Tunisia Islamist leader rules out normal ties with Israel (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 04/01/12)
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The head of Tunisia´s governing Islamist party has said the country
cannot normalise ties with Israel, the official TAP news agency
Rached Ghannouchi said that "Tunisians´ problem is with Zionism, not
with Judaism", but TAP said "the president of Ennahda stressed ...
there can be no normalisation with Israel."
The party won the most seats in an October 23 election,
TAP said Ghannouchi told a ceremony Saturday in the northwestern town
of Beja that the only way for Palestinians to reclaim their land now
occupied by Israel is through "the victory of democratic regimes in
the Arab World."
He added that Tunisia´s toppled leader Zine el Abidine Ben Ali was "a
collaborator with the Zionists."
Ben Ali, who clung to power through strong-arm tactics and widely
discredited elections "betrayed the Palestinian cause," TAP quoted
Ghannouchi as saying.
A few hundred people held a rally outside the national assembly
building in Tunis on Friday to protest any normalisation of ties with
After several years of warming ties, the Israeli and Tunisian
authorities opened interest sections in each other´s countries in
1996 but Tunis broke off all relations in 2000 after the outbreak of
the second intifada.
The country had hosted the headquarters of Yasser Arafat´s
Palestinian Liberation Organisation from 1982 to 1994.
Ghannouchi greeted Gaza´s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh upon his
arrival in Tunis in January.
The trip was Haniyeh´s first travel abroad since Hamas took power in
Gaza in 2007.
Haniyeh´s visit reportedly angered Palestinian representatives in
Tunis who are loyal to Hamas´s rival Fatah. The Fatah officials
accused Ennahda of organising the sensitive diplomatic visit without
without proper consultation. (Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse.
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