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CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

The Quest for Peace

Aired June 14, 2003 - 11:00   ET

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: Next, on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am determined to keep the process on the road to peace.

ANNOUNCER: A new wave of violence threatens to derail the latest plan for peace in the Middle East.

MAHMOUD ABBAS, PRIME MINISTER OF PALESTINE (through translator): Our goal is two states, Israel and Palestine.

ANNOUNCER: A new Palestine prime minister joins a long-time enemy in the struggle to end the violence.

ARIEL SHARON, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: There is now hope that the new opportunity for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

ANNOUNCER: Challenging that peace with terror attacks, the Palestine militant group Hamas.

ABDEL-AZIZ RANTISI, HAMAS SPOKESMAN: We will continue our resistance until achieving our goals.

ANNOUNCER: And the controversial figure who still looms large. A look at the major players who can make or break the quest for peace in the Middle East, now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Just days into a new attempt at peace, and the vicious cycle of violence and retribution have started, again, in the Middle East. A series of deadly attacks on Israel and reprisals by Israeli forces, an all too familiar pattern that threatens to derail the latest peace effort. The leading supporter of the so-called road map to peace was dismayed but resolute.

BUSH: I am determined to keep the process on the road to peace. And I believe with responsible leadership by all parties, we can bring peace to the region.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hope had been high at the seaside summit in Jordan. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a man viewed by most Palestinians as a man of war, was trying to make his way now as a man of peace.

ARIEL SHARON, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: There is now hope of a new opportunity for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As part of the plan Israel had, for the first time, promised to dismantle settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to clear the way for the creation of a Palestinian state.

SHARON (through translator): The idea to keep 3.5 million people under occupation is a bad thing for us, and them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sharon's use of the word "occupation" to describe what Israelis have called the "disputed territories" was a shocking turn aground to many.

ARI SHAVIT, COLUMNIST, "HA'ARETZ" NEWSPAPER: I must tell you personally, that I was stunned. But I do believe there is a genuine element to these statements.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Militant Palestinian leaders who reject the idea of a Jewish state, were dismissive.

RANTISI: We are unified in the trench of resistance against the summit of Aqaba, which deprived us from the right of resistance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a confluence of circumstances that helped lead Ariel Sharon to shake hands with the Palestine prime minister. Sharon's long-time nemesis, Yasser Arafat has been removed as a face in the peace process.

DAVID MAKOVSKY, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: We believed like Bush, that so long Yasser Arafat was the sole address on the Palestine side, it was futile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, let's go! Let's go! Let's go!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Israeli hope was that the United States war with Iraq had created a new dynamic in the Middle East.

MAKOVSKY: In the wake of this earthquake, the vanquishing of the standard bearer of radicalism, Saddam Hussein, there would be maybe a window of opportunity and radicalism would be in disarray.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But as had been the case for decades, unrest again gripped Israel and the occupied territories, as hopes for peace were razed. And as had been the case for decades, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was the man in the middle.

HANAN ASHRAWI, PALESTINIAN LEGISLATOR: To the Palestinians, Sharon is a blood-thirsty murderer, ruthless, cruel, no regard for human life.

MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN, CONFERENCE OF PRESIDENTS, MAJOR AMERICAN JEWISH ORG.: I think they feel strongly about Sharon because they know what a formidable enemy he has been. He has fought them for 50 years. And he has fought them effectively and beaten them at that game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A soldier with roots in the Holy Land. Ariel Sharon was born in 1928 on a farm outside Tel Aviv, where he grew up with his parents and an older sister. The family had come to Israel from Russia seven years earlier to farm the Promised Land. They were part of a huge wave of Zionist immigrants, who worked to turned desert and swamp into fertile ground.

DAVID SHIPLER, AUTHOR, "ARAB AND JEW": Sharon loves the land as a farmer does. And has always regarded the land integral to Jewish identity in that place, that biblical place. I think it's a very secular, but still rather mystical view of land and its importance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Israel's 1948 War for Independence, Sharon was shot in the abdomen, but that did not deter him from a lifetime of military service.

