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Crown prince: U.S. promises Arafat won't be harmed

From Rula Amin
CNN Beirut

BEIRUT (CNN) -- Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah said Friday he had assurances from the United States that Israeli troops attacking Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's compound will not harm him.

An Arafat spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said he "hoped" what the crown prince had said was true, but he called the Israeli assault on Arafat's compound in Ramallah "very dangerous."

The prince, meeting with reporters, said the U.S. official he had spoken with assured him the United States "will do something."

The Arab League summit Thursday adopted a peace initiative proposed by the prince offering Israel "normal relations" with the Arab world in exchange for a withdrawal from occupied land.

The crown prince said he believed the Israeli people do not support what their government is doing. "I would never think the Israeli people would accept this," he said.

Abdullah blamed the assault on Arafat's headquarters on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, saying, "Sharon is a criminal. He is a man soaked with blood, and he does not represent the Israeli people."

The crown prince said the Israeli people must be aware that to live in peace and security can't happen as long as there is injustice to the other side.

He added that if Arafat is harmed, "the resistance will continue because every Palestinian will become a Yasser Arafat."

The crown prince said he has faith justice will prevail, "if tomorrow, a month or a year, and it will be in favor of the Arabs and the Muslims. Israel can never beat the Arabs."

He said his initiative is an attempt by the Arabs to "reach out with peace, and we will see if the Israelis will take it or not."

Abdullah said that if U.S. President George Bush "understood what is really happening, he would do something because he is a human being."

The crown prince called a suicide bombing by a 16-year-old Palestinian girl Friday in Jerusalem "unbelievable."

"Who would believe a 16-year-old girl would strap explosives to herself? This is what injustice does. ... This is what Sharon's actions do."




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