Netanyahu: If elected premier, he would snub Arafat

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JERUSALEM — Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that if he is elected prime minister, he will not personally meet or deal with Yasser Arafat.

"I will not meet with Arafat, will not grovel before him, will not chase him nor stroll hand in hand with him in the hotels of Europe," Netanyahu interviewer Dan Shilon of Israeli TV's Channel 2.

"If the Palestinian Authority meets basic conditions, such as giving up its aim of destroying Israel and ceasing to support terrorism, then I will have my people deal with the" Palestinian Authority, Netanyahu added.

"Arafat has gotten into the habit of fomenting a crisis and then summoning [Prime Minister Shimon] Peres to make demands. This will stop."

His hard line was consistent with the right-wing party's continuing opposition to the peace process with the Palestinians and to the creation of an autonomous Palestinian government and entity.

Referring to the peace process, Netanyahu said Israel is "inheriting a reality which none of us wanted, but with which we shall have to cope. We are like the businessman who takes over a business with debts and entanglements. He can wish it weren't so, but he has to deal with what he is given…"

If the Likud won this year's elections, he added, "we will have to prevent the establishment of an armed Palestinian state bordering on the suburbs of Tel Aviv and admitting millions of Palestinians."

The Likud would be no less firm in its opposition to any withdrawal from the Golan Heights, he added.

Under his stewardship "we will remain on the entire Golan with no cosmetic changes, so that we can prevent war with the Syrians."