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      Abu Mazen May Soon Fall

      The Palestinian Legislative Council will hold its vote of confidence - or, more likely, no-confidence - in the Abu Mazen government on Thursday. The Fatah organization, which was jointly founded by Arafat and Abu Mazen four decades ago, has come out publicly against Abu Mazen.
      First Publish: 9/2/2003, 7:40 PM


      The Palestinian Legislative Council will hold its vote of confidence - or, more likely, no-confidence - in the Abu Mazen government on Thursday. The Fatah organization, which was jointly founded by Arafat and Abu Mazen four decades ago, has come out publicly against Abu Mazen, and PLC Chairman Abu Ala says that Arafat and Abu Mazen "hate each other."

      American mediator John Wolfe told Abu Ala that Washington would "not allow the Abu Mazen government to fall," according to Arab sources. The Americans plan to withdraw their support for the Road Map and an independent PA state if Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) falls, it was reported.

      Israel, too, supports the present PA leadership, as was made evident by Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom's remarks yesterday at a joint press conference with European Union Foreign Minister Javier Solana. Shalom said that Arafat now regrets his appointment of Abbas and is doing everything within his power to undermine him.

      The European Union, too, supports Abu Mazen. "We cannot talk about optimism at times like this," Solana said yesterday, "because the situation is not good - it's in critical condition... We must do everything we can to preserve the Road Map and enable it to succeed."

      In fact, the preponderance of foreign support for Abu Mazen is acting as a boomerang against him, as the PA public feels that he is exclusively in the service of the international community.

      Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom will meet in Morocco today with King Muhammad VI. Shalom said he hopes his visit will lead to a re-establishment of diplomatic ties with Morocco, which were severed in October 2000 at the outbreak of the Oslo War. Morocco's Foreign Minister even said that his country would like to take an active role in the peace process between Israel and the PA.