Is Arafat Encouraging Renewed Attacks?

(Maariv-Hebrew) Amir Rapaport - Recently, Arafat has been working behind the scenes with great energy to block efforts by Abbas and Dahlan to gain a real, long-term cease-fire. The criticism of Abbas in the Fatah Central Committee was just one step in Arafat's efforts to undermine Abbas. Another step was to broaden the powers of PA district governors, who report directly to Arafat. In addition, Arafat continues his efforts to influence Palestinian public opinion. This week he organized a ceremony in Khan Yunis to hand out money to 200 needy families, where it was emphasized repeatedly that the money was from the president [Arafat] and not the prime minister. Especially disturbing are reports reaching the security services that Arafat is telling Hamas and Islamic Jihad that a long-term cease-fire is incompatible with Palestinian interests and that there will be a need to renew attacks. In light of these reports, senior security officials believe that "as long as Arafat remains in the picture, it will be nearly impossible to advance the peace process." Thus, Israel has begun efforts to convince the U.S. and European states of the "need to remove him totally from the picture."

2003-07-10 00:00:00

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