Arafat Offer to Visit Jerusalem Viewed by Shamir As ‘trickery’

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir had little but contempt Monday for Yasir Arafat’s declaration that he is ready to go to Jerusalem, with Arab world consent, to talk peace.

“Trickery” and “public relations stunt” were some of the epithets used by Shamir to dismiss the Palestine Liberation Organization chairman’s statements, which were made in a weekend interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

Shamir issued his reaction during a tour of northern villages a day before Tuesday’s second round of municipal elections. A runoff is required where no mayoral candidate achieved at least 40 percent of the vote in the first round of elections on Feb. 28.

Shamir said it was not serious to compare Arafat’s latest proclamation to the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in November 1977. “Sadat intended peace,” Shamir explained, “while this man, this chief murderer, intends not peace but deception.”

Shamir referred to the current spate of attempted border infiltrations from Lebanon as evidence of the Palestinian terror group’s determination to thwart any advance toward a negotiated solution.

He said that as hard as the terrorists try to infiltrate, the Israel Defense Force will try even harder and with greater perseverance to keep them out.

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