US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is currently on his visit to the Middle East, refused to meet with Yasser Arafat, who is a prisoner in his residence in Ramallah. The official reasons have not yet been exposed, but observers say that an act of terrorism that took place in Jerusalem on Friday could be one of the reasons why the meeting was cancelled.
A female Palestinian suicide killer blew up a bomb on a bus stop not far from a market place. The bomb killed six people and injured 86. There were a lot of foreigners among the wounded people. The female suicide killer was only 16 years old. Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade claimed responsibility for this act of terrorism. This is the organization that Israel considers to be directly connected with Fatah movement headed by Yasser Arafat.
It would be reasonable to presume that Ariel Sharon, who recently had a meeting with Powell, assured his American guest that it was Arafat who was the root of all acts of terrorism in Israel. Therefore, the explosion in Jerusalem served an example of that.
The USA has sympathized with Israel lately, and there are reasons for that. Israel handed over to the USA documents that were found in Arafat’s residence. Those documents allegedly prove Arafat’s connection with the organization of acts of terrorism. It is not known if the Americans considered the papers convincing, but it was announced that the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in New York would be closed, reportedly for financial reasons.
Now, Colin Powell is refusing to meet with Arafat. However, there is some information that indicates that the meeting between the American Secretary of State and the leader of the Palestinian autonomy might happen on April 14. Maybe Powell is being superstitious and does not like number 13?
Of course, it would not be serious to talk about the success of Powell’s mission to the Middle East if he does not meet with Arafat. Nevertheless, it seems that the present conflict is good both for Sharon, who is exercising his determination to struggle with terrorism to the triumphant conclusion, and for Arafat, who is being held up in his residence, which helped him to win the sympathies of almost the whole world (with the exception for the USA, maybe). The numerous international mediators have to be at a loss and rack their brains regarding the question of how to make Israel and Palestine reconcile.
Vasily bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov