- OCCUPIED-AL-QUDS - Israel
will ask for Iran to be declared a state sponsor of terrorism following
the seizure of a ship alleged to be carrying 50 tonnes of Iranian arms
for the Palestinians, the foreign ministry said on Friday.
- "Since the ship was carrying Iranian weapons,
Minister Shimon) Peres will next week call upon the leaders of the
community to declare Iran a terror-supporting state," the ministry
said in a statement. It also quoted Peres as saying that "the seizing
of this ship is an important turning point for the Palestinian
and that he would make the request "next week."
- "They cannot continue playing games, they have to
make a strategic decision whether they support terrorism or they are
it," Peres said in the statement. According to Israel's armed forces
chief, General Shaul Mofaz, marine commandos boarded the freighter Karine
A in the Red Sea on Thursday, and found 50 tonnes of weapons, including
long-range rockets, anti-tank missiles, mines and explosives.
- Mofaz told a press conference in Tel Aviv on Friday that
the ship "belonged to the Palestinian Authority" and was
by an officer of the Palestinian navy. The link between the boat and the
Palestinian Authority is "evident, clear and brooks no denial,"
he alleged, charging that it gave the lie to Arafat's protestations of
seeking peace with Israel.
- "The boat was bought, paid for and financed by the
Palestinian Authority -- which gets donations from Europe and around the
world -- in order to arm itself to the teeth," added senior Israeli
foreign ministry official Gideon Meir. However, the top advisor of
leader Yasser Arafat, Nabil Abu Rudeina, told reporters that the
Authority "has nothing to do with" the ship.
- "We don't know anything (about the boat), we have
nothing to do with this," Abu Rudeina told reporters in the West Bank
city of Ramallah. "This is Israeli propaganda intended to sabotage
Zinni's mission," he said, referring to the US peace envoy Anthony
Zinni who is trying to hammer out a ceasefire between the sides. But Israel
rejected the Palestinian Authority's disclaimer.