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Thursday, 25 April, 2002, 02:18 GMT 03:18 UK
Excerpts of Mubarak's speech
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Mubarak has taken his diplomatic gloves off
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said that Israel has "overstepped all boundaries" in its activities in the West Bank.

Following are excerpts from his address to the nation on the 20th anniversary of Sinai Liberation Day, as broadcast by Egyptian satellite TV on 24 April:

"In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.


We in Egypt condemn the use of violence and counter-violence as a method of settling the crisis

Hosni Mubarak
"Brother citizens, on this date, 25 April [20 years ago], Egypt's flag was hoisted over the last site of Egypt's precious land, heralding Sinai's full return to the bosom of the homeland, and the flags of liberation were raised over all the international borders of the homeland after liberating every grain of sand on its land...

"Brother citizens, 20 years have passed since this tremendous accomplishment in April 1982.

"And although Egypt has regained control over every inch of its own land, its national commitment to the causes of the Arab nation has made it devote all efforts to establish a comprehensive and just peace that will enable the Palestinians to establish their independent state on the land occupied in 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital, enable Syria to regain the entire Golan [Heights and return to] to the 4 June 1967 borders and enable Lebanon to regain the land that remains under Israeli occupation.

"However, what is happening today, namely the reoccupation of the Palestinian National Authority's self-rule areas, the shameful siege of the democratically elected leaders of this authority and the barbaric and systematic aggression against the unarmed Palestinian people to suppress their demand to end the occupation and regain their legitimate rights, notably the right to establish an independent state with Holy Jerusalem as its capital - all this represents a gross infringement on all laws and norms.

"This also demonstrates the lack of any clear vision for peace on the part of the Israeli government, which imagined that military force would help it fulfil the promises it made to its voters, namely, to achieve security and stability.

Overstepping boundaries

"Israel has overstepped all boundaries this time by laying siege to the holy Church of the Nativity and perpetrating horrific human rights abuses in all Palestinian towns and villages, particularly the Jenin town and refugee camp.

"It has also tried to cover up those violations by preventing relief agencies and the media from entering those towns, villages and refugee camps until the horrific crimes committed by the Israeli Defence Force under the pretext of combating terrorism had been concealed.

"It relies on interpretations seeking to equate the legitimate Palestinian resistance against occupation with terrorism on the one hand, and to avoid branding horrific Israeli practices as state terrorism on the other.


Israel has overstepped all boundaries this time by laying siege to the holy Church of the Nativity and perpetrating horrific human rights abuses in all Palestinian towns and villages

Egyptian president
"Although we in Egypt condemn the use of violence and counter-violence as a method of settling the crisis, and although we believe that the creation of an independent Palestinian state as soon as possible, to live side-by-side with the state of Israel with both states enjoying peace and security within internationally recognized borders is the only way to achieve peace and stability... Israel has refused to implement the Security Council's resolution which calls for an immediate withdrawal from Palestinian areas and has rejected initiating real peace negotiations based on the terms of reference of the Madrid Peace Conference... and the Arab peace initiative adopted by the Beirut summit recently, as well as other US and international visions for peace, which were approved by the Security Council.

"All this has led to the current escalation of violence and counter-violence as a result of the Palestinian people's feeling of humiliation, despair, frustration and the loss of hope in any near future.

"The Israeli Government is mistaken if it thinks that its military operations in the Palestinian areas would restore security and stability.

"They can only lead to entrenching feelings of hatred, rancour and the desire for retaliation not only in the minds of the Palestinian people, but also in the minds of approximately 300 million Arabs living between the [Atlantic] Ocean and the Gulf.

"The Israeli Government is also making a grave mistake by undermining the Palestinian National Authority and its democratically and legitimately elected president, who will remain the only leader capable of uniting the Palestinian people in the pursuit of just peace.

"The Israeli Government is also making a mistake by abusing human rights and defying the international will while relying on the slackness of some international powers that fail to play their desired roles and abandon their international responsibilities in order to achieve short-term interests.

Anger

"Despite the feelings of anger, which have swept across Arab streets everywhere because of these incidents, the Egyptian people have behaved in a civilised manner while expressing their feelings and not allowed this crisis to damage their political, economic and social gains achieved over many years.

A student from the American University in Cairo protesting
Protests have been held across Egypt
"They realised the importance of not overreacting on both the official and public levels to the point that would impede our ability to preserve those gains, achieve more gains or play a leading role in the peace process....

"I pray to God the Almighty to safeguard our unity and guide us to the right path for He is the greatest supporter. May the peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

24 Apr 02 | Middle East
Mubarak denounces Israel
25 Apr 02 | Middle East
No breakthrough in Bethlehem talks
16 Apr 02 | Middle East
Eyewitness: Inside ruined Jenin
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