DORE GOLD, SHARON ADVISER: I think Ariel Sharon feels an historical responsibility to save the Jewish state. He's a man who for his entire life has been called to duty in critical moments.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After the war he took time out from the military. In 1953 he married Margalith, a young Romanian woman he had met years earlier on a neighboring farm.

DAVID CHANOFF, CO-AUTHOR, "WARRIOR: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ARIEL SHARON": I think he looked back on that as being a moment that was just extraordinary for its peacefulness, for it's joy.

He felt he had spent his childhood at hard labor and then his youth at war, and that he had missed so much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But his hiatus from war was cut short. In response to a wave of terror attacks the army asked him to come back for a special mission.

SHIPLER: When a Arab terrorists infiltrated into Israel from Jordan, Sharon who headed an army unit, called Unit 101, led into a Jordanian border town called Kibya, and blew up 45 houses in retaliation, 69 Arab villagers died. Sharon said that he didn't know the houses were occupied.

ASHRAWI: He, personally, was in charge. When he heard the women and children yelling and screaming in the homes that they demolished and blew up. And he scattered that legacy throughout. It's a pattern, consistently.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The U.N. Security Council condemned the Israeli action. Sharon called the civilian deaths a tragedy, but he says Kibya was meant to teach a lesson. For every act of Arab terrorism, there would be a heavy price to pay. A lesson he would return to again and again, in the years ahead, as he moved from the battlefield into the political arena.

That story when PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues.

ANNOUNCER: Later, the most recognizable face of the Palestine movement, squeezed out of the summit, but still a powerful force.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a master puppeteer. He has been holding the strings for 30 years.

ANNOUNCER: A look at the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, ahead on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In June 1967, Ariel Sharon, now general, was back at war, this time Israel faced a massive attack from Arab neighbors bent on destroying the Jewish state. Israeli forces launched a preemptive strike to devastating effect.

In six days, Israeli controlled territory tripled in size. For Sharon the victory would soon be tempered by crushing personal news. In October, during the Jewish New Year, Sharon's 11-year-old son, Gur, died of a gunshot wound. He had been playing with one of his father's antique guns.

CHANOFF: Sharon heard a gunshot. Gur was lying there with a terrible facial wound, and he stood there yelling for someone to bring a car. They went to the clinic. The doctor at the clinic said you must get him to the hospital immediately. They got back into the car, and the boy died in Sharon's lap.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was Sharon's second personal tragedy in five years. His wife, Margolith, had died in a car accident in 1962. In 1973, Sharon decided to retire from the military and purchased a ranch that would become his sanctuary in the years ahead. By now, he was remarried to Margolith's sister, Lily.

But later that year, he was again called to fight when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel's holiest day. Sharon led the reversal of Israeli fortunes in the Yom Kippur War with the capture of the Egyptian third army, leading 200 tanks and 5,000 men across the Suez Canal, a feat many consider his greatest military triumph.

GOLD: And it was Sharon's bold generalship that led to the crossing of the Suez Canal, the encirclement of the Egyptian army, and basically bringing about Israel's victory in that war.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hailed by many as a war hero, and by now disillusioned with the liberal Labor Party that controlled the Israeli government, Sharon decided to pursue politics. He was convinced that his experience in battle would help forge peace and security for Israel.

SHARON: And I saw all the horror of the war. I lost my best friends. I was very badly injured twice in battles. Therefore, I believe, that I understand the importance of peace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sharon helped form a right wing coalition of opposition parties called the Likud for unity, and he was elected to the Israeli parliament or Knesset in 1973. Later in the Israel cabinet, Sharon's focus was on security. As minister of agriculture, he was the prime mover behind the settlement of Israelis in the occupied territories.

