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Interview with Ra'anan Gissin

Aired September 19, 2002 - 06:53   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: More about that breaking news out of Israel right now. A suicide bomber boards a bus in Tel Aviv at the height of the lunch hour. We believe at least five people are dead. Forty people are injured.
We want to go to Ra'anan Gissin, who is Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's adviser.

He joins us live now.

Sir, your reaction?

RA'ANAN GISSIN, ADVISER TO ARIEL SHARON: Well, it's a sad afternoon in Israel. You know, after more than six weeks in which we were able, through intensive work, to prevent suicide and homicide bombings, we've had today a major one, a major suicide bombing in the heart of Tel Aviv. Five dead and more than 40 wounded.

No doubt that the terrorist groups, the Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Tanzim, the Al Aqsa Brigades have a very high motivation to conduct terrorist activity and they've proven that.

And the sad thing here is that the Palestinian Authority is taking no action whatsoever to stop terrorist activities.

COSTELLO: Well, they...

GISSIN: I would add also that as a result of the rumbling of war, perhaps there is an intention here to create an escalation here and on our northern border by these terrorist groups.

COSTELLO: Mr. Gissin, are you referring to Iraq and the United States?

GISSIN: Well, there's no doubt that the anticipation of something happening there and the fact that these forces are all part of the axis of evil, as we call it, those forces, the terrorist groups and, of course, Iraq, who supports them and other countries, Syria, who support these terrorist groups have a clear intention perhaps to create here a source of escalation in order to deflect, perhaps, any effort to launch an attack against Iraq. That's the only way I could explain this increase in the number and the efforts by the terrorist groups to launch these attacks.

COSTELLO: So what is Israel going to do?

GISSIN: Well, we will have to continue what we have done up to now. It only indicates how urgent it is needed to have those real reforms in the Palestinian Authority, to reform the security forces which today are really supporting terrorist activities and build and construct and put instead of them security forces that will fight terrorism, that will stop terrorism.

The name of the game today and in the foreseeable future is fighting terrorism. And if the Palestinian Authority wants to move back to the negotiating table, that's the first thing they have to do, a cessation of terrorism and incitement.

COSTELLO: Well, they have come out, the Palestinian Authority, condemning all such violence.

GISSIN: It's not words. Words won't help you. No, this is the real game right now. And if the Palestinian Authority and its leaders want to lead the Palestinian people to a political horizon that will offer them hope and not despair, then they should drop terrorist activity and they should fight terrorist activity.

COSTELLO: And how do you...

GISSIN: The lines have been drawn. Either you're on the side of the terrorists or you're against them. You can't be in the middle.

COSTELLO: How do you want them to do that? What should they do? What action do you think they should take?

GISSIN: Well, you know, we have had a program, Bethlehem, in Gaza first, and we expected them to take some action, particularly in Gaza, where their forces are intact, against terrorist activity, but nothing happens. I mean we have daily occurrences of mortar fire, incursions, suicide bombing, homicide bombing and it's only our tenacity and our ability to stop these terrorist activities which creates a seemingly lull in the level of activity.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to stop this one and the results you can see in the pictures.

COSTELLO: So, will Israel intensify its efforts in Palestinian controlled areas by going into homes and arresting people and their families?

GISSIN: You know, this is the real tragic outcome of this because our intention was to ease restriction. Our intention was to provide humanitarian aid to the population, to return life back to normal. But every time we lift the curfew, every time we ease restrictions, we get another wave of terrorist activity exploiting our goodwill, exploiting our willingness to allow Palestinians to come back to work.

COSTELLO: And with that, sir, we must let you go. I understand you have another commitment you must get to.

Ra'anan Gissin, Ariel Sharon's adviser.

GISSIN: Thank you. COSTELLO: Thank you for joining us this morning on a very sad occasion. A suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. We believe five people dead, at least 40 people injured.


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