Cabinet Support for Expelling Arafat Growing

(Jerusalem Post) Herb Keinon - The consensus in the security community is that Arafat is the primary obstacle standing in the way of negotiations with the Palestinians, a highly placed security official said Sunday. For months the country's security establishment had agreed that expelling Arafat would cause more harm than good. Now, the official said, this opinion is basically only held by Shin Bet head Avi Dichter. The cabinet no longer believes Arafat would cause more trouble outside the country than he is doing from his Ramallah compound. Both Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon have made remarks recently about the need for a decisive military decision, followed by intensive political action, within the next year. This has been interpreted as meaning the expulsion of Arafat, followed by talks with leaders who take his place. Mofaz has made clear in private meetings that he believes a new PA leadership will not emerge as long as Arafat remains on the scene. Mofaz believes negotiations can resume once Arafat is gone, as long as three conditions are met: Terrorism ends; the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, meaning they give up the right of return; and Jerusalem remains under Israeli sovereignty. The official said Mahmoud Abbas and Muhammed Dahlan are now essentially in control of the Palestinian Legislative Council and are poised to take over once Arafat is removed from power. The official said Arafat has become alienated from his allies, including UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen and EU special Middle East envoy Miguel Moratinos, and that the relationship between Arafat and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has completely broken down.

2002-12-16 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive