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US Senator: Arafat Needs to Do More - 2001-08-10

The head of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee says Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has not done enough to stop the cycle of violence in the Middle East. Senator Joseph Biden's comments came after Thursday's deadly suicide bombing in Jerusalem that left 16 dead and about 90 injured.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has condemned the Jerusalem suicide bombing at a crowded restaurant, and all such attacks that target innocent Palestinians or Israelis. Israel wants the Palestinian Authority to arrest the militant Islamists accused of organizing terror attacks.

Senator Joseph Biden is urging the Palestinian leader to do more to break the cycle of killing and revenge that has frustrated so many Middle East peace efforts for so long. "I don't believe that the Palestinian Authority has done nearly what they could do to impact on the violence in Israel," said Mr. Biden. "No one is expecting 100 percent results, but we are expecting 100 percent effort. And, I think the unwillingness of Arafat to clamp down on Hamas, and the Jihad, I think he has much more capability than he has [used until] now."

Senator Biden made the comments while in China for talks with leaders about human rights, trade and other issues.

President Bush and other world leaders have criticized the deadly bombing in Israel. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell telephoned both Mr. Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to urge restraint. Thursday's blast was the second-most deadly act of violence against Israeli civilians in the latest Palestinian uprising against Israeli forces that began last September.