PLO leader Yasser Arafat is accusing Israeli prime minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu of avoiding contact with the Palestinian leadership, despite its efforts to arrange meetings.
"There have been no contacts or channels with Netanyahu because he's not desirous of such contacts in the first place," Arafat was quoted Saturday as telling the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, which is Saudi Arabia-backed and published in London.Netanyahu said during his campaign that he would slow the peace process with the Palestinians launched by the man he defeated, Labor Party leader Shimon Peres.
Netanyahu has also said he would meet with Arafat only if it was vital to Israel's security.
The only known high-level contact between Netanyahu's Likud Party and the Palestinians since the May 29 election was a meeting Tuesday between Tel Aviv mayor Ron Milo, a senior Likud figure, and Faisal Husseini, the minister for Jerusalem affairs in Arafat's Cabinet.
Milo said that Netanyahu would have to meet Arafat if he is serious about continuing the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.