- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 24, 2002

JERUSALEM New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton last night accused Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat of responsibility for sustained and bloody terrorist attacks that, she said, threatened not only Israel's security but also the United States in its own war against terror.
She also labeled Iran the greatest world danger, with a buildup of nuclear capacity, missile technology and unrelenting hatred of Israel and the West.
Addressing a high-powered audience of American Jewish leaders and an Israeli Cabinet minster here, Mrs. Clinton maintained that Israel's fight against Palestinian terrorism was crucial to the future success or failure of the Western world in crushing current international terror campaigns.
"Israel is the canary in the mineshaft and will largely determine what happens next to American and the rest of the world," she said.
She was making an address in a hotel in whose entrance way a suicide bomber blew himself up last year. Today, she is to visit the pizza restaurant where several teen-agers were killed in another suicide attack, and will also meet with injured survivors of other terror atacks.
She came to Israel despite warnings from friends of dangers from further terrorist attacks, she said, because it was "imperative not to give the terrorists any victory, no matter how small" by being scared off. She called on Christian American tourists to Israel, whose numbers have been cut by half in the past year, to follow the example of Jews worldwide their visits to Israel in 2001 actually increased slightly from the previous year.
She also criticized as "way out of line" a State Department advisory asking tourists not to visit Israel, while being less discouraging about Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Israel's new tourism minister, Binyamin Elon, who took the job in October after his predecessor was assassinated by Palestinian militants, described Mrs. Clinton as "a source of inspiration," though he later used the same phrase to describe President Bush.
U.S. political analysts here said Mrs. Clinton's attack on Mr. Arafat in which she also said it was "important for him to realize that violence cannot succeed" was by far her strongest intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
She said there was "no longer any possible excuse" for the Palestian leader not to prosecute all those using violence against Israel "without a revolving door" a reference to U.S. and Israeli claims that some arrested militants are released soon or are only put under token arrest.
"[Mr. Arafat] knows who they are, where they are and what they are doing," Mrs. Clinton asserted.
She said peace negotiations could not succeed until "terrorist networks are totally disrupted or eliminated."
The heavily anti-Arafat tone of Mrs. Clinton's address contrasted with her speech in December 1998 at the Gaza refugee camp, where she had saluted what she said was Mr. Arafat's "leadership, determination and courage." She also had enraged Jewish leaders worldwide by embracing Mr. Arafat's wife, Suha, right after she accused Israel of poisoning Palestinian water supplies and using chemicals to damage the health of Palestinian children.
Last night, at least one of the 50 U.S. groups represented in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations stayed away from the dinner at which she was the guest speaker. When she arrived, hugging several veteran American Jewish leaders, a few delegates remained seated while the others gave her a standing ovation. After she spoke everyone stood and applauded enthusiastically.
"Oh, I think all is forgiven and forgotten," said Leonard Cole, chairman of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, which has 130 affiliates nationwide. "She said everything right, and I believe she meant everything she said."

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