Australia cancels Arafat invitation

SYDNEY, June 24 (JTA) — Australia is withdrawing an invitation to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, who invited Arafat during their meeting in March in Bethlehem, said this week that he had withdrawn the invitation after the prime minister decided a visit to Australia was “inappropriate.” Fischer did not say whether he had obtained the prime minister’s agreement prior to issuing Arafat the invitation. Ali Kazak, the Palestinian representative in Australia, said the government’s action was “undignified, contradictory, unprofessional and unfriendly.” He charged that the government had succumbed to pressure from Australian Jews. Senior Jewish community officials said no pressure had been placed on the government to cancel the invitation.

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