Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has told European countries that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat must end terrorism. The Israeli politician spoke at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France.
Addressing the Assembly of the Council of Europe, Mr. Peres said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat should bring armed Palestinian groups under control. He said that as long as there are groups, in his words, getting orders from Iran or Syria, there will be no peace. "Because if Arafat will not stop the terror - the terror will stop him," he said.
Israel has been hit by a number of bomb and gun attacks. The most recent was an attack by a Palestinian gunman who went on the rampage Tuesday in the heart of Jerusalem. A coalition of Palestinian groups is calling for a "general mobilization" against Israel.
Israeli security officials say they are preparing for an all-out escalation by Palestinian militants and say they will retaliate "appropriately." Israel has accused Mr. Arafat of doing nothing to stop terrorism.
Mr. Peres' appearance before the 43 nation Council of Europe comes at a time of mounting European criticism of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians.
The European Commission says Israeli forces have caused $18 milliion in damage to Palestinian installations funded by the European Union, including the destruction of Gaza airport.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana met briefly Wednesday with Mr. Peres and described the situation in the Middle East as very dramatic. The Israeli minister is also visiting the Netherlands on his current tour.
The Council of Europe has invited senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat to address the organization Thursday. The council is considered to be Europe's leading human-rights organization.