Arafat Clarifies Statement to
Satisfy U.S. Conditions for Dialogue

(December 14, 1988)


Frantic last minute efforts by third party intermediaries, which included Swedish diplomats, seeking to find the right formula acceptable to the United States, led Yasser Arafat to call a press conference in Geneva, where he clarified his 13 December General Assembly speech. This time he mentioned specifically "the right of all parties concerned in the Middle East conflict to exist in peace and security, including the State of Palestine, Israel, and their neighbours. This time he renounced, rather than condemned terrorism. Following is the text of the statement which Arafat read at the opening of his press conference:


"Let me highlight my views before you. Our desire for peace is a strategy and not an interim tactic. We are bent to peace come what may. Our statehood provides salvation to the Palestinians and peace to both Palestinians and Israelis. Self-determination means survival for the Palestinians. And our survival does not destroy the survival of the Israelis as their rulers claim."

Recognition of UN resolutions 242 and 338

"Yesterday (Tuesday) in my speech I made a reference to the United Nations Resolution 181 (on the partition of Palestine) as the basis for Palestinian independence. I also made a reference to our acceptance of Resolutions 242 and 338 as the basis for negotiations with Israel within the framework of an international conference. These three resolutions were endorsed at our Palestinian National Council session in Algiers."

Recognition of Israel's right to exist

"In my speech also yesterday (Tuesday) it was clear that we mean our people's right to freedom and national independence according to Resolution 181 and the right of all parties concerned in the Middle East conflict to exist in peace and security and as I have mentioned including the state of Palestine and Israel and other neighbours according to the Resolutions 242 and 338."

Renunciation of terrorism

"As for terrorism, I renounced it yesterday (Tuesday) in no uncertain terms and yet I repeat for the record that we totally and absolutely renounce all forms of terrorism, including individual, group and state terrorism. Between Geneva and Algiers we have made our position crystal clear.

"Any more talk such as the Palestinians should give more - you remember this slogan, the Palestinians should give it more - or it is not enough, or the Palestinians are engaging in propaganda games and public relations exercise, will be damaging and counterproductive.

"Enough is enough. Enough is enough. Enough is enough. All remaining matters should be discussed around the table and within the international conference. Let it be absolutely clear that neither Arafat nor any (one else) for that matter can stop the intifada, the uprising, The intifada will come to an end only when practical and tangible steps have been taken towards the achievement of our national aims and the establishment of our independent Palestinian state.

"In this context I expect the EEC to play a more effective role in promoting peace in our region. They have political responsibility, they have moral responsibility and they can deal with it.

"Finally, I declare before you and I ask you to kindly quote me on that: We want peace. We want peace. We are committed to peace. We want to live in our Palestinian state and let live."


Source: Israeli Foreign Ministry