Dmitry Litvinovich: Arafat’s fate decided in Washington

The Middle East is again at the center of world community’s attention. All the world's information agencies are reporting about the terrorist acts that took place in Jerusalem Saturday night. As a result of the explosion of three bombs in the center of Jerusalem and of a Sunday explosion in a bus in Haifa, 27 Israelis died, while the number of injured people is over 200. The world is shocked.

The terrorist acts caused the Israeli prime minister to shorten his US visit. This morning, just after his return, he is intending to carry out two extraordinary sessions devoted issues of the anti-terrorist fight. First, the head of the Israeli government wants to gather the so-called “narrow” cabinet, occupying itself with policy and security questions, and ,afterwards, the whole government. During the sessions, decisions about Israel’s retribution measures to the recent terrorist acts in Jerusalem and Haifa are planned to be discussed.

This Sunday, a high official of the Israeli government reported to BBC that Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat has 24 hours to find the people guilty of the terrorist acts. Otherwise, the Israeli army will be involved.

Ariel Sharon intends to do his best to avoid a full-scale war with Palestinians; however, according to Israeli radio, “the strike on Palestinian terrorism will be shattering.”

After the terrorist acts, Arafat’s positions were shaken. The Palestine Liberation Organization is under the pressure of the world community. Leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad extremists groups seem to have done Arafat an ill turn.

The United Stated, which has been conqueting with Palestinians before this events, now also demands from the Palestinian leader the immediately arrest of the representatives of the extremist groups. If ,earlier, Washington was reserved what about its estimations, after the Sunday events, the US made the Palestinian administration completely responsible for the situation in the region. US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld said that Yassir Arafat was not such a powerful leader and any measures Israel now could take should be regarded as self-defence. Therefore, Israel got the OK from the US to any military operations.

The authorities of Palestinian Autonomy declared an emergency situation. According to some reports, mass arrests were carried out in Gaza strip. Among the arrested people, there were two political leaders of Hamas, Ismail Hania and Ismail Abu Shanab. Palestinian security services warned that tanks could be moved to the streets and check points could be situated in Gaza Strip territory and on the West Bank of the Jordan River to keep order.

However, it is not clear if these activities will satisfy the Israeli cabinet. Some members of the government make hints that Israel must now go further in its actions than before. In the agenda, there is the question about changing the status of Palestinian autonomy, first of all, Yassir Arafat’s resignation.

The Israeli cabinet simpathyzes with the US actions in Afghanistan. The changing of political leadership in Afghanistan is accompanied with annihilating terrorists themselves. Israel seems to take the same measures against Palestinians. All the more, it has already received cart blanche for it from the US. What will Arafat do in this situation, and will these activities be enough to satisfy the infuriated Israelis? The hawk seems to have got his lottery ticket, so he will try to fully use his chance.

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

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