As Israeli Defence Force tanks surrounded what is left of Yasser Arafat’s in Ramallah, the President of the Palestine Authority made a defiant speech to his supporters, 3,000 of whom gathered outside in an all-night vigil.
The IDF forces moved into the compound three days ago after two suicide bombings in 24 hours left 7 people dead and tens wounded last week. Bulldozers followed shortly afterwards and proceeded to destroy all the buildings except Yasser Arafat’s office, where he is believed to be cornered with 200 followers.
The Arab League held an emergency meeting on Monday and its 22 members issued an urgent request to the international community to “intervene immediately” to lift the siege. The message added that “Faced with the continuation of the savage Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, the UNO and the Secretary-General should intervene immediately to stop this aggression”.
Yasser Arafat, stuck inside the compound with IDF tank barrels pointing at him, was customarily defiant: “Our people has lived through worse situations before and has survived”. As three thousand Pro-Arafat demonstrators massed outside the compound beating drums, the message of their leader was relayed outside over microphones:
“We shall march on Jerusalem and one of our sons will raise the Palestinian flag on the walls of the city. We are a great people that nobody can dominate…Our people are determined to respect the courageous commitment to peace through their right to establish a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital”.
The stand-off continues. Both Russia and America have asked Israel to review its methods, which do nothing to reduce the tension in the area. The IDF however fear that every time the pressure is off, the suicide bombings start up again.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru