Press Release (11 March 1996)

During his recent trip to the Middle East, the Mayor of New York City, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, once again displayed complete disregard for the sensitivities and complexities of the Middle East peace process. The ignorant, and often vulgar, statements he made yesterday run contrary to the expected role of a representative of the United States providing support and solidarity to victims of the most recent, tragic bombings.

Mr. Giuliani's continuing attacks on President Yasser Arafat represent hostility towards the Palestinian people and neglect the fact that Arafat is the leader of the Palestinian people and was democratically and overwhelmingly elected as the head of the Palestinian National Authority in recent elections.

Once again, what Mr. Giuliani is doing appears to be an attempt to court the votes of the same fanatic Jewish groups who supported him the last elections. Some of those supporters of Mr. Giuliani openly support violent acts against the peace process and have even expressed sympathy with the assassin of the late Prime Minister Rabin.

While Mr. Giuliani himself is not a violent enemy of peace in the Middle East, he is nevertheless an enemy of the peace process between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, which is the only viable means of achieving a just and lasting peace. His words and behavior serve only to undermine support for this important, yet fragile, process for peace in the Middle East.