SHIPLER: The first time I ever met him was on a settlement in 1979 in the West Bank, where he came roaring up the hill in a Jeep, pulled out his maps -- he loves maps -- and started talking about security. And he said, if you raise a child so that he knows every valley, and every hill, and every spring, and every stone, he will consider the land his, and he'll fight to defend it. That's Sharon's view.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To build the Jewish settlements, Sharon deployed bulldozers, and when Israelis came under attack, bulldozers and explosives were used to flatten the homes of Palestinian terror suspects, and homes built outside designated areas. Some nicknamed Sharon "The Bulldozer."

ASHRAWI: "The Bulldozer" is very appropriate. Sometimes we call him "The Raging Bull" but I don't want to insult Native Americans. I think of him as being obsessive and driven, and in many ways quite evil.

GOLD: "The Bulldozer" term really refers to a minister who gets things done and doesn't throw up his hands and say, the bureaucracy has made it impossible. Some may try and use it pejoratively, but that's what it really meant. It means someone who gets things done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To Palestinians, the settlements amount to an illegal land grab and a permanent occupation of their territory.

For some Israelis, the settlements are an impediment to peace.

Even more controversial than the settlements, Sharon's military campaign in Lebanon. In 1982, Yasser Arafat and the PLO were using war-torn Lebanon as a base for deadly attacks on Israel. Sharon, now minister of defense, led Israeli forces through South Lebanon, all the way to Beirut.

SHARON: We came here only for one purpose, and that is to destroy the terrorist PLO, Palestinian organizations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Israeli forces were able to drive Arafat and the PLO out of Lebanon. But Sharon's triumph was short-lived.

SHIPLER: After Arafat and the PLO left West Beirut, under a kind of safe passage guarantee from the Israelis, the Israelis permitted Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia to go into two Palestinian refugee camps, Shabra and Shatilla, where they massacred 700 to 800 people.

Sharon was forced to resign as defense minister after that. He was investigated by an Israel commission, which found that he should have known, as defense minister, that this massacre would take place, if he allowed the Phalangists to go in there. And they found indirect responsibility, as they put it, by Israel for the massacre -- not direct, but indirect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After the massacres, Sharon was, by his own account, isolated within the government, consigned to a series of lower level posts. And he was vilified by Arabs and Jews alike. Sharon retreated to his ranch to refocus on family and his roots.

ROBERT MORGENTHAU, FRIEND OF ARIEL SHARON: He really loves the land and he loves growing things, whether it's watermelons or citrus or sheep. The strain of sheep that he has go back to the biblical days. The thing he wants most, I think, is to go back to his farm and live there in peace, beat the swords into ploughshares.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But peace down on the farm would not last. The occupation continued. The settlements grew. Israel faced more terror. And the lifetime warrior was embroiled in another fight.

That story, when PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: September 1993 brought hope of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. With President Bill Clinton looking on, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands sealing a landmark agreement.

In the Oslo Accords, as they were called, the Palestinians recognized the right of Israel to exist, and the Israelis acknowledged Palestinians could have a state of their own. They also allowed Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to move to Gaza and Jericho on the West Bank. Ariel Sharon and Israeli hard liners hated the Oslo deal.

Sharon, who was again serving in the Israeli Parliament, referred to it as a moral error of the first order.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Jewish people are against the agreement with the murderer Arafat, and we will not forgive. We will stay here in all Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two years after Arafat and Rabin shook hands, the peace process was dealt a shocking setback. An Israeli right-wing extremist assassinated Prime Minister Rabin. Rabin's killing brought a surge of support for the doves in Israel, who wanted to build on the Oslo Accords. But Palestinian terror attacks several months later, gave a boost to Sharon and the Likud hard-liners as national elections approached.

SHARON: We live in the old Middle East. There are many, many problems in the Middle East that have not changed. My grandfather faces this terror. My parents, myself, my children, and all families here that have been facing this Palestinian terror now for five, six generations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Benjamin Netanyahu was elected prime minister and the old warrior, Ariel Sharon, returned to the fold as a member of the cabinet. Two years later, in the fall of 1998, Sharon was at Netanyahu's side when Israel and the Palestinians resumed peace talks at the Wye River in Maryland. With little fanfare, a limited agreement was signed, but Sharon refused to shake Yasser Arafat's hand.

