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Thursday, 12 October, 2000, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
Israeli deputy premier: 'It's war'
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer
Ben Eliezer wants a national emergency government
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer has said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has chosen a path of war with Israel and the peace process is now dead. He was speaking in an interview on Israel Radio on Thursday.

[Ben Eliezer] Those listening to what I have been saying in the past week or 10 days - I have been saying that there are different nuances now, instead of fire there are stones - know that Arafat did not mend his ways in the strategic sense.

We are on a collision course - this is war

Binyamin Ben Eliezer

At some point he decided to opt for the path of violence and confrontation. Those who haven't understood it so far had better understand it today, and those who want to go on deluding themselves can go on doing so.

We are on a collision course. This is war. Arafat has decided to choose this path. I very much suggest to all of us to change the programme in our brain once and for all and to understand -

[Interviewer, interrupting] Should we instead adopt the stance of the right wing, which has long ago said that Arafat is not a partner, that he has given the green light to terror, and has conducted a revolving-door policy with regard to Hamas terrorists - all of which is happening now?

[Ben Eliezer] ... Arafat's absolute and clear answer is war. That's what he wants, period.

I cannot think of any other government or prime minister who pursued a better tomorrow more than this government did. However, all that is over. The story is behind us. There is no political process today, and the peace process is dead...

[Interviewer] Clinton is no longer sure that he understands Arafat either.

[Ben Eliezer] You can hear it yourselves. There is no peace process. I propose that we get ready for a situation of terror and bombings, and simply understand -

[Interviewer, interrupting] And for a unilateral separation from the Palestinians, as the prime minister wants?

[Ben Eliezer] Listen, what does separating unilaterally from the Palestinians mean?

[Interviewer] It means deciding on the borders of the State of Israel ourselves, without negotiations.

[Ben Eliezer] We will separate unilaterally from the chance of concluding the peace process at this point. If it happens in another two or three years - until then all that needs to be done is one single thing: The Israeli people must rally as one.

[Interviewer] You are talking about an emergency government.

[Ben Eliezer] That's what I have been saying all along: A national emergency government. That's what I have been screaming from the rooftops for almost two weeks.

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.

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12 Oct 00 | Middle East
'Breakthrough' in Mid-East mediation
11 Oct 00 | Media reports
Israel 'reaping Arab whirlwind'
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