Arafat Next Target?
Addressing thousands of cheering supporters Saturday, Yasser Arafat dismissed the latest Israeli threats against him, referring to himself as a Ã¢€œmountainÃ¢€ that will not be moved.
But confidants of the Palestinian leader said he was taking the warnings seriously and was preparing for the possibility of his death.
Arafat delivered his public comments after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he was no longer bound by a promise to Washington not to harm the Palestinian leader. SharonÃ¢€™s remarks Friday were seen as his strongest threat against Arafat yet.
SharonÃ¢€™s remarks were criticized by Russia, Germany and the United States, which all urged him to leave Arafat alone. Angry Palestinian officials accused the United States of encouraging the Israeli leaderÃ¢€™s tough line.
In new violence, meanwhile, Israeli troops killed four Palestinians, including three militants, near the West Bank town of Jenin.
While the conventional wisdom is that killing Arafat would only inflame the situation, I’m no longer sure of that. Arafat has been, at best, useless in stopping terrorism against the Israelis and, more likely, directly responsible for it. It may be time to remove Arafat from the equation.