GOLD: He certainly shared responsibility for the signing of the Wye Agreement, along with the rest of the Netanyahu government at the time. But I think at the same time, he had a reading over who Yasser Arafat was. He read the intelligence reports about how Arafat had failed to fight terrorism, and perhaps was in fact giving a green light to terrorism.

And therefore I think he felt the handshake was symbolic, that the handshake would have been inappropriate, given what we knew about Yasser Arafat already in 1998.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sharon's doubts about his lifelong adversary, Arafat, only grew the next time peace talks were held. When Israel made what it considered its most generous offer to date at Camp David in 2000, Arafat didn't counter, and President Clinton blamed him for the breakdown in talks.

After Camp David, Sharon and other hard liners feared that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak might still be prepared to surrender control of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. And in September, Sharon visited one of the holiest sights there, one claimed by both sides.

SHIPLER: When Sharon went to the Temple Mount, he exercised his right as an Israeli citizen to go there. So he didn't do anything illegal, but he certainly did something nonsensical. And by surrounding himself with lots of security people, he basically committed what many Muslims regarded as a sacrilege.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A sacrilege to Palestinians, compounded because Sharon was already so hated by so many.

NASSER AL-KIDWA, PALESTINIAN AMB. TO U.N.: This was the powder keg, which then exploded and caused the explosion of the whole occupied Palestinian territory.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Crowds of Palestinians attacked Israeli security forces. The uprising, or Intifada, returned with a vengeance.

ASHRAWI: He knew that the situation was explosive. It was volatile, and he wanted to ignite the spark that would blow up the whole place and he did it. He wanted to create a situation of insecurity, instability, and fear in order to exploit that to get into office.

GOLD: The visit of Israeli members of Knesset on the Temple Mount is something that had been done in the past, and something that was completely normal and acceptable for an Israeli leader. The Intifada had already broken out before Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Intentional or not, Sharon's visit paid political dividends. And he decided to run for prime minister. He campaigned on a message of peace through security. His key opponent, the prime minister, portrayed him in campaign ads as a ruthless warmonger. And yet, he was elected in February 2001 in the largest landslide in Israeli history.

Now, after two years as prime minister, both Ariel Sharon's supporters, and critics, are watching to see which way he will go. At the Aqaba summit he agreed to the United States vision for peace. One that endorses both Israeli and Palestinian statehood.

SHARON: I am confident that they will find in Israel a neighbor, and a people, committed to comprehensive peace and prosperity for all the peoples of the region.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the cycle of violence that's now overshadowed the summit raises the question of whether Sharon can lead the way to peace.

AHMAD TIBL, KNESSET MEMBER: I would like to be optimistic, but I am not sure Mr. Sharon is willing to do an historical change.

MAKOVSKY: It would be the historic irony that the person who is most associated with Israeli's war, that he would leave a legacy of peace.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, he is the new face of peace negotiations on the Palestine side. The hard road ahead for new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, his story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peace in the Middle East, a legacy many world leaders have tried to call their own. Now a new team lays a plan, a so-called road map to peace. Are these the three who will succeed where so many have failed?

SHIMON PERES, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: You never know who can make history.

MAHMOUD ABBAS, PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Our goal is two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Palestine Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, center stage, only three months on the job but decades behind the scene. To many, hope lies in his hands.

BUSH: Prime Minister Abbas now leads the Palestine cabinet. By his strong leadership, by building the institutions of Palestinian democracy and by rejecting terror, he is serving the deepest hopes of his people. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mahmoud Abbas was born 68 years ago in British-ruled Palestine. When he was 13 years old, his family fled to a Syrian refugee camp in 1948, after Israel declared independence and the surrounding Arab nations declared war. He is also known as Abu Mazen, meaning the father of Mazen. It is a common Palestinian sign of respect and affection that a man is named after his firstborn son.

