Arafat aide warns Israel
By Saud Abu Ramadan
From the International Desk
GAZA, Sept. 22 (UPI - 22 Sept) -- A senior aide to Yasser Arafat threatened the Israeli government Saturday saying if it hurts the Palestinian leader --
trapped in his office building after the Israeli army destroyed most of the buildings in his headquarters compound -- that the Palestinians are not
powerless to retaliate.
"We warn the Israeli government and say to it that our hands are also very tall," said Nabil Abu Rudeineh as the Israeli army tightened its siege
on the compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
The warning came as at least four Palestinians were killed and dozens injured in protests early Sunday by Israeli forces in the West Bank and
Gaza, Palestininian medical sources said.
Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said the Israeli army had planted explosives in every single building surrounding Arafat's
Palestinian sources said Israeli soldiers shouted at everyone in Arafat's office to surrender within 10 minutes.
The sources said the soldiers warned that the lives of those inside the buildings "would be in danger" if they didn't surrender.
Abu Rudeineh said Arafat spoke on telephone with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, and urged them to
intervene and stop the Israeli siege.
He said Arafat is not hurt, and is busy making contacts "with all his friends and Arab brothers."
"If Arafat's life is endangered, there will be a huge battle and bloodshed, and the face of the whole region of the Middle East would be
changed," said Abu Rudeineh.
Abed Rabbo called the siege "an Israeli plot" to get rid of President Arafat.
"They were told by the soldiers that they want to blow up two buildings next door to Arafat's office. One of the buildings contains fuels, and
blowing it up would cause a comprehensive destruction and endanger everyone's life," said Abed Rabbo.
"The coming moments are very dangerous. The Israeli troop pullout from the yard and from inside the headquarters is preparation for blowing
up every single building in the headquarters," said Abed Rabbo.
He said the Arab position and the stand of the Security Council "are weak, and Israel apparently has the green light to destroy the Palestinian
Authority and President Arafat."
Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated Saturday night in Ramallah, calling for an immediate end to the Israeli army operation against Arafat's
Palestinians said thousands of other protesters demonstrated in other West Bank towns, such as Tulkarem and Nablus. In Gaza, Palestinian
sources said hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the refugee camp of Jabalya.