The following is IMRA’s translation of the Hebrew letter sent by Meretz (Peace Now) M.K. Ran Cohen to Chairman Yasser Arafat. M.K. Cohen provided IMRA a copy of the original Hebrew letter.

The Knesset
MK Ran Cohen

13 Iyar 5757
20 May, 1997

Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mr. Yasser Arafat

Dear Sir,

Re: Prohibition of Murder and Execution

As someone who has worked for and yearned for a humane solution of peace and security for the State of Israel and the Palestinian people for 30 years, I feel a moral and state obligation to turn to you with the expectation that you will forbid and publicly denounce acts of murder and execution within the area of the Palestinian Authority in general and regarding the sale of land in particular.

The reaction of your assistant, Marwan Kanafani, this morning, causes the greatest of concern. Kanafani does not differentiate between the prohibition on the sale of land as is practiced by the “Jewish National Fund”, and the justification and approval of murder, which was never given in Israel. It is the full right of the Authority, of course, to set its position regarding the sale of land, but between this to permitting murder lies a moral void.

Mr. Chairman, you can denigrate those who shout “death to the Arabs” at the same time that the Palestinians are denounced for the murder of land dealers. But you cannot ignore two vital considerations:

1. The State of Israel did not carry out a death sentence, even in the case of first degree murderers who slaughtered innocent citizens (mostly Jews, a minority Arabs).

2. The Palestinian people, on its way to a Palestinian state, must free itself from terrorist and cruel elements and images, both for its own good and for the good of good neighborliness and peace with Israel.

There is not yet evidence to the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority for the murder and the investigation continues, but the stain exists. And for that I ask you to rise and publicly announce your position forbidding murder!


MK Ran Cohen