Daily Israel Report

Opinions Range From "Don´t Expel Arafat" To "Smash The Entire P.A."

IDF Intelligence Chief Gen. Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today that Arafat need not be expelled - but others disagree.
First Publish: 5/20/2003, 7:28 PM

IDF Intelligence Chief Gen. Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today that the recent focus on Arafat is actually strengthening him. Farkash warned, in the name of all Israel's security bodies, that expelling Arafat would "unite all the PA organizations on both sides and will increase terrorism." Farkash further said that Abu Mazen's main obstacle is Arafat, who is "sticking his hands everywhere, including encouraging terror." Farkash confirmed, in this connection, the indications that Arafat is funding the Al-Aqsa terrorist group.

MK Ehud Yatom (Likud) said that Arafat should be expelled, but that so should Hamas chief Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Committee Chairman Yuval Shteinitz (Likud) went even further:
"I think that expelling Arafat alone is not enough. We have an entire Palestinian Authority that was established with our consent a decade ago, in the hope that it would lead to co-existence and peace. After ten years, however, of violations and incitement and terrorism and Arafat's internal games, we have reached the absurd point where we want Dahlan and Abu Mazen to fight Hamas and Fatah and Tanzim and even Arafat himself. This is absurd! There's an old saying: Enough is enough. It's time to put an end to this terrorist authority, throw out the whole Tunis gang, and in six months or a year from now call new elections in the PA."

Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman had another approach: "Arafat should be killed." Asked today what he thinks Israel should do in response to the increasing terrorism, he told Arutz-7 today,
"I have no magic answers other than what I've said in the past: total war against terrorism, which begins with killing Arafat. We don't have to expel him, or isolate him; he is a terrorist like all the others, with the difference that he's responsible for the deaths of more Israelis than anyone else. As long as he's alive, nothing will change. In addition, we have to stop with the tweezer operations [in which forces pinpoint the target], and go instead to the large-scale smashing of terrorist infrastructures, as the Americans did. We must not take world opinion into account - the blood of our soldiers and citizens is more precious... It's obvious that we can't station guards at every mall or bus in the country; we have to fight them hard, and not let them breathe until they beg us for a ceasefire."

Lieberman, often portrayed as the icon of the government's right wing, commented on the wisdom of Prime Minister Sharon meeting with Abu Mazen: "I can understand the logic in wanting to create an alternative to Arafat, although I don't think that Abu Mazen is the right one... There simply cannot be three power centers in the PA - Arafat, Hamas, and Abu Mazen/Dahlan. It's clear that this can't last for a long time; either they will fight each other, or there will be chaos."