Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has announced details of the peace settlement, on which he has been working together with Palestinian high-ranking official Ahmed Qureia. Peres said that the plan consisted of three parts: a cease fire, reciprocal recognition of Israel and the Palestinian state, and, finally, an agreement on boundaries.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer have already rejected the plan. A split in the Palestinian autonomy is gaining force. Yasser Arafat in an interview to The New York Times said that the Palestinian administration is gradually understanding the choice it has to face: it is either to struggle for the right of the Palestinian refugees to return home or recommence the peace talks with Israel and create an independent state of Palestine. There are no opponents of the creation of an independent state, but there are different objectives for the realization the plan. One fraction is ready to stop the fire, and the other insists on a struggle “till final victory."
After numerous talks on the problem, the Palestinian administration started reconciling itself to the inevitable fact that a peace treaty will not be signed with Israel if the Palestinian administration insists on the return of the refugees.
The reason for such a tactic of the Palestinian administration is easy to be explained: Arafat is gradually losing control over the militants of the armed groups, who often ignore his commands on fire cessation, and Arafat himself is not eager to put an end to the activity of the groups; even if he wants to do it, he is not be able to do it now.
The removal of Yasser Arafat from the administration will hardly settle the problem but will even aggravate the situation. Followers of Arafat have been brought up in an anti-American spirit, and they handle weapons better than pens. Thus, the replacement of Arafat would bring an even a bigger evil to the Middle East. The situation may finally go beyond control, and the extremist junta will capture power. Israel will hardly like it.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/02/13/36998.html