The Palestine-Israel escalation can explode into a large-scale war between these two nations, and to a civil confrontation inside the Palestinian Authority. This is the opinion of Konstantin Kosachev, deputy chairman of the Duma committee on international affairs. Kosachev remarked that the new armed confrontation between Palestine and Israel, heeding Afghanistan and US plans with regard to Iraq, can undermine peace across the entire Middle East and Central Asia. The Russian parliamentarian showed understanding of Israel's reaction to the latest terrorist acts. At the same time, he emphasised that military actions would hardly solve the problem but rather bring the negotiating process further to a deadlock. Kosachev expressed the opinion that Arafat had become hostage to his own double-standard position--on the one hand, he is increasingly unable to stop terrorist organisations, and, he is simultaneously trying to use radicals for his own purposes. The parliamentarian assessed the hard-line policy of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as promising. According to him, further developments will depend on how adequate Tel Aviv's steps are.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18