CNN BREAKING NEWS
Interview With Raanan Gissin
Aired September 11, 2003 - 15:56 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to update you on Ramallah where hundreds of Palestinians are gathering around the compound of Yasser Arafat. This comes after -- the protest is coming just hours after the Israeli Security Cabinet decided in principle to remove Arafat. Now there's a possibility, as a spokesman was saying, it might not mean actually expelling the Palestinian leader, but perhaps tightening restrictions on him.
We have on the phone with us right now Raanan Gissin. He is the senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. I want to get some more clarification about this vote that the security cabinet has taken and his reaction to the protesters outside of Arafat's compound. Mr. Gissin, thank you for being with us.
RAANAN GISSIN, ISRAELI CABINET: Good afternoon.
KAGAN: Are you able to see the same pictures we are, with all the people gathering around Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah?
GISSIN: Well, I have seen the pictures in the past, I've seen pictures for the past week here, as well. And I think two years, you know, after today, after the horrendous attack against the United States, the world campaign against terrorism, three years after Yasser Arafat's bombs, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a campaign of terror that took the lives of over (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
Well I think today the Israeli cabinet has made a right decision. And I think that decision means that today those involved in terrorism, including the one around which (UNINTELLIGIBLE) gathered who are involved in terrorism (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KAGAN: All right, Mr. Gissin, it's a little bit difficult to understand you, but I'm going to try to get a couple questions in here, anyway. First of all, can you clarify please, the vote? Does it mean Israel will forcibly remove Yasser Arafat from Ramallah?
GISSIN: It doesn't mean that. It means that the government of Israel, the cabinet has taken a decision in principle, which I think is important on this symbolic day.
The decision is to remove, and I quote, "to remove the main obstacle to peace, the process of peace and reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians. That obstacle has been identified for a very long time now as Mr. Arafat himself. Mr. Arafat and the strategy he has adopted. So the cabinet has today resolved to remove this obstacle, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ways by which this will take place. It will be decided separately and the security services will continue to monitor the situation and make the recommendation about the proper action as they've done in the past.
KAGAN: So that threat hangs over the head of Yasser Arafat, you talk about symbolism, sir. A lot of people who are critical of this exact type of move and this exact type of vote say you're just turning Yasser Arafat into a martyr and if you see the people...
GISSIN: No, we're not just turning him into a martyr. We're just turning him into much more worried terrorist. That's what we are doing.
GISSIN: ... worried more about their personal fate maybe more people would be alive today.
KAGAN: All right, we'll be tracking it from Ramallah and from Israel as well. Raanan Gissin, senior adviser to Ariel Sharon, thank you for your time, sir. Appreciate that.
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