LETTER : Yasser Arafat v Gerry Adams

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The Independent Online
From Mr G E Taylor

Sir: During the ceasefire, Gerry Adams repeatedly referred to the parallel between the situation in Ulster and that in Palestine. Israel, he said, had not insisted on decommissioning of weapons by the PLO before beginning to negotiate with Yasser Arafat. Adams, however, omitted to mention that Arafat, on behalf of the PLO, did foreswear terrorism before talks began.

In making this comparison, Adams was obviously saying that Sinn Fein/IRA are the equivalent in Ulster of the PLO in Palestine.

Wrong. PLO represents probably 95 per cent of the Palestinian people. The equivalent in Ulster is the combination of John Hume's SDLP plus the various Loyalist parties. Sinn Fein/IRA are the equivalent of Hamas/Islamic Jihad. This parallel has been given further weight by the two bomb attacks in Jerusalem and Ashkalon that claimed 25 dead.

So let's follow the example of Israel and Palestine. Let serious negotiations begin between all the parties that renounce violence - SDLP, Loyalists, British and Irish governments. Sinn Fein/IRA can remain outside until they reform. Yasser Arafat didn't wait for a renunciation of violence by Hamas and Islamic Jihad before coming to the table.


G E Taylor