Author`s name Michael Simpson

US Issues License to Murder Arafat

Russia is ready to send peacekeepers to the conflict area. Is Chechnya not enough?
US's veto on the UN Security Council's resolution prohibiting expulsion of Yasser Arafat is the talk of the day in the international politics. A formal ground for the veto is that the resolution didn't condemn activity of Palestinian radical organizations. But it's highly likely this is not the only ground for the decision. In fact, Washington doesn't want to have the relations with Israel worsened without any obvious reason. These relations are not that good in fact.

Since very beginning there has been no doubt that the Bush Administration won't object to deportation of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. In their verbal statements the While House and the Department of State certainly condemned the decision of the Israeli government. This is quite understandable that Americans are particularly anxious about the fact that deportation of the aged Palestinian leader automatically puts an end to his isolation and will give him a wider space for activity, even though this activity will be carried out abroad. This is not the most optimal way out of the situation.

In his turn, the head of the Palestinian authority delegation at the peace talks with Israel, Saib Erekat says the US's veto on the UN Security Council's resolution is "a license for murder".

For the time being, the Israeli government has made a decision to make a pause. On the one hand, it doesn't make haste about realization of the decision; but on the other hand, it doesn't give up the plan either. So, we may say that Arafat's deportation is a decided issue. It is not ruled out that the decision may be cancelled, but it will happen not right now. If the decision is cancelled immediately, the Arafat cabinet may be accused of the lack of will and of "the indulgence toward terrorist Arafat". Especially that many of Israeli politicians are calling for liquidation of the Palestinian leader now. People from the former Soviet Union are particularly active at this for some unknown reason. In fact, this is just an attempt to win wider popularity among the electorate. This is unlikely that Israel's political leadership is so much dazzled with hatred toward Arafat that it cannot foresee consequences of killing of the Palestinian leader. If it happens the escalation of the conflict will be tremendous, if some limits can be determined in this case at all.

Let's get back to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Politics and diplomats involved into the peace process of the conflict settlement are now becoming more and more absorbed with the idea of sending international peacekeepers to the conflict area. Russia doesn't remain aloof from the problem as well. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov says that Russia is ready to send the military or observers to the area of the Israel-Palestine conflict if a decision on introduction of international forces to the area is taken. According to Yury Fedotov, "if it is decided that countries that are members of the international mediators (the UN, the EU, Russia and the USA) must be involved, then it means that Russia will join the group of the international observers as well." After all, "Russia suggests that much pressure should be exerted upon the parties of the conflict." For the time being, the Russian deputy foreign minister emphasizes the "roadmap" provisions still remain a recommendation for Israel and Palestine.

After all, the situation about Russian peacekeepers is rather strange. The RF Foreign Ministry was already ready to send them to Iraq, certainly on condition of some definite terms and in the framework of the UN resolutions. However, these statements look rather like preparation of the public opinion for realization of the idea. Especially that it seems that the leadership of Russia has no consensus on the problem. The other day, Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov has said that Russia has got enough problems of its own in Chechnya. However, as is seen from the statements of Russian diplomats Chechnya may be not enough for them.

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