The Israeli paper online Yedioth Ahronoth, published an interview done by channel 10 with the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat Sunday evening, and broadcasted the interview on its evening news.
Channel 10 – Mr. President, today Sharon will present his Gaza withdrawal plan to his government, are you, the Palestinians, ready to take full security responsibility in the Gaza Strip?
Arafat: I already said before, several times, that we are ready, butÃ¢â‚¬Â¦I have some Questions, Is he going to evacuate Gaza? If so, when? Will his withdrawal be partial?
Channel 10 – Why did the Egyptians refuse to take responsibility in Philadelphi aces?
Arafat: The Egyptians are ready to send 60 experts to help us in both the security and economic affairs, the Jordanians are ready to help as well.
Channel 10 – Are their any meetings with any Israeli delegate?
Arafat: I think soÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Channel 10 – Are there any meetings?!
Arafat: I thinkÃ¢â‚¬Â¦yes.
Channel 10 – With you, Mr. President?
Arafat: No, not with me.
Channel 10 – They are boycotting you.
Arafat: Yes, butÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Channel 10 – What if the meetings resume?
Arafat: With pleasure!
Channel 10 – Will you be ready, to hold a meeting with Sharon?
Arafat: Yes, of course.
Channel 10 – Will you be ready to meet Sharon?!
Arafat: YesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t we meet before?
Channel 10 – But, today everything changed, after all what happened?
Arafat: after all what happenedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. between whom peace agreements needed? Between friends?! Peace is needed between those who fight each otherÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Channel 10 – Would you send a message to Sharon, now, and invite him to meet you?
Arafat: Yes, I extend my hand out to Sharon, the nation in Israel, the Knesset and the Israeli government, but if he does not want to meet me, I suggest that he meets Abu AlaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
Channel 10 – Would you call form immediate cease-fire?
Arafat: Yes, but a Bilateral cease-fire
Channel 10 – Bilateral?
Arafat: Yes, this is what the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Road MapÃ¢â‚¬Â calls for.
Dahlan: I would not advice to hold the meeting in the MokataÃ¢â‚¬â„¢a.
Channel 10 – Why donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you both meet with Sharon, in Jerusalem?
Arafat: why not.
Channel 10 – Would you come to Jerusalem and meet with Sharon?
Arafat: Yes, why not, didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t we meet before in various places? If we want peace, place is not an obstacle.
Channel 10 – But, you know it depends on Bush, and he is boycotting you too.
Arafat: No, he is not, our relations with the USA are there. It is true he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t meet me, butÃ¢â‚¬Â¦he receives my messages, and I get his answers back!
Channel 10 – Do you have anything to say to Netanyahu, who apposes the withdrawal?
Arafat: I just want to remind people Ã¢â‚¬Â¦who signed the Hebron agreement with me? WasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t he Netanyahu? DidnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Netanyahu and Sharon sign the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Wye RiverÃ¢â‚¬Â agreement with me?
Channel 10 – The problem here is not between the peoples, it is between the leaders, maybe you have a personal problem with Sharon.
Arafat: Ok, I am offering peace, with the government, and the people.
Channel 10 – And open a new page?
Arafat: it’s not a new page, it’s the world is offering.
Channel 10 – Will the Intifada end then?
Arafat: Is the issue only about ending the Intifada, or ending violence from the two sides?
Channel 10 – Israel, is talking about giving Mohammad Dahlan the security responsibly in Gaza.
Arafat: I have another job for him.
Channel 10 – What Job?
Arafat: I will not tell.
Channel 10 – What about the Qassam shells, and stopping Ã¢â‚¬Å“the fundamentalsÃ¢â‚¬Â of Hamas and the JihadÃ¢â‚¬Â?
Arafat: didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t we stop the shells for a long period?
Channel 10 – What is the number of bombing you managed to stop?
Channel 10 – 34 suicide bombings?
Arafat: Yes, 34 suicide bombings.
Channel 10 – During the recent period? After the assassination of Yassin?
Arafat: yes, during the past six weeks, no, the past seven weeks.
Channel 10 – Is that why the situation is calm in Israel?
Arafat: This is not the only reason.
Channel 10 – You are the leader of the revolution, why donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you give the second generation, the opportunity to lead, like Abu Fadi (Dahlan), and Abu Rami (Jebril Al-Rjoub), and tell them Ã¢â‚¬Å“Count on God and continue the path I started?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Arafat: Good, but I have to ask, why is Sharon still in office? He is as old as I am. Peres, is even older, isn’t he?! The issue here is not about age, it’s about actions, besides, arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t there any aged leaders in this world? I am an elected president, I did not force myself upon the Palestinians, am I an elected leader?
Channel 10 – Yes, why donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you hold a symbolic position?
Arafat: that is not my decision; we have a constitution.
Channel 10 – How is life under siege?
Arafat: its not easy, when I go out to see someone, or meet someone, when my eyes are exposed to the light, they tear, am not used to the sun anymore, the doctor told me to expose my self to the sun, even for half an hour a day.