Road Map Dismissed

The removal of Arafat may provoke an outbreak of violence

Israelis consider Yasser Arafat the inspirer of terrorist acts conducted by Palestinian suicide bombers. The Israeli government intended to remove Arafat a long time ago, they did not even need a special reason. Fifteen people were killed in Israel as a result of the latest acts of terrorism, but the Israeli government's patience had been exasperated before.

The decision to expel Yasser Arafat is not a surprise to anyone. However, it has finally cast away the illusion of the peace plan to regulate the conflict between Palestine and Israel. On the other hand, it was very hard to believe that the road map would make Israelis and Palestinians forget the entire conflict during several years of the plan's implementation. The longstanding hostility between the two nations cannot vanish in a couple of years. In addition, one is not certain, if Israeli and Palestinian politicians need the independent Palestine.

The optimism of the four mediators - the UN, the EU, the USA and Russia - to settle the conflict in a peaceful way has not been justified at all. The road map has brought meager results in this respect. It turned out that Israel and Palestine preferred to aim guns at each other - it was a lot easier than negotiating.

The reaction of international mediators concerning the Israeli government's decision has been negative. All of them, even Israel's staunchest ally, the USA, said that it was a political mistake. Yet, American officials added that Yasser Arafat was the main problem for the peaceful settlement of the conflict. The USA has virtually disapproved the exile of Arafat, but it is not going to put any obstacles for the Israeli government. It goes without saying that the continuation of the political dialogue is impossible after that, because it is the USA that can affect Israel's  position.

While the Israeli army command is developing the plan of the operation to expel Arafat, thousands of Palestinians are rushing to his residence in Ramallah to protect their leader. Arafat stated, no one had a right to remove him from his fatherland. He promised to stay in Palestine until the country became independent. Israeli military men have a hard goal to pursue. If Arafat suddenly dies during the operation, it will provoke an outburst of violence, the consequences of which are hard to predict.

On the other hand, the head of the Palestinian autonomy is in a better situation now in comparison with Ariel Sharon. Arafat may easily blame Israel for the new outbreak of the conflict. In this case, it will be hard to ignore his accusations. Furthermore, expelling Arafat will bring no results as far as the cessation of acts of terrorism is concerned. There are a lot of Palestinians to inspire new attacks against Israel.

One may assume that the decision of the Israeli government is meant to remove obstacles on the way of new Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qorei. Arafat virtually forced previous prime minister Mahmoud Abbas to resign. That is why it is not ruled out that the current events are meant to help Qorei take office. If this assumption proves right at least to a certain extent, Qorei's political career will be over: Palestinians will not forgive him for such a compromise. Ahmed Qorei knows this very well: he has already stated that the establishment of the new government is impossible under the current conditions.

The present conflict between Israel and Palestine can be described as the dead end. It seems that peacemakers from other countries may appear in the Middle East in the nearest future, there is no other way.

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Author`s name Olga Savka