For two years, Israeli intelligence services have tried to persuade Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat shouldn’t be dismissed. Nowadays, the same special services give quite the opposite recommendation: Arafat should be sent somewhere… abroad. The Daily Telegraph informs that it is a hard task to move Arafat from Ramallah without touching him.
The oppressors of the Palestinian leader may soon get a nice opportunity to finish off Arafat: the toppling of the Iraqi government and the mess that will follow is considered by the Israelis to be a convenient moment to deal with the Palestinians. The Israeli special services consider this to be a perfect moment to exile Arafat, as little attention will be focused on him at that time. While Arafat is taking his tour from one country to another, the Palestinians will use the time to find a new, more pragmatic leader, a man who lives in Palestine, not abroad. Arafat won’t be able to do anything while in exile.
Such is the logic of the Israeli special services. However, previously, the Mossad, Shin Bet and the army intelligence believed that it was more advantageous to keep Arafat close by and control his every move. For the past several months, the Israelis have realized that this tactics was unfavorable for them. Former Mossad intelligence chief Ephraim Halevy, currently Sharon’s aide for national security, strongly objected to such tactics. Israel thinks that the Palestinian leader is currently so isolated that if he is exiled, it will be a nice chance for pragmatics in the Palestinian leadership. The Israelis believe that it will be possible to come to an agreement with them, put an end to the rebellion, and start peace talks.
According to Daily Telegraph, Israelis will have to win support of such radical groups as Hamas, with which they never negotiated before, for realization of the plan.
New Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a rival to Ariel Sharon in the struggle for the party leader post, and if he wins, he may become a possible candidate to the prime minister post. Benjamin Netanyahu also supports the idea of sending Arafat into exile. But he stresses only that it’s necessary to wait till elections in Israel for realization of the plan.
Although Israelis think a probable military action in Iraq will be a convenient opportunity for sending Araft into exile, this at the same time can prevent them from solving of the “Arafat problem.”
Sharon promised George W. Bush that he would take no measures which might disturb the region before a moment scheduled for the US’s attack would come. So, Arafat still has some time left to take counter-measures against his opponents, which are by the way numerous not only in Israel. Sergey Borisov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2002/5/15/39/3513_Arafat.html
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