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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Arafat Blasts Peace Deal Referendum

GAZA -- Palestinian President Yasser Arafat on Tuesday slammed a proposal by Prime Minister Shimon Peres to hold a referendum in Israel on a future permanent peace deal with the PLO.

"This is completely against what has been agreed upon," Arafat told reporters in Gaza when asked his view of the proposal and a vow by Peres not to remove Jewish settlements.

Peres made the surprise announcement about the referendum Monday on a flight to the Gulf Arab state of Oman, effectively removing a contentious issue from public debate less than two months before May 29 national elections.

Israel handed over parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the PLO and is due to begin talks with the Palestinians in May on the core issues of Arab East Jerusalem, Jewish settlers and the return of Palestinian refugees.

Arafat did not elaborate on how the call for a referendum would violate three years of peace accords. But his adviser Nabil Abu Rdainah called it a "new condition."