Visiting NY Mayor-elect Bloomberg Brands Arafat Terrorist

Haaretz Service
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Haaretz Service

Visiting New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg branded Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat a terrorist Monday, drawing a parallel between the Palestinian leader and Osama bin Laden.

Bloomberg, outgoing Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, New York Governor George Pataki and Mort Zuckerman, Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of major American Organizations, toured Jerusalem on Sunday as part of a New York mission of solidarity with Israel. The group visited the sites of recent suicide bombings and attended a rally in the city's Zion Square, flanked by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert. Sharon and Olmert have repeatedly drawn parallels between Arafat and bin Laden.

In an interview broadcast on Army Radio on Monday, Bloomberg was asked if he agreed with Sharon's characterization of Arafat as Bin Laden.

"They are both terrorists," Bloomberg said.

"You can compare them any way you want, but I think there's no question that the terrorism that America has suffered at the hands of bin Laden is very similar to the terrorism that Israel has had to suffer for a long time. Proportionally it's just the same."