Arafat hides like a rabit from Israeli justice

The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) reports that not much is left of the Mukata, Arafat's compound - only two of the original 12 buildings stand, and Arafat is hiding and trembling inside what is left of one of them:

Soldiers on Saturday destroyed a bridge connecting Yasser Arafat's Ramallah office with his residence, and witnesses reported he was covered in dust from the bombardment, but unharmed.

Cabinet secretary Gideon Sa'ar said the aim of a three-day siege on Arafat's headquarters was not to harm the Palestinian Authority leader but to isolate him and force the surrrender of terrorist suspects hiding out in his headquarters .

The scope of the Israeli action around Arafat's headquarters, called the Mukata, which was launched Thursday in retaliation for a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv in which six people died, made it apparent that Arafat was caught in Israel's tightest chokehold yet.

This is good news: let Arafat and his thugs, who clearly continue to organize, support and finance the murder of women and children, tremble. Every time one of the murderers from the Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Arafat's Al-Aksa brigades kill Israeli women and children, make Arafat and his thugs worry about their personal safety, make them deeply understand that they will personally pay for the barbaric killings.

And by the way, why do we let Sheikh Yassin, who makes daily homicidal maniac speeches and sends hordes of Hamas killers commit their murders, go unharmed?

I copy the full article below.





ARAFAT COVERED IN DUST AFTER IDF BOMBARDMENT
By THE JERUSALEM POST INTERNET STAFF, Sep. 21, 2002
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?
pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/
ShowFull&cid=1032275816711

Soldiers on Saturday destroyed a bridge connecting Yasser Arafat's Ramallah office with his residence, and witnesses reported he was covered in dust from the bombardment, but unharmed.

Cabinet secretary Gideon Sa'ar said the aim of a three-day siege on Arafat's headquarters was not to harm the Palestinian Authority leader but to isolate him and force the surrrender of terrorist suspects hiding out in his headquarters .

The scope of the Israeli action around Arafat's headquarters, called the Mukata, which was launched Thursday in retaliation for a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv in which six people died, made it apparent that Arafat was caught in Israel's tightest chokehold yet.

US officials urged Israel not to go too far in its reprisal.

Five loud blasts shook Yasser Arafat's besieged compound early Saturday, as troops flattened buildings around him with explosives, tanks and bulldozers.

Arafat, a few aides and about 20 men wanted by Israel were pinned to a few rooms in a wing of the main office building the only structure left standing in the once sprawling complex.

An Arafat aide said all the buildings in his headquarters except for a wing of his office building had been demolished. The military said troops razed 10 buildings and mobile homes.

Bulldozers were digging a deep trench and troops ran coils of barbed wire around the main building. Arafat was confined to his quarters on the second floor, after troops destroyed the stairway to the ground floor with a tank shell, his aides said.

Soldiers also demolished a second-floor walkway between the two wings of the building, cutting Arafat off from most of his guards in the other section.

Bulldozers barreling into the bridge left holes in walls and tore into pipes that gushed water. A digging crane raked a wall of the office, sending up dust.

A massive D-9 bulldozer about the size of a small house belched smoke as it shoveled debris. Diesel fumes from tank exhaust and dust filled Arafat's office, aides said.

Israel Radio quoted a witness as saying Arafat was seen covered in dust after one Israeli shell hit an office a floor above him. But Arafat was not hurt in the shooting, the radio said.

The radio quoted military sources as saying the floor above Arafat was hit during an exchange of fire between soldiers and Palestinian gunmen holed up inside.

Overnight, 27 guards, apparently not among those on Israel's wanted list, came out of the building, their shirts raised to show they were not carrying explosives.

Early Saturday, five explosions rocked the wing where the guards had stayed.

The compound also resounded with gunfire sporadically throughout Friday. The Israelis blew up three buildings in the morning and three loud explosions were heard hours later. Much of the compound was in ruins.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, an aide to Arafat, said Israeli troops fired several tank shells at the stairwell in the section where Arafat is, to prevent people from moving between the first and second floor.

The UN Security Council called a meeting on the violence for Monday morning at the Palestinians' request.

In fighting on Friday a tank shell destroyed the stairs to the ground floor below Arafat's quarters, and Israeli snipers took up positions in windows facing the rooms, Abu Rdeneh said. Two more shells were fired at another section of the building, he said.

"President Arafat and those with him are danger," Abu Rdeneh said, adding that he believed the building could collapse.

With the demolition of the walkway between the two sections of his office, Arafat and a few associates, along with about 20 wanted men, were isolated in one area and separated from most of his guards in the other section, Abu Rdeneh said.

Twenty-seven guards surrendered to Israeli troops, holding up their shirts to show they weren't carrying weapons or explosives.

The White House and the European Union urged Israel to show restraint, suggesting that too harsh a reprisal for a Tel Aviv bus blast claimed by Arafat's Islamic militant rivals would upset quiet efforts to reform the Palestinian Authority and secure a truce.

Israel said troops would only withdraw after the surrender of the 20 wanted men, who include West Bank intelligence chief Tawfik Tirawi. Arafat's aides said he would not hand over anyone to the Israelis.

Enraged by the bus attack, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reportedly raised the idea of expelling Arafat at an emergency Cabinet meeting Thursday. Defense minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, said the plan for now was to isolate, not oust the Palestinian leader.

However, TV reports said the ultimate goal of the current assault is to make Arafat seek exile voluntarily, by confining him to a tiny area and making life in the compound unbearable.

Ben-Eliezer, arguing that an outright expulsion is counterproductive and would only boost Arafat's standing, proposed that plan to Sharon in the Cabinet meeting, TV's Channel Two said.

Arafat has said he would never again leave the Palestinian lands.

Israeli bulldozers also started digging a deep trench around Arafat's office building and troops later ran bared wire around the building. Those inside said they feared the building could collapse. Security guards said a bulldozer had broken a hole into the building, near an elevator shaft.

Five Palestinians died and 25 others were wounded in during Israeli military action Friday. The dead included an Arafat bodyguard shot by snipers in the Ramallah compound.

In Gaza City, Israeli forces blew up several metal workshops where the army said weapons were made. Two Palestinians were killed and nearby houses were damaged by the explosions.

Near the town of Rafah, on the Egyptian border, Israeli troops fired on stone-throwers, killing two Palestinians and wounding 25 others, hospital officials said. The clash came after two soldiers were hurt when an explosion went off near their armored personnel carrier.

Arafat's sprawling compound was heavily damaged in Israeli raids earlier this year.

During a major offensive in March and April, Israeli troops confined Arafat to a few rooms for 34 days.

In June, troops reoccupied Ramallah and most other West Bank towns, and Arafat has not ventured from his compound since then, even on days when a military curfew was lifted.

Arafat was in relatively good spirits Friday, those around him said. He was kept awake at night by the shooting and bulldozers toppling walls, but 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 UN Security Council to discuss a demand for an immediate Israeli withdrawal, said Abu Rdeneh.

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.

The army has not released a complete list of names of wanted men, but detailed allegations against four, including Tirawi, the intelligence chief, and Mahmoud Damra, head of Force 17, Arafat's elite bodyguard unit, in Ramallah.

(With The Associated Press)

Posted by David Melle
 Link to this page |   Email this entry |   digg this

Comments
Post a comment




Remember Me?


Enter the code shown:   
This helps us prevent automated spam comments

Comments are open and unmoderated, although obscene or abusive remarks may be deleted. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of FactsOfIsrael.com. See the Terms of Use for more details.

Email this entry
Email this entry to
(Please enter email address):


Your email address:


Message (optional):


Referrers to this Page

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains some copyrighted materials the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.