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Arafat's successor: Palestinian state will replace Israel

SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Thursday, December 22, 2004

The new leader of the ruling Fatah movement said the Palestinians want to replace Israel with a state of their own.

Fatah chief Farouk Khaddoumi said the Palestinian strategy toward Israel was two-fold. In the first stage, he said, the Palestinians would accept a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In the second stage, the Palestinians would seek to eliminate the Jewish state.

In November, Khaddoumi replaced the late Yasser Arafat as leader of Fatah, Middle East Newsline reported.

"At this stage there will be two states," Khaddoumi told Iran's Al Aram television last week. "Many years from now, there will be only one."



Khaddoumi, who regards himself as Palestinian foreign minister, said he was confident that Israel would be eliminated. He said he always opposed Israel's existence and cited the Arab numerical superiority over the Jewish state.

"[There are] 300 million Arabs, while Israel has only the sea behind it," Khaddoumi said.

Khaddoumi said his platform was endorsed by the PLO in 1974. He said the strategy called for a phased plan that would establish authority over any territory obtained from Israel, concluding with an Arab war to destroy the Jewish state.

[On Thursday, the Palestinian Authority launched the first municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in more than 25 years. The PA has been promising such elections since 1996.]

The Fatah chief played down the powers of PA ministers. Khaddoumi said the Fatah Central Committee marked the source of authority for the PA and Cabinet.

"The Palestinian Authority is a partial authority," Khaddoumi said. "It is a local government, just like any local government in any country. We shouldn't delude ourselves that these 'ministers' are actually ministers." [On Thursday, Palestinian gunners fired 30 mortar rounds into the Gush Katif community in the central Gaza Strip. The attack was launched from the Khan Yunis refugee camp hours after Israeli forces left the area.]


Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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