Sergey Stefanov: Palestine and Israel are on fire. Arafat calls Putin

A high-ranking spokesman for the Palestinian Fatah movement, Hatim Abd-al-Qadir, said in an interview to the Arab Al-Jazeera television network that a continuation of the truce with Israel was out of the question. It seems that the terrorist group Hamas was not the only one to break the truce between Israel and Palestine. Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement is also breaking the December truce agreement. The statement from Abd-al-Qadir was released soon after the incursion of the Israelis into the West Bank city of Nablus. The incursion opened the door for a full-scale war with Israel.

In addition to that, the Coalition of 13 Palestinian groups, in which Hamas and Fatah are incorporated, called upon the Palestinian citizens for the general mobilization for the war with Israel. As it was said in the statement, “we urge everyone, including the representatives of the Palestinian security services and our nation to participate in the general mobilization to fight with the Zionistic intervention and blockade.”

These statements from the Palestinians were supported with certain actions. As it was informed earlier, a Palestinian suicide terrorist opened fire in the center of Jerusalem, shooting passers-by. He killed two people, and dozens of Israelis were injured. The organization that is close to Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, claimed responsibility for the act. One of its activists called a Reuters office and said that the events in the center of Jerusalem were their response for the assaults and murders carried out by Israel.

That Brigade of Martyrs also organized an attack on the participants of a banquet in Hader on January 17, killing six Israelis. The Western news agencies reported that all the Israeli security services were on alert over the entire country. A spokesman for the US State Department, Richard Boucher, claimed that “there was no excuse for such attacks.” He urged Arafat to take efficient measures, reminding that the USA was still against the Israeli raids on the Palestinian territories.

ITAR-TASS reported that the Palestinian Minister for information and culture, Yasser Abd Rabbo, claimed that the USA is responsible for the tense situation in the Middle East. Making a speech at a press-conference, the minister stressed out that Sharon’s government would not exercise such aggression against the Palestinian autonomy without America’s approval. “The USA has to realize that Sharon is playing with fire. He is threatening the peace not only in Palestine but in the whole region.” As the minister said, the incident with the vessel carrying contraband weapons, which was allegedly meant for Palestine, was a performance arranged by Tel Aviv. Their objective was not to resume peace talks and bring Arafat down.

Russia can not stay aloof from the developing conflict. Yasser Arafat called President Putin last night. Arafat called upon Putin to take measures for the prevention of the further development of the conflict and to more actively assist in searching for a peaceful solution to the crisis.

The speaker of the Russian parliament, Gennady Seleznyov, harshly criticized the terrorists' approach to the solution of the current situation. Seleznyov stated that “Palestine must obtain its state. Russia, like Seleznyov declared to the journalists, will do everything possible so that the parties will observe the agreements achieved in Madrid and Oslo.

The European Union in its turn supports Arafat as the legal leader elected by the Palestinian people. Miguel Angel Moratinos, the European Union's Middle East peace process envoy, condemned the destruction of the Palestinian television and radio center by the Israeli army and urged Tel Aviv to call off the blockade of the Palestinian cities.

The European Union publicly accused Israel yesterday of the destruction of objects on the territory of Palestine, objects that were built with the help of the EU’s money. It was said that the Israeli military caused damage to the EU tax-payers to the sum of 14.5 million euros, not taking account of the destroyed building of the radio station The Voice of Palestine. The European Union is planning a detailed investigation of the demolition.

In the meantime, the Palestinian Information Center reported that extremist Jewish groups have recently activated their work in the USA. The American special services acknowledged that fact. For example, there were the members of an extremist organization arrested in the United States in December: Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel from the militant Jewish Defense League. They are both accused of planning the explosion of the King Fahad mosque in Culver City and of the office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles. The investigators found out that the terrorists were originally going to put a bomb in the local department of one of the Muslim organization in order to shake the Americans Mohammedans. Then they changed their minds, and as the FBI said, they decided to blow up one of the major Californian mosques.

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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