As a young man, Abbas attended university in Damascus, Syria, then headed to the Persian Gulf during its oil boom, eventually settling in the United Arab Emirates and finding work as a civil servant. There, he cultivated ties with other Palestinian refugees.

In the late 1950s, Abbas was part of a group that formed around charismatic Palestine figure Yasser Arafat. The group that founded Fatah, an organization that favored attacks on Israel in order to clear the way for a Palestine state.

JONATHAN KUTTAB, PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Fatah has always been a strong, numerically large centrist group that also accepts and includes under its umbrella some from the extreme right and some from the extreme left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Arafat was the fighter, the politician, and the symbol of the movement for the Palestine people and the world press. Abbas, the strategist and diplomat who shunned publicity.

SHAVIT: I think Abu Mazen is the polite and more elegant and sophisticated face of the same Palestinian revolution Mr. Arafat represents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A long and deadly revolution on both sides, and even Israelis who respect Abbas on a personal and political level cannot overlook his past posts as head of finance and of security for the PLO.

PERES: The PLO attacked us. That was the policy of their organization, so we must understand that we are living with people that their past wasn't a simple one as far as Israelis are concerned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as Palestinians are concerned, Abbas was known for his close tied to Arafat, but also for the inroads he tried to make with Israelis.

AHMAD TIBI, KNESSET MEMBER: He was responsible in the last 20 years, or even more than that, for the Department of Israel, for the Israeli Department and the PLO relations with the peace group in the very beginning, and then with Israel as whole.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Abbas is a long-time student of Israeli history and affairs, but there have been concerns raised over a doctoral dissertation Abbas wrote while a student in Moscow University in the early '80s.

NATAN SHARANSKY, LIKUD PARTY: Here's the Ph.D. of Abu Mazen. It's about cooperation between Zionism and Hitler, that in fact, Zionists together with Hitler were interested in killing Jews and in fact, they were allies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some Israelis say Abbas is practicing Holocaust revisionism.

SHARANSKY: He shows, in fact, that if there was kind of a mini- Holocaust, it was kind of a plot, preparation between Jews, Zionists and Hitler.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Abbas has expressed a measure of regret for the thesis, describing it as a product of the times, and the Palestinian conflict with Israel, and he has remained a valuable back channel in diplomatic negotiations.

In 1993, PLO head Yasser Arafat sent Abbas to Oslo, Norway for secret meetings with Israel. A landmark agreement was reached, and on the White House lawn, Mahmoud Abbas contributed his signature to the Oslo Accords.

PERES: We knew that he was among the five or six most important leaders of the PLO. In a way, the most balanced and responsible. He's an authentic Palestinian representative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority took control of parts of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with Yasser Arafat serving as its president. But by October 2000, the peace process had broken down, and after a deadly string of suicide bombings and reprisals, the president of the United States called for change.

BUSH: I call on the Palestine people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a promise to support the idea of a Palestine state. But only if the Palestinians created the post of prime minister, which, in President Bush's view, would reduce President Arafat's role.

Eventually Arafat relented, and almost a year later he appointed Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas made a point of condemning terrorist attacks soon after taking office

ABBAS (through translator): All of these attacks must stop so the road is paved for peace between us and Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But attacks hardly stopped after Abbas got the job, and he found he couldn't easily appoint his own cabinet. Negotiations with Arafat dragged on for weeks.

KUTTAB: It's reflected this tension of Arafat wanting to give up some control but not give up all control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Despite support for Abbas from Washington and Israel, the fact is that Arafat remains far more popular among the Palestinian people, and far more influential within the Palestinian Authority.

When we return, the pervasive influence of Yasser Arafat.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yasser Arafat sat in the rubble of his Ramallah compound as his prime minister posed with Israel and the United States. Though out of the spotlight, Arafat remains president of the Palestinian Authority and a key figure in the hearts and minds of his people.

PROF. MUNTHER DAJANI, AL-QUDS UNIV.: If today we have an election, Arafat would win hands down.

