An Israeli cabinet minister said Wednesday he believed Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority was not in control of the situation in the West Bank and Gaza after almost eight weeks of deadly violence.
"The Palestinian Authority is not in control of the situation and when there are (anti-Israeli) attacks it gets worse," Tourism Minister and former army chief Amnon Lipkin Shahak said.
He told Israel radio he had met secretly with Arafat and the head of preventative security in the Gaza Strip Mohammed Dahlan on Saturday at the request of Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
"I had one objective: to restore calm. I felt it was possible, but in the current situation there is no point in holding other meetings," he said.
"Israel must draw the necessary conclusions if it appears that the violence is organized and it is impossible to bring calm," he added.
"There is no real hierarchy among the Palestinians and the orders don't filter through and even in the heart of Fateh there are elements which refuse the orders of their superiors," he told public radio.
Fateh is Arafat's political and militia faction, blamed by Israel for a bombing of a Jewish settler school bus in the Gaza Strip that killed two Israelis and injured and mutilated several children, triggering massive retaliatory strikes.
Arafat last Friday ordered a halt to shooting from Palestinian areas under control of his self-rule authority but gunfights have nevertheless continued.
Close to 260 people have been killed in the wave of unrest sweeping the Palestinian territories, most of them Palestinians.
Meanwhile, Israel's army intelligence chief Amos Malka has accused Arafat of wanting to continue to support violence until he gains concessions on the diplomatic front, media reports said Wednesday.
Malka told a closed meeting of parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee that Arafat wants to internationalize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and warned there could be an upsurge in terror.
He also said that Arafat wanted the conflict to spread and pose a threat to US interests in the region in a bid to pressure Washington to bring about a solution – JERUSALEM (AFP)
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