Yasser Arafat’s compound has been surrounded again: at daybreak, IDF tanks and armored vehicles entered Ramallah and started to surround the compound. The entry of the troops into Ramallah has increased Israel’s control over the Palestinian Authority. As of now, the troops control the majority of large settlements under Palestinian authority in the Gaza Strip, including Jenin, Tulkarm, Bethlehem, Beit-Jalah, and Beit-Sahur. A curfew was introduced in the towns.
It seems that the Israelis have come to stay for a rather long period, as they have brought collapsible constructions. They are determined to mop up the territory of the Palestinian authority; however, it is not believed that this action will prevent new acts of terrorism. Over the whole period of operation "Defensive Shield," Israel liquidated hundreds of terrorists, leaders of Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, but more and more new people come to take the places of those killed.
Europe is now less aggressive concerning Israel: some politicians even mention “Israel’s security"; nothing of the kind has been ever mentioned before. On the whole, practically the same things are spoken about in Europe: peace talks and creation of a Palestinian state in particular. It is not mentioned at whether the Palestinian state is standing or provisional, as it is the USA that is to decide upon the problem.
However, Americans still delay their answer: George W.Bush was to have declared a new peace plan last week, but failed to do so. It is hoped that he will do it today.
At the same time, the first reaction appeared to an initiative of the White House, although it has not been voiced yet. The Jerusalem Post informs that the Palestinian leaders and US congressmen treat Bush’s initiative with obvious skepticism. Earlier, the US president suggested the creation of a Palestinian state with conventional borders. The response of the Palestinian authority minister Nabil Shaat to that was: “A state is a state. It is impossible to be relatively pregnant, the same way it is impossible to have a state that is provisional.”
US senator Joseph Lieberman shares this opinion: “I do not understood what a conventional state means; a state either exists or not.”
It would be nice to add a conventional leader here as well; indeed, Arafat mentioned several times already that he is resolutely determined to defeat terrorism. However, explosions still sound. Today, information appeared that Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin was placed under house arrest, but it is supposed to be a mere ostensible statement.
Moscow will not part with its favorite toy (Arafat), as its position is similar to that of Washington: Russia does not speak those Palestinian politicians who are not associated with terrorists, on the one hand, and enjoy political authority in the Middle East at the same time. The problem of Mideast political elite is that practically all of them are radicals, to put it in other words, militants. So, the wisdom of the USA, UN, EU, and Russia is that they should chose the best among the worst.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/06/24/43115.html