The statement of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on severing relations with the leader of the Palestinian National Authority, Yasser Arafat, can escalate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, believes Konstantin Kosachev of the progovernmental faction Fatherland-All Russia at the Russian parliament. He called Sharon's decision "erroneous" for being based "more on emotions than reason". Tel Aviv clearly let it be understood that for it "stigmatising Arafat and shifting on him all responsibility is more important than who has committed the recent terrorist acts", said the Russian politician. The Israeli leadership "is to understand that, if no alternative for Arafat is found, such demarches are hopeless and can ultimately bury the negotiating process". In the opinion of the Russian parliamentarian, Israel must understand that today Arafat is "although not the best but the only negotiator and that better a lean peace than a fat victory".
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23