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Crisis in the Middle East: Is the Peace Process Dead?Aired October 12, 2000 - 4:52 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MIKE HANNA, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: In addition to Ramallah, the other focus of attack was the vicinity of Gaza City -- Gaza City, where the Palestinian Authority president, Yasser Arafat, has his headquarters -- Gaza City, where he was negotiating with international mediators at the time that the Israeli attacks took place.
From Gaza City, this report by CNN's Rula Amin.
RULA AMIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Palestinians say this is a turning point in their peace process with Israel. We spoke to Palestinian officials, who had described this as a declaration of war by Mr. Barak. Also, the head of the Palestinian security, Chief Mohammed Dahlan said that Mr. Barak's attack has killed whatever is left -- or was left of the peace process.
Now, a lot of positions had been hit in Gaza. The marina, which is some -- there were some fishing boats there. There were also boats for the Palestinian marine force, from the -- police stations were hit. And also, a further organization headquarters was hit. This is the organization of Mr. Arafat. Also, we spoke to Mr. Arafat, who said that this is not going to deter him, basically, and that this will not stop his march to Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.
We also heard details from one of the Palestinian officials on what has happened in Ramallah to those soldiers. The Palestinian officials said that the four soldiers were in civilian clothes. They had weapons. They were -- they came in an ambulance to a funeral of one of the people who were killed by Israeli gunfire, and that, during the procession, people discovered that they were Israelis.
They thought and they assumed that these were undercover units -- Israeli undercover units. And they attacked them -- and then that the Palestinian police tried to protect them, but failed, because the crowds were really angry, and they were very frustrated. Also, we're hearing here that some of the Hamas detainees -- prisoners -- in -- within the Palestinian Authority jurisdiction had fled out of the prison, according to a Palestinian security official, who says that during the attack, when Palestinian police were trying to protect themselves, and in the chaos, Hamas prisoners had gone out of the prison. They escaped their prison. This is according to a Palestinian official. Also, we're hearing that the Israelis have asked the U.N. force in Hebron -- it's the U.N. force that observes what is going on in Hebron between Palestinians and Israelis -- and according to a Palestinian source, the Israelis have asked this U.N. force to leave Hebron.
Rula Amin, CNN, Gaza.
HANNA: Throughout the past two weeks of violence, mediators have talked of the necessity to create a new psychology, a psychology of peace, rather than one of war. Well, on this day, it was clear which psychology was dominant: a cycle of violence gathering intensity, leaving a peace process already dormant in tatters.
A final word perhaps from the U.N. secretary-general, Kofi Annan, still, at this time, attempting to broker an end to these hostilities: "Violence begets violence," he says. "I urge you to opt for restraint."
I'm Mike Hanna, CNN, in Jerusalem.
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