DAVID MAKOVSKY, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: Arafat exhorts people to attacks, he opened the jails, led dozens of terrorists out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After failed peace talks and a slew of suicide attacks, it was President Bush who put blame squarely on Arafat.

BUSH: Today Palestinian authorities are encouraging, not opposing terrorism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officially banished from the peace process, he remains a force behind the scenes.

KUTTAB: He is a master puppeteer. He has been holding the strings for 30 years. He is not about to roll over and play dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got his first taste of nationalism in 1948. Nineteen-year-old Arafat joined the ranks of Palestinians who wanted to destroy Israel, the newly formed Jewish state. While studying engineering in Cairo, he arranged the smuggling of weapons from Egypt into Palestine. In 1956, when Egypt went to war with Israel, Arafat fought with the Egyptians.

Following the war, another Arab defeat, Arafat co-founded Fatah, a militant Palestinian group that would later become the violent wing of the PLO.

MATTHEW LEVITT, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: By virtue of Fatah being the largest organization within the PLO, he became chairman of the PLO.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1967, Israel launched a preemptive strike on Arab neighbors preparing to destroy the Jewish state. After six days of fighting, Israel tripled in size, having captured territory from Egypt, Syria and Jordan, including East Jerusalem.

UZI ARAD, FORMER ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: It was around that time that Arafat emerged as a Palestinian leader. He came on the scene in the '60s, and that's when he started his career as a flamboyant terrorist. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under Arafat's leadership in the early 1970s, the PLO and its various factions turned terrorism into a household word, committing a string of assassinations and hijackings.

Despite the terror attacks, Arafat was invited to speak to the U.N. General Assembly in 1974.

ARAFAT (through translator): Today, I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: U.N. recognition did not change the ways of the PLO. In 1982, the PLO, now based in Lebanon, launched a series of deadly raids against Israeli forces. Israel invaded Lebanon, literally driving Arafat and the PLO out to sea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

ARAFAT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It is not a picnic, it is a revolution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He settled in Tunis. Then, several years later, as Palestinians in Israeli-occupied territories staged a violent uprising, Arafat finally indicated the PLO might be willing to compromise.

At a special U.N. assembly in Geneva, Arafat not only recognized Israel's right to exist, he uttered the words many longed to hear.

ARAFAT: That we totally and absolutely renounce all forms of terrorism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in September 1993, the lifelong Palestinian fighter sealed the historic peace agreement by shaking hands with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The Oslo Accords put in writing that the Jewish people were entitled to a state of their own. The agreement also paved the way for Arafat to move to Gaza and establish the Palestinian Authority.

ARAFAT: Making a peace is more difficult than to make war. Any (UNINTELLIGIBLE), any officer, any general can make peace -- they can make war, but to make peace, it is a courageous thing to implement peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two years after the famous handshake, an Israeli right wing extremist assassinated Prime Minister Rabin. It dealt a personal blow to the Palestinian leader, and crushed the peace process' momentum.

At Camp David in 2000, in the most far reaching proposal to date, Israel offered to withdraw its military from most of the West Bank and the entire Gaza Strip. It also allowed for Palestinian control over East Jerusalem. Arafat did not think the deal went far enough. He rejected it. The talks failed.

In the two and a half years since the Camp David talks, Israel and the territories have been locked in a bloody cycle of suicide bombings and retaliation.

Pressure mounted on Arafat to stop the attacks.

ARAFAT: Did President Bush succeed to stop the attack of bin Laden? You have the biggest power of the world. I am doing 100 percent of my effort, but no one all over the world can give 100 percent results.

ZUCKERMAN: He puts a lot of tigers into a cage, he organizes these tigers in different cages, and then says to the people who control the gates to the cages, why don't you open those gates, and then he says, oh, my goodness, the tigers are killing people, I'm really shocked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Bush and the Israelis may have lost patience with Arafat, but he is still revered by the Palestinian people as an enduring symbol of strength and defiance.

