View Full Version : What should Israel do about Arafat?

09-20-02, 10:54 PM
I don't understand why Israel just doesn't finish off the dude. he's worthless as a leader.

Why haven't they finished him off? Is it because they are using him as bait?

Just wondering out loud ~


Israel tightens grip on Arafat offices

Palestinian leader ‘unhurt,’ but building collapse feared
Israeli army units use bulldozers to destroy parts of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's compound.


RAMALLAH, West Bank, Sept. 21 — Israeli forces tightened their chokehold on Yasser Arafat Friday night, destroying buildings around the Palestinian leader’s offices and even shelling the floor above him. Witnesses said Arafat was unhurt, but some Palestinians inside the besieged compound warned that the building could collapse on their leader. Despite U.S. and European appeals to Israel to show restraint, the standoff appeared set to continue.

ISRAELI FORCES STORMED Arafat’s headquarters Thursday night in reprisal for a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed six people and demanded that militants they believed to be hiding inside give themselves up.

Throughout the day, Israel reduced most of the buildings in the West Bank compound to rubble, using powerful explosives to raze at least 10 structures.
Five Palestinians died and 25 others were wounded during the day’s military action. The dead included an Arafat bodyguard shot by snipers in the Ramallah compound.

By Friday night, Arafat was in the office building, the last intact building in the presidential complex. Israel continue to tighten its grip, digging a deep trench and running coils of barbed wire around the offices.

Israeli troops also fired several tank shells at the stairwell in the section where Arafat is holed up, apparently to prevent movement between the first and second floors of the building.

A photographer holed up with Arafat said that when a tank shell struck, dust fell on Arafat as he sat on the floor but he was not hurt. Arafat had earlier moved down from the second floor, the photographer said.

Israeli security sources confirmed a tank shell had been fired, describing it as a result of “exchanges of fire.”

Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thami, said he had received reassurances from Israel that Arafat would not be hurt.

“I have received a promise from the Israeli leadership to stop now the military action around the president’s office,” al-Thami said in an interview aired by the Qatar-based al-Jazeera satellite television channel, adding that Israel had also promised “that they will also not harm President Arafat.”
NBC: Symbols of power in ruins

Early Saturday, at least 19 Palestinians surrendered to Israeli troops after army bulldozers razed the building they were in.

A Palestinian official holed up with Arafat said the men who surrendered were guards and had done so out of fear that the building would collapse on them. Some of the Palestinians were injured, the official said.

As large gray clouds of smoke rose from Arafat’s compound, troops using loudspeakers called on wanted men in the compound to surrender.

Before the latest group of Palestinians surrendered early Saturday, a total of 20 men had given themselves up on Friday, walking in single file with their arms raised. However, several senior Palestinian officials sought by Israel, including the intelligence chief in the West Bank, were not among them.


Israel has alleged that West Bank intelligence chief Tawfik Tirawi and Mahmoud Damra, the head of Arafat’s elite bodyguard unit Force 17 in Ramallah, were involved in attacks on Israelis.

Israel’s defense minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, said troops would not leave until all the wanted men had surrendered but would not use force to arrest them.

“In terms of the chairman,” Ben-Eliezer said, referring to Arafat, “we have no intention of expelling him or firing at him. We want to isolate him.”

Palestinian officials said the United States had stepped in, urging them to them to hand over 19 men on the wanted list. U.S. officials also suggested that the Palestinians appoint representatives to negotiate with the Israelis about defusing the situation, the Palestinian officials said. U.S. officials declined comment.

Senior Arafat adviser Nabil Abu Rdainah told CNN: “There are no wanted people here. This is an Israeli pretext (for not) finding a political solution.”

It was not immediately clear how long Arafat would remain under siege. In March, he was confined to several rooms in his office building for 34 days. In June, troops reoccupied Ramallah and most other West Bank towns, and Arafat has not ventured from his compound, even on days when a military curfew was lifted.

As part of its crackdown Friday, Israeli troops tightened curfews and closures in much of the West Bank, confining hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to their homes and banning travel between most towns.

Israel’s military retaliation also stretched into the Gaza Strip. Tanks backed by helicopter gunships raided a Gaza City neighborhood and blew up three metal workshops the army said were used for making weapons.

A 25-year-old woman was killed by helicopter fire as she stood on her balcony, and a 35-year-old man was killed by tank fire while he walked near his house, witnesses said. The man was mentally handicapped, his family said.

Later, Palestinian militants damaged an Israeli tank with an explosive device in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, triggering a gunbattle in which a Palestinian youth was shot dead, Palestinian witnesses said.

The army did not immediately comment on the clashes in Rafah, near the border with Egypt, and did not say if any soldiers were injured. The witnesses said 10 Palestinians were hurt in the gunbattle. Residents were fleeing the area as the shooting intensified, they added.

Rafah refugee camp has often been a flashpoint for violence in the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.

The latest incursions came after a rare emergency session of the Israeli Cabinet late Thursday. Ministers put the blame for the Tel Aviv bombing on Arafat, saying he had established a “coalition of terror.”

Arafat was in relatively good spirits Friday, those around him said. Despite the siege, he performed Friday prayers — the highlight of the Muslim week — in his office before taking an afternoon nap. Water and electricity had not been cut, unlike in earlier raids.

Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayad, who said he got a few hours of sleep rolled up in a blanket on the floor, said the mood around Arafat was defiant. “We are confident of our ability to overcome this crisis,” he said by telephone.

Throughout the day, Arafat spoke to several European officials and Arab leaders, including Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Jordan’s King Abdullah. Arafat asked them to pressure Israel to lift the siege. Arab leaders told Arafat they would seek an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council to discuss a demand for an immediate Israeli withdrawal, said aide Rdainah.

Washington cautioned Israel to show restraint, while also urging the Palestinians to try to prevent attacks on Israeli civilians. “Israel has the right to defend itself and to deal with security, but Israel also has a need to bear in mind the consequences of action and Israel’s stake in development of reforms in the Palestinian institutions,” said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

The flare-up comes at a time when the United States, because of its showdown with Iraq, is particularly in need of Arab good will. Harsh Israeli action against Arafat could spoil that.

In Thursday’s bombing, a suicide bomber detonated nail-studded explosives on a crowded bus in a shopping and business district in downtown Tel Aviv, killing six other people and wounding about 50. Among those killed was the driver. There has been no formal claim of responsibility, although the Arab satellite TV station Al Jazeera reported it has received a leaflet in which the militant Hamas group said it carried out the attack. In the leaflet, Hamas said the bombing came as revenge for Israel’s killing in July of Salah Shehadeh, the Hamas military leader in Gaza, and that more attacks were to come.

Dore Gold, an Israeli government spokesman, said the latest military actions are meant to show that Israel is determined to protect its people and that “the people of Israel will not be terrorized,” he said.

NBC’s Jim Maceda in Tel Aviv, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.