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Arafat condemns terror attacks

Arafat said the Palestinians were victims "daily oppression" by Israel  

DOHA, Qatar (CNN) -- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat told an emergency session of the foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference that he condemned the "blind terrorism" of the attacks on the United States.

Arafat said he also welcomed the signals from the Bush administration of its support for a Palestinian state.

But the Palestinian leader also blasted Israel's policies and behavior toward the Palestinians in the occupied territories in the West Bank and Gaza, saying that while the world is busy confronting the "blind terrorism," Israel has been imposing a siege for 13 months on "our people and our land."

He also said Israel is taking advantage of the attacks to escalate attacks on Palestinians and reoccupy Palestinian land.

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The OIC ministers are seeking a united stance on terrorism in the wake of the attacks last month in the United States. The agenda includes the parallels made in the West between Islam and terrorism, the Afghan refugees and the Palestinian question.

Arafat referred to the attacks in the United States repeatedly as "blind terrorism."

"It must be clear that this blind terrorism is not justified because it targets the holy right of man to life without being part in any political conflict," he said.

"Allow me to announce our condemnation of the horrible crime which hit New York and Washington and led to the loss of thousands of innocent citizens. We announce that we put all our humble means under the Seville of all the nations of the world in order to protect this world from the threat of blind terrorism, which threatens the international community."

Arafat said the Palestinians welcome the "significant stance" of the Bush administration. The administration recently said that it envisions a Palestinian state if Israel's right to exist is respected.

"He stressed that the Palestinian state has always been one of the U.S. (visions) for peace in the Middle East," he said, noting international support for such a state. "We are fully prepared to act seriously and positively in support of this international and American attitude, which meets the aspiration of our people."

As for Israel, Arafat said the Palestinians are victims "daily oppression" and "colonialism" by Israel. He said "biased powers" like Israel are trying to hold Islam responsible for the terror attacks. But Islam is innocent of the terror attacks, Arafat said.

"Israel is turning our green land into a barren land, a burned land," he said, adding that Israel "will not hesitate" to bomb Palestinian cities, villages and camps by jets and helicopters "which send their murderous shells on our people."

He said Israel refuses peace and negotiations. He said it is taking advantage of the tragedy in America to "escalate" its "aggression" and to reoccupy parts of our "liberated land."

"You see the tanks, you see the planes, you see the helicopters bombing and shelling and raiding our cities," Arafat said, claiming that Israel uses internationally banned weapons.

Arafat said he supported a political solution based on Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian and Arab territories. He called for a fair resolution of the conflict based on U.N. and other international resolutions regarding the conflict. He said that Israel must withdraw to the June 4, 1967 borders.

• Organization of the Islamic Conference

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