Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS
CNN TV
EDITIONS
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS


CNN BREAKING NEWS

Adviser Discusses Violence in Israel

Aired March 29, 2002 - 08:26   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: I've just learned that joining us on the telephone right now is Ra'anan Gissin in Tel Aviv, who is a spokesperson for the prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon.

Mr. Gissin, thank you very much for joining us on A.M.

We just had Saeb Erakat, the Palestinian Authority negotiator, on the air, and he says it is his belief that your government is trying to kill Yasser Arafat. Is that true?

RA'ANAN GISSIN, ADVISER TO ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: No, that's nonsense. Mr. Erakat has been well known, I'm sorry to say, for the past, for looking straight into the camera and telling the most incredible lie. And this is not the first time.

By the way, Arafat has nothing to worry about, his personal well- being. The action that we're taking is intended to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, which he built around himself, in his own headquarters, the Moqata'a, which has become a center for terrorist activity and they're harboring terrorists there, supporting them, feeding them.

In other words, Mr. Arafat has been answering the criteria established by President Bush for those people who are assisting terrorists and aiding them and you know what President Bush said about their fate.

However, we have no intention of harming him personally. What we do intend to do...

ZAHN: All right...

GISSIN: ... is to dismantle his terrorist infrastructure, which he promised to do, but failed to do it.

ZAHN: All right, Mr. Gissin, before you go any further, you have said that you are in no way trying to harm him, he is in no danger, and yet our reporters on the ground in Ramallah are confirming that 25 of his security guards have been wounded and that there is return gunfire coming from Mr. Arafat's office, that that part of the compound has actually been hit. Is that not true?

GISSIN: First of all -- no. No. First of all, we did not open fire on them, but of course when our forces received fire and they received it, some of the security guards decided to open fire. Then, of course, that was the result was that our forces returned fire.

But that's only an act of self-defense. His own headquarters and well being is not being harmed. Apart from that, yes, we went through various parts of the Moqata'a, of the headquarters, in order to accomplish our mission, which is to uncover terrorists wherever they are, to destroy the terrorist infrastructure which he built around him, and we will, by the way, we will continue to do it in other cities in other places until such time that the security forces will find that the mission has been accomplished and that will enable us to pull out.

ZAHN: Mr. Arafat, in a statement to Al-Jazeera, actually, a live television news conference, essentially said that he is calm and that he is ready to die. And the analysis is that perhaps this, what the Israelis are trying to do is a multi-pronged process. This is the first step, first isolating him and then expelling him from Ramallah. Is that the goal?

GISSIN: Well, right now, as I said, at this stage, and that was the way the prime minister phrased it, at this stage he will be isolated. He will be declared an enemy and be isolated. Look, the man is responsible for the death of those poor innocent men, women and children in all those suicide bombings. He instigated those bombings. He encouraged them. Even in the speech today he encouraged the young Palestinians to become shahids. He even mentioned that he wants to become a shahid. And that encouraged continuous attacks against Israel instead of stopping them.

Now, because he did not take the necessary measures and actions, which he promised and pledged to Gen. Zinni and in I don't know how many agreements that he signed, we said enough is enough and after such an attack we are going to do the job that he was supposed to do. And once we finish that, to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and remove that threat, perhaps there will be also men of reason in the Palestinian Authority which will be willing to sit and negotiate...

ZAHN: All right...

GISSIN: ... a cease-fire and peace without the threat of terrorism.

ZAHN: Mr. Gissin, I know that you have denied the Palestinian charge that Israelis fired into Mr. Arafat's office. You're now saying all they simply were doing was defending themselves after the Palestinians fired at them. What happens if Yasser Arafat ends up dead?

GISSIN: Well, we, as I said, we don't intend to kill him and I believe if as long as he takes good care of himself, then he will remain isolated in the Moqata'a and nothing else will happen to him.

ZAHN: What does that mean, takes good care of himself?

GISSIN: Well, you know, I hope that no one of his forces makes any attempt on his life or whatever. The point -- I want to make it very clear, Yasser Arafat is the leader of this organization, of the Palestinian Authority, and he heads a coalition of terror. Therefore he is held responsible. What we are doing now is to put pressure on him and he knows what the choices are. If he continues in this role, then everything around him, everything that he has built as a part of that terrorist infrastructure, we will take care of it, or, he...

ZAHN: Mr....

GISSIN: ... has another option, which is that he can take care of it. And he has to make that choice.

ZAHN: Mr. Gissin, one last question for you. The Palestinians also argue that the timing of this is tremendously suspect, at a time when the Arab League signed onto the Saudi peace plan, where Mr. Arafat essentially signed onto the, a cease-fire yesterday, that this is nothing but provocation on the Israelis' part.

GISSIN: There are no connection whatsoever. We've been facing a wave of terrorist attack. Each one of these attacks was for us like ground zero in the United States. No nation, no sovereign nation on earth today would suffer such attacks without responding and exercising its rights of self-defense, and Israel has been doing just that, exercising its right to self-defense in the face of the heinous crime initiated, perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Yasser Arafat.

ZAHN: All right, Mr. Gissin, we're going to have to leave it there.

Thank you very much for your time this morning.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com





 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top