ROME (Aug. 23)
Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasir Arafat thanked Italian Socialist Party leader Bettino Craxi for his support, as Craxi met with Arafat and other PLO leaders in Tunisia over the weekend.
According to the Socialist Party organ Avanti, Arafat praised Craxi for his backing of a Palestinian state, and said he hoped for greater and more direct Italian humanitarian aid for Palestinians living in territories “militarily occupied by Israel.”
Craxi reportedly told Arafat the human rights situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was “absolutely intolerable.”
Craxi, a long-time supporter of the Palestinian cause, has met several times previously with the PLO head. His visit in Tunisia, described as a “vacation,” also included meetings with PLO “foreign minister” Farouk Kadoumi.
Last week, Craxi issued a stinging attack of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, accusing Shamir of “fanaticism.”
With the exception of the Republicans, most of Italy’s political parties tend to support the Palestinians.
On Monday, Republican official Guglielmo Castagnetti sharply criticized Craxi for displaying to the PLO “solidarity and friendship that far too indifferently forgets the tremendous responsibility that PLO terrorism carries with it.”