February 13, 2006.
WASHINGTON – Palestinian Authority representative in Washington Afif Safieh
charged Sunday that the Likud party is responsible for distributing Danish
anti-Muhammad cartoons worldwide in a bid to bring about a collision between
the western and Muslim worlds.
In a tense television debate held between Israeli Ambassador in Washington
Danny Ayalon and Safieh, which was broadcast on CNN’s “Late Edition,” the
Palestinian envoy was asked by host Wolf Blitzer to comment on the recent
violent Muslim demonstrations across the world that erupted in response to the
publication of caricatures mocking Prophet Muhammad in a Danish paper.
Safieh replied by saying that his personal acquaintance with both western and
eastern societies has led him to believe the pro-Israeli Likud’s global wing acted
to bring the western, mostly-Christian society to a collision course with Islam.
Stunned by Safieh’s answer, Blitzer asked his guest whether he was serious, or
only joking. Safieh then explained that the editor of the Danish newspaper that
originally published the cartoons is a fan of Jewish right-wing columnist Daniel
Pipes, and that the two cooperated in distributing the caricatures that roused
furor among Muslims.
Israeli Ambassador Ayalon dismissed the remarks and said they were
“nonsense.” Ayalon stated he was as much concerned by these caricatures as
by anti-Semitic cartoons in the Egyptian press, but added that what worried him
even more was the Muslim reaction, including flag burning, torching embassies
and physically hurting people.
I did not see such a response when anti-Semitic or anti-Christian cartoons were
published, Ayalon said.