In the case of unexpected developments, Yasser Arafat has announced the name of his successor to the post of the head of the Palestinian National Administration: Faruk Kaddumi, the leader of Palestinian Liberation Organization’s political department.
Earlier, Arafat already did something similar. On April 17, the Palestinian leader appointed five successors to collectively lead Palestinian National Autonomy in case of his death, or arrest, or exile. These five include Ahmed Garic, the chairman of the Legislative Assembly; Mahmud Abbas, secretary of Palestinian National Autonomy; Yasser Abdo Rabbu, minister of information and culture; Colonel Muhammed Dahlan, the chief of preventive security in the Gaza Strip; and Saib Arikat, minister of self-government of Palestinian National Autonomy. Kaddumi, as well as Colonel Jebrail Ar-Rajub, the head of preventive security on the West Bank, did not belong to the list. The Palestinians accuse him of capitulation and handing over 200 workers of the security service and six activists of the Hamas movement (they were in prison by PNA headquarters) to Israelis, in exchange of keeping them alive and possibility to depart Ramallah. Why did Arafat again start to speak about a successor, or even successors? Does he really believe that Israel is preparing his physical annihilation? Of course he does not. If Sharon wished to annihilate the Palestinian leader, he would have done so long ago. The Israelis do not need Arafat as a martyr; they need a terrorist on whom the whole world can turn its back, or at least a part of the world, after Israel "proves" Arafat’s implication in terrorist acts on Israeli territory. Arafat is most likely afraid of his fellow Intifada fighters, the so-called “young wolfs” of Hamas, Fatah, and other organizations, who hardly would compliment Arafat on his wish to hand over the killers of tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi to the Israelis. Of course, the question is not about the direct handing over of the killers to Israeli justice, even though some half-measures would not add to the popularity of Arafat in Palestinian eyes.
The killers will be transported from Ramallah to Jericho, where they will be probably guarded by the British military.
The Englishmen are expected to arrive to Ramallah for negotiations with the Palestinian leadership. It is not known when the killers of Zeevi and of Palestinian businessman Fuad Shubaki (implicated in arm smuggling by Karine A ship) will be moved to Jerocho.
The day before yesterday, the Israeli government accepted President George Bush’s proposition to leave Rehavam Zeevi’s killers in a Palestinian prison, under guard of American or British military. This proposition was supported by 17 ministers this Sunday, while eight ministers were against it.
George Bush phoned Ariel Sharon and recommended that he not insist on the extradition of the minister’s killers. Will Sharon listen to the advise of his US "friend?" Most probably, he will not, because the Israelis’ main demand to Palestinians is the extradition of the minister’s killers. Therefore, to back away from the demand would be regarded as a sign of Israeli weakness, which they no way can permit. As for Arafat himself, while he was holed up in his residence, he was responsible for nothing, including the Intifada. However, now, he is being inclined to compromises that could be considered treason by the average Palestinian. Therefore, it would be better for him to remain in captivity. Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/04/29/40500.html
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea