Arafat Rejects Israeli Demand to Annex Armenian Quarter

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has denied Israeli reports that he had accepted an Israeli proposal to annex the Armenian neighborhood of al-Qods–the Iranian IRNA news agency reported.

The Palestinian daily–al-Ayyam–quoted Arafat as telling a high-ranking Christian clergyman that he strongly rejected a proposal by the Israeli premier whereby the Armenian quarter of al-Qods would remain under Zionist control.

"The Armenian quarter belongs to us and we and the Armenia’s are one people," Arafat was quoted as saying.

Last month–the Israeli media circulated reports suggesting that Arafat had effectively accepted the partitioning of east al-Qods whereby Palestine would have a modicum of sovereignty over several Islamic neighborhoods while the Zionists would retain control of the small Armenian quarter and the so-called Jewish quarter.

A PLO official in al-Qods–Faisal Husseini–met with representatives of the Armenian community in Palestine–Friday. The leaders of the small community reportedly told Husseni that the Armenia’s were an integral part of the Palestinian people.

"We are few–but we are not a minority–and we are part of what goes on here–we are also partners in the struggle for a free and democratic Palestine," said Albert Aghazaryan–the Armenian-Palestinian public relations officer at Beirzeit University.

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