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BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: ZVI SHTAUBER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR MARCH 10th, 2002

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: I'm going to turn now to the Ambassador here in the studio but our thanks to Saeb Erekat there joining us from Ramallah. A meaningful peace process, well I suppose there's been a slight bit of progress there, Mr Sharon has said that, that he would talk about a ceasefire while there was still violence going on rather than waiting for that week, which he was demanding. But I mean do you see any signs, do you think that the Saudi plan could help?

ZVI SHTAUBER: The Israeli public is in great pain.

DAVID FROST: Pardon?

ZVI SHTAUBER: The Israeli public is in great pain, in fact all these terror activities shattered many dreams and a lot of good will of the vast majority of the Israeli public who actively sought to bring about a solution based on two stages my friend Saeb Erekat whom I know very well, I participated with him in different parts of the negotiation, is trying to reconstruct history, the Israeli public does not know at this moment what do they want? We offer them more than a year and a half ago 96, 97 per cent of the land, they had no reason to start this uprising in this, this campaign of terror. Nobody knows and that's the most disturbing thing in the Israeli public, what do they want? We were ready to arrive to a negotiated solution and I must tell you that what's happening changed dramatically the public mood in Israel. It's very hard to speak all those nice words when you are not sure that your son or daughter going to a Pizza Hut isn't coming back.

DAVID FROST: Oh I understand but while we talk of 330 Israelis, most of them defenceless who have been killed. I mean there's over a thousand Palestinians, it's three times as bad for the Palestinians?

ZVI SHTAUBER: There is a big difference between the Israeli activity and the Palestinian activity and Saeb Erekat is correct, we are bombing the police, police stations, we, and I am very disturbed when innocent people are hurt on the Palestinian side. We are not deliberately targeting civilians as the Palestinians do. It does not give us any happiness, it's unfortunate, it's horrible, that we have to face this situation. We prefer not to be in this conflict at all, it's not of our doing, they initiated it and from our point of view it can stop tomorrow morning.

DAVID FROST: Ambassador thank you very much indeed, we'll return to this subject, it would be good not to have to but we know we will have to. Thank you very much indeed.

ZVI SHTAUBER: Thank you.

END


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