Sharon considering allowing Arafat moving to Gaza Strip; PA rejects idea
Israel’s Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, said he would consider allowing Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, slip out of the Israeli siege in Ramallah and move to the Plaestinian-controlled Gaza Strip to demonstrate whether he was willing to put his security forces there to “stop Palestinian violence,” The New York Times reported on Thursday.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat dismissed the idea.
"He's announcing ... that he wants to renew his occupation of the West Bank, and he wants to exile Arafat to Gaza," Erekat told the U.S. paper. "I think this is the first time that Sharon reveals the extent of his plans."
He also revealed that his son Omri, had met last Saturday with Arafat's economic advisor, Mohammed Rashid, in an effort to get assurances that the Palestinian Authority security forces would crack down on violence.
However, Sharon said that such assurances had been given, but that "the terror became more intense... They haven't taken any steps."
Speaking in an interview, Sharon left no doubt that he projected Arafat to fail any such test, saying that "with Arafat, no one will be able to make peace."
The American newspaper reported that Sharon said he promised President Bush in their first White House meeting that he would not harm Arafat. (Albawaba.com)
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