Report: Israel Banned Arafat from Flying to Damascus
The Emirati Arabic daily, Al Bayan, has referred to reports that the Israeli authorities barred on Friday Palestinian President Yasser Arafat from leaving to Damascus.
The paper did not name the sources, but added that Fateh secretary in the West Bank and lawmaker, Marwan Barghouthi, was not allowed to go to Gaza for the PNA Legislative Council meeting.
In the meantime, a senior aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon confirmed Sunday that there are secret channels of communication between the premier and Arafat, according to Haaretz.
Uri Shani, one of Sharon’s closest aides, told Army Radio that it was important that lines of communication remained open all the time, but he added that there would be no official contacts until there was a complete cessation of hostilities by the Palestinians.
Sharon has repeatedly said that he will not resume peace talks with Arafat until violence ceases. In an interview in the weekly news magazine Newsweek which was released Sunday, Sharon said that he was ready to meet and negotiate with the Palestinian leader, but not “under pressure of terror or violence. That is the difference between this government and (Ehud) Barak’s.” – Albawaba.com