- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 31, 2002

CRAWFORD, Texas President Bush yesterday urged Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to do "a lot more" to end terrorist attacks by ordering his supporters in Arabic to stop the violence.
The president also criticized Iran for continuing to support terrorist cells and Syria for failing to quell terrorism.
But the president did not call for Israeli withdrawal from Mr. Arafat's West Bank compound, shelled yesterday by Israeli helicopter gunships in the second day of a seige that threatens to lead to all-out war.
"I think Mr. Arafat could have done more three weeks ago and can do more today," Mr. Bush said in a hastily called press conference at his Texas ranch.
"And that also means speaking out clearly, in his native tongue," a somber Mr. Bush said just minutes after another attack by a suicide bomber in a crowded Tel Aviv cafe wounded dozens. "He's got a lot of people that listen to him still."
"I believe he needs to stand up and condemn, in Arabic, these attacks. … I believe he can do a lot more to prevent attacks, such as the one that just occurred in Tel Aviv," the president said.
While Mr. Bush expressed support for a United Nations Security Council resolution passed early yesterday morning, he did not mention one of its main tenets: immediate Israeli withdrawal from the Arafat compound.
Instead, the president repeatedly affirmed Israel's right to defend itself against terrorist attacks, connecting that nation's effort to the United States' own mission against terror.
"I fully understand Israel's need to defend herself. I respect that. It's a country that has seen a wave of suicide bombers coming into the hearts of their cities and killing innocent people. That country has a right to defend herself," Mr. Bush said.
Throughout the 17-minute press conference, the president laid the blame for Mr. Arafat's current plight squarely at the feet of the Palestinian leader.
"I know I have been disappointed in his unwillingness to go a hundred percent toward fighting terror. That includes using security forces to help prevent suicide bombers from crossing certain lands," Mr. Bush said.
"He has got to speak out clearly. He's got to make it absolutely clear that the Palestinian Authority does not support these terrorist activities and use the security forces to prevent them from happening," he added.
Mr. Bush said nations in the region must do more to pressure Mr. Arafat to end the violence. As he has before, the president criticized Iran for aiding terrorist cells around the world. He also called on Syria to do more to end terrorism in the Middle East.
"The Iranians must step up and stop sponsoring terrorism. The Syrians must participate. If people want peace in the region, there has got to be a united effort against terror. And so we will continue to lead, to talk and urge world leaders, particularly those in the region, to do everything they can to shut off the capacity of people to come and bomb," Mr. Bush said.
Asked if the United States must take a more active role in the Middle East, including a personal effort by the president to speak with the Palestinian leader, Mr. Bush said: "Mr. Arafat, he doesn't need a phone call from me. All he's got to do is watch what I just said. And that message will be delivered to him."
"Our role is very visible, and our role is very active. And I firmly believe that we can achieve a peace in the region, but not until … there is a concerted, united effort to root terror out," he added.
Mr. Bush also said Mr. Arafat appears not to truly want peace. "It's clear to me the more progress we make toward achieving a cease-fire or meaningful security discussions, the more a killer organization will try to disrupt the process," he said.
The president said U.S. envoy Gen. Anthony Zinni will remain in the region to continue his efforts at arranging a cease-fire. Mr. Bush also made a series of phone calls to world leaders yesterday, among them King Abdullah II of Jordan, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar of Spain and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, who has offered a leading peace initiative.
"I spoke to Jose Maria Aznar, he's the head of the [European Union] now, and he told me, he said, … 'the world must fight off these terrorists, and the region can do more, in my judgment,'" Mr. Bush said.
The U.N. resolution passed yesterday calls for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah, where Mr. Arafat's compound is located. The resolution also called on both Israel and the Palestinians to move "immediately" toward a cease-fire.
The Norwegian-sponsored resolution passed 14-0, with Syria not taking part in the vote.
Israel's U.N. ambassador, Yehuda Lancry, criticized the resolution, saying it gave "a prize to the Palestinian terrorists" by not appealing strongly for an end to suicide bombing attacks and calling into question Israel's right of self-defense.
Palestinian delegate Nasser al-Kidwa, however, praised the resolution but said he hoped it had been more forceful. He called the measure "an important step that could represent a positive contribution to stemming the deterioration."
In his weekly radio address, Mr. Bush referred indirectly to the conflict in the Middle East


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