Arafat expulsion spectre raised again

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat will be expelled from his Ram Allah headquarters if Israel is struck by a "mega-attack", Israeli Interior Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi has warned.

    Arafat wants more international pressure to be applied on Sharon

    The hawkish Likud minister issued his warning on Thursday to the veteran leader after Israeli military sources said on Wednesday that an attack on a school in Israel had been foiled. 

    "Had the attack we foiled yesterday taken place, it is obvious that Arafat would no longer be in the region, in the Middle East," Hanegbi told military radio. 

    On 11 September this year, the Israeli cabinet passed a resolution allowing for the expulsion of the Palestinian leader,
    following two attacks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. 

    "That type of mega-attack would have completely changed the strategic situation," Hanegbi added. 

    Military sources said two Palestinians, including one wearing a
    10-kilo explosives belt, were nabbed by the army in the West Bank before they managed to infiltrate Israel. 

    The term "mega-attack" has so far been used in Israel to refer to potential attacks on airliners or skyscrapers, since explosive charges twice as heavy as that found on the would-be bomber on Wednesday are often used in bus bombs. 

    International pressure

    From his side, Arafat said that his arch-enemy Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would not move an inch towards implementing the "road map" for peace without international pressure, especially from the United States. 

    Arafat  has urged US to pressure
    Sharon to implement  road map 

    Sharon has branded Arafat an "absolute obstacle to peace" and had persuaded the US to follow his policy of boycotting the long-time symbol of Palestinian nationalism. 

    "Without real international pressure, he will not move," said Arafat. The Palestinian  President said the Americans could, however, be doing more to steer the policies of their traditional Israeli allies. 

    "They are in need of more pressure. And strong pressure," he said. 

    Results needed

    While Sharon refuses to talk to Arafat, he has indicated he
    favours a meeting with new Palestinian Premier Ahmad Quraya although no date has yet been set.

    "How many months we are in this catastrophe, where everything has been destroyed. Our farms, some of our schools, some of our hospitals, many of our refugee camps"

    Yasir Arafat,
    Palestinian President

    Asked what kind of results he wanted to see from such a meeting, Arafat replied: "The implementation of the road map, quickly, under the supervision of international forces or international observers."

    "How many months we are in this catastrophe, where everything has been destroyed. Our farms, some of our schools, some of our hospitals, many of our refugee camps. Every day, every night, in all our cities and towns, and villages and refugee camps," he said. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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