DAJANI: You cannot take away from him the fact that he has spent all his life fighting for the Palestinian resistance movement.

SHAVIT: As far as most Israelis are concerned, Arafat had his chance and blew it. Mr. Abbas is definitely going to get a chance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still, Arafat's combative nature makes some observers weary.

LEVITT: He certainly is capable of playing the role of spoiler. There is an opening here. The question is how far will Yasser Arafat and his loyalists allow this door to open.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we come back, another element of the Palestinian struggle, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) influence of Hamas. Can the new Palestinian prime minister stop the violence?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The intifadah, the spontaneous 1987 Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation heralded the rise of Muslim fundamentalism in what had been a mostly secular Palestinian movement. The most popular of these groups, Hamas, an Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement. In English, Hamas means zeal. Its aim, the destruction of Israel.

KUTTAB: Hamas is an Islamic movement. At the very beginning, it was encouraged by Israel because they thought it was a counterweight to Palestinian nationalism, which is, of course, a secular movement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hamas was founded in 1988 by a blind paraplegic cleric, Sheikh Yassin, who was influenced by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. With backing from Israel, Yassin had set up charities in the impoverished Gaza Strip in the 1970s.

KUTTAB: Slowly it became more and more politicized, and more and more extreme in its demand for an Islamic state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The extremism eventually took the form of suicide bombings and terrorist attacks. But Hamas had already become an important part of Palestinian society through its charity work, and its influence increased over time by providing community services when the Palestinian Authority did not.

LEVITT: Hamas plays on the Palestinian Authority's failure to produce. Its basic message, the Palestinian Authority is corrupt, it fails to deliver, Hamas is not corrupt. Hamas cares about the person on the street, and it does deliver. And it's a message that sells. Unfortunately, those same charitable organizations, those same charity committees that funnel the funds to needy Palestinians, also serve to support Hamas' terrorist attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Israel and the United States say Yasser Arafat has not been tough enough on terrorism, and have attempted to force him out of the current peace process.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen, must now contend with Hamas' rejection of side by side Palestinian and Israeli states, a cornerstone of the new peace plan. He's trying to convince Hamas to co-exist with Israel. Conservative Israelis are skeptical.

ISRAEL MEDAD, ISRAELI SETTLER: He is not working against Hamas, he is working in tandem with Hamas. He is negotiating with them. He is not telling them to disband and to deregulate their weapons, so I have no faith in the ability of Mr. Abu Mazen to put terror aside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Settlers like Medad call the just concluded American-Israeli-Palestinian summit a surrender, and were not impressed by Abbas' appeal to Palestinian hard-liners.

ABBAS (through translator): The armed intifadah must end, and we must use and resort to peaceful means in our quest to end the occupation and the suffering of the Palestinians and Israelis, and to establish the Palestinian state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups rejected Abbas' call to end their attacks with a deadly raid on an Israeli army outpost in Gaza.

RANTISI: We are all saying that resistance will continue despite the summit of El-Aqaba/Sharm el-Sheikh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Israel retaliated with a helicopter attack on Hamas' Rantisi. It missed him and killed civilians.

RANTISI (through translator): At Hamas, we will not drop our weapons, even if all leaders are assassinated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since the second intifadah began in 2000, the Israeli government says over 700 Israelis have been killed. During the same time, there have been more than 2,000 Palestinian deaths, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, including Hamas leaders targeted for assassination.

KUTTAB: If you want an end to terrorism, if you want an end to violence, you have to give people hope and you have to give them a stake in the political process. I think that Hamas is ready to join the political process. However, if the only price for the political process is you must fight Hamas, you must kill Hamas, if that's what they are requiring Abu Mazen to do, they are almost mandating that he will fail.

PERES: The main test of Mahmoud Abbas will be to establish an overall command over all armed groups. If not, it doesn't have a chance. You know, leaders have to do things which are unpopular at the beginning. And only when they are being done, and people understand it, they gain popularity.

But if you're in search of popularity, it's like to be in search of the wind.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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