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told WND in an exclusive interview that while “we do not involve ourselves in internal American politics,” at the same time “our region has been sliding deeper and deeper into chaos because of certain policies over the past few years, and this needs to change.”
While he would not directly endorse Kerry, it was clear Erekat was implying the PA wants a change in White House leadership: “If things continue the way they are, if certain policies toward our region are maintained in the years to come, there is going to be a lot of violence on both sides.”
A prominent Arafat aide who asked that his name be withheld spoke to WorldNetDaily from Arafat’s battered Ramallah compound.
“The president [Arafat] is frustrated with Bush’s policies,” he said. “The president [Arafat] thinks Kerry will be much better for the Palestinian cause and for the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
Also today, PA Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath said the future of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is unsure if George W. Bush is re-elected to office, and he complained the U.S. presidential election was stalling the Middle East peace process.
“During an American election and the three months after, allies of the United States should do more work than they would do otherwise.” Shaath told a news conference.
While the comments mark the first time the PA has endorsed Kerry on the record, it has not been a secret that Arafat is frustrated with Bush’s leadership.
Israel Military Intelligence Chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze’evi has warned Arafat is biding his time until November, when the Palestinian leader hopes President Bush will be voted out of office and Ariel Sharon’s coalition government will fall.
“Arafat is waiting for November in the hope George Bush will lose the election to John Kerry,” Ze’evi told Army Radio in July. “He also hopes that the Israeli government will fall, so he can take center stage diplomatically.”
Since 2002, Washington has fully backed Jerusalem’s decision to isolate the Palestinian Authority president, who Sharon says is directly involved in planning terrorism and is an obstacle to peacemaking.
Many Israeli and American Jewish leaders have been expressing concern that a Kerry administration will cause more violence in the Middle East and could bring Arafat back to power. They say they are worried about Kerry’s statements of coordinating American foreign policy with the Europeans, some of whom favor talks with Arafat, and are disturbed by Kerry’s appointment of several former Clinton Mideast policy directors as advisers, particularly former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk.
Many blame Clinton’s failed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict –which sought Israeli territorial concessions for promises of peace by Arafat and ignored indications of growing Palestinian militancy and violations of security-reform agreements – for partially causing the current intifada.
Indyk, who helped devise the 1993 Oslo Accords, was a driving force behind Clinton’s assessment of Arafat as a statesman and urged Clinton to accept Arafat as the legitimate ruler of the Palestinians. Under Indyk’s advisory, Arafat visited the White House during the Clinton administration 24 times, more than any other world leader during those eight years.
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