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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-314492 Mexico/Israel (L)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=03/26/04

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=MEXICO/ISRAEL (L-Only)

NUMBER=2-314492

BYLINE=JAMES BLEARS

DATELINE=MEXICO CITY

INTERNET=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: Israel's public security minister, Tzachi Hanegbi, says Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is not considered a target for assassination. James Blears reports from Mexico City, where the Israeli official is visiting for talks with Mexican security officials.

TEXT: Israel is bracing for possible revenge attacks, following the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of the Palestinian militant organization, Hamas.

Mr. Hanegbi says the Israeli government will use all of its resources to halt groups like Hamas.

/// HANEGBI ACT ONE ///

We are always prepared to discuss peace with those who understand that peace is relevant for their agenda. To fight is self-defense against those who wage war against us. We don't care if the name is the P-L-O or Hamas, or which ever. An enemy is an enemy. It does not matter what definition it takes. But we believe that Hamas will not be able to overcome and prevail in the Palestinian society, because we are living with those people for so many years, and we know their aspirations, hidden as they are, are for peace, and not for eternal war.

/// END ACT ///

Mr. Hanegbi, says Israel is frustrated that Yassir Arafat is still in power, and he personally feels peace will only be possible with a new Palestinian leadership.

/// HANEGBI ACT ///

I believe that time is in our favor. It is in the favor of the peace-loving people.

/// END ACT ///

Mr. Hanegbi is in Mexico for talks with Mexican Public Security Minister Alejandro Gertz, and Mexico City Police Chief Marcelo Ebrand. (SIGNED)

NEB/JB/TW



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