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 May 2000 - Return to Complete Index    MiddleEast.Org         5/18/00
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MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 5/18:

In the end Barak probably will probably come to the U.S. soon.  After all he has to keep giving the impression of consulting with the Americans, he always has important dealings with the Pentagon, and then he's got the AIPAC conference (the main organization in the Israeli/jewish lobby) where he has many friends and needs to do much private business in addition to giving the keynote speech.  But even so the situation is so chaotic in the region, tension is so great with the Palestinians, and his own political coalition is becoming so tenuous, that don't be too surprised if he decides he needs to stay home or cut things short.

The chaos with the Palestinians is really more severe than most people are aware.   Once Arafat's "soldiers" started firing a bit at the Israeli army, things took quite a turn.  In fact, the Israeli army ordered cobra attack helicopters to Ramallah and a unit of armored personal carriers was bringing troops to Nablus when the situation cooled down quickly.

In fact it has been learned that on Monday the Israeli Army threatened Arafat directly letting it be known that if he didn't order his forces to stop shooting his own Ramallah headquarters would be attacked by the Cobra Gunships.

Arafat and many of his top aides were in their headquarters Monday, reportedly in a very positive mood as they could hear the shooting nearby and thought this new fighting might somehow push the Americans to do something.  But everything changed when Arafat was give an ultimatum by Israeli army commanders surrounding Ramallah:  "Stop the fighting or we'll attack your forces in the city and even your headquarters."

Arafat complied, as he always does in the end and as the Israelis know he now must since he has let himself become nearly totally dependent on them -- but only after the Cobra Gunships were actually spotted over Ramallah and the Israeli threat seemed quite real.

Meanwhile there is severe chaos within Palestinian ranks with even Ministers finding themselves threatened from others within the PA.  The climate of intimidation and fear has reached the most senior levels of Arafat's regime with situation nearing "total chaos", according to one senior Palestinian personality.  Ibrahim Abu Al-Naja, Deputy Head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, has even been quoted saying: "Everybody beats everybody else...  We Palestinians have to ask ourselves today, where are we leading our people?"

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