Sharon wastes no time - Arafat bows
February 7, 2001
"We will give him the benefit of the doubt.
If he comes with good ideas that will bring
us closer to the peace process, why not?
The world has seen many such situations before."
De Facto "Prime Minister" of Arafat Regime
"Good lord, has Arafat no self-respect? What is going on here? Has Arafat
become totally senile? What should we expect next, that he's going to make
the Zionist Hatikvah the national anthem of the PA?". So writes David Goldman
passing on the short Jerusalem Post article below and wondering just what is
going on when Arafat sends contratulations to Sharon and his de facto Prime
Minister, Nabil Sha'ath, says they are going to give Sharon the "benefit of
the doubt" and "the world has seen many such situations before."
Well what's going on is the old saying, beggars can't be choosers. The
Arafat regime has always been dependent on its creators, the U.S. and Israel;
infiltrated and manipulated by the CIA and Mossad. And Arafat and friends
are now scared more than ever before. Their regime itself is in danger of
implosion from within, or suffocation from without -- with all the special
priviledges, fancy lifestyles, and foreign bank accounts endangered. As for
the poor Palestinian people, well...they are indeed much poorer than they were
before Arafat came to control them; more penned-up; more repressed; more infiltrated;
more themselves endangered.
Stay tuned: things are going to get hot and dicey, and probably sooner
rather than later.
SHARON CLAIMS ALL JERUSALEM; PALESTINIANS DEFIANT
By Alistair Lyon
JERUSALEM (Reuters - 7 Feb) - Ariel Sharon laid claim to all of Jerusalem as
Israel's ``eternal capital'' Wednesday as Palestinians responded defiantly
to the triumph of a man reviled as a war criminal across the Arab world.
Sharon, in a speech after his crushing defeat of Ehud Barak in Tuesday's prime
ministerial poll, urged Palestinians to end their four-month-old revolt and
negotiate a ``realistic peace.''
But Arab newspapers denounced him as a war criminal, terrorist and racist in
an outpouring of fiery rhetoric likely to reinforce world concern about the
fate of Middle East peace.
To the blare of a ram's horn, the prime minister-elect offered thanksgiving
prayers at Jerusalem's Western Wall and staked Israel's claim to all of the
city ``for all eternity.''
Following in the footsteps of past Israeli election winners, Sharon placed
his right hand on the stones of Judaism's holiest site and read from a prayer
book in his other hand.
``I am visiting Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people for the past 3,000
years and the united and indivisible capital of Israel -- with the Temple Mount
at its center -- for all eternity,'' Sharon told reporters at the Wall.
His unyielding message contrasted sharply with compromises on Jerusalem offered
by Barak in peace talks with Palestinians.
Sovereignty over Arab East Jerusalem, captured in the 1967 Middle East war,
and Temple Mount -- a shrine revered by Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, or Noble
Sanctuary -- is a key obstacle to an elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state and their
uprising over Israeli occupation erupted after Sharon visited the Old City
sanctuary on September 28.
In new violence, Israeli troops and Palestinians traded fire amid clashes with
stone-throwing youths in the divided West Bank city of Hebron, witnesses said.
No casualties were reported.
Arafat Note To Sharon
While Palestinian officials expressed dismay at the election of Israel's arch-hawk,
an aide to Sharon told reporters President Yasser Arafat had written to the
prime minister-elect congratulating him on his election win and offering peace
``Our hands will continue to be held out to make peace because both sides expect
it,'' Eyal Arad, Sharon's security adviser, quoted the note as saying.
Palestinian officials could not confirm or deny that Arafat had sent such a
message to a man who refuses to shake his hand.
A very different signal came from Arafat's Fatah movement, which vowed to intensify
the Intifada to face the ``killer Sharon'' and said Israel could have peace
and security only by ending its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
``If the Israelis think that Sharon will make security for them, we say loudly
that Israel will never have security at all,'' Fatah's West Bank leadership
said in a statement.
President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, the first Arab state to make peace with Israel
in 1979, said he would wait and see how Sharon acted. ``Will it be a policy
of peace or suppression?''
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sharon's rejection of the 1993 Oslo
interim peace accords could rule out meaningful talks. ``We cannot start from
scratch...we need to begin the negotiations where we left off,'' he told Israel
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, chief of the Islamic Hamas group, said talks were futile.
``The Palestinian Authority has to get rid of the dirt of the Oslo peace accords
and stick to resistance.''
Many Arabs reacted with horror to Sharon's win, recalling the bloody 1982 invasion
of Lebanon which he orchestrated as defense minister and the subsequent massacre
of Palestinian refugees by Lebanese Christian militias in Beirut camps.
``The victory of the bloody terrorist and war criminal Sharon...is a clear
message by the Zionist entity to Arabs amounting to an official declaration
of war,'' thundered al-Baath newspaper, organ of Syria's ruling Baath Party.
Israeli right-wingers saw Sharon's success as an answer to prayer. Ultra-nationalist
lawmaker Rehavam Ze'evi urged him to renounce concessions for ``a cruel and
World leaders called on Sharon not to abandon the search for a negotiated peace
with the Palestinians.
U.S. President George W. Bush said he would work for Middle East stability
to give Sharon a chance to promote peace.
Three Sharon associates -- former Israeli ambassador to Washington Zalman Shoval,
former Defense Minister Moshe Arens and former Israeli ambassador to the United
Nations Dore Gold -- were scheduled to head for the United States this week.
U.N. special envoy Terje-Roed Larsen urged Sharon to resume talks with the
Palestinians quickly. ``Security without peace is a mirage. Without peace the
security situation would deteriorate and there would even be regional spillover,''
he told Reuters.
Norway's Foreign Minister Thorbjoern Jagland expressed fear Sharon's victory
could spur violence across the Middle East. ``If Sharon carries out what
was said during the election, there is every reason to fear what will happen,''
The European Union's Middle East envoy Miguel Angel Moratinos said the EU hoped
that Sharon would renew peace talks.
Sharon, 72, called on his center-left foes to join him in a national unity
government after his victory over Barak, 58, by a stunning 25 percentage points,
according to unofficial results.
But Barak's abrupt decision to quit as Labor Party leader after his humbling
at the polls heralded a party power struggle that could complicate prospects
for a unity government.
Sharon must assemble a coalition from the existing Knesset because for the
first time in Israel's history there was no parliamentary election alongside
the vote for prime minister.
ARAFAT SENDS CONGRATULATIONS TO SHARON
[Jerusalem Post - 7 February}:
With a wish for health, happiness and success,
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat sent
greetings earlier today to Prime Minster-elect Ariel
"Our hand will continue to be extended in peace,
because both the peoples expect it and are looking
forward to a life of security and stability within a
framework of mutual respect and neighborly
relations," Arafat's note said.
Arafat's note concluded with the wish that the
coming year be one of "Building a peace of the
brave for all the peoples of the region."