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The Diplomatic War

Saturday, September 1, 2001 | Tag Cloud Tags:

The Clinton Administration announced today that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have agreed to attend soon a US-mediated session in the region aimed at rooting out the cause of the violence. The clashes are Clinton's worst nightmare, as he desperately wanted to avoid a Mideast flare-up just as his term in office winds up and US voters go to the polls to elect his successor.

Barak and Ben-Ami have embarked on an intensive diplomatic offensive to preserve the international goodwill they claim has accumulated due to their concessions in the peace process. Both said that Israel has "discerned" an orchestrated attempt by the PA "to create unrest in the territories" in a bid to achieve short-term diplomatic gains. "Such a course is dangerous as riding on the back of a tiger," cautioned Ben-Ami.

According to Israeli sources, Arafat met on Friday at his Ramallah office with leaders of the "Tanzim," Fatah's youth paramilitary group, and top officers from his security forces. Arafat reportedly urged them to continue the disturbances in a way which would result in a significant number of fatalities among both Israelis and Palestinians. At the same time, Arafat was personally promising Barak by phone that he would restore calm on the street.

Protesters also have been egged on by Palestinian media calls to "join the battle to protect al-Aqsa." Describing the violence as the "Hamas way," a spokesman for the Islamic terrorist group commended the Palestinian establishment for joining the struggle. "This proves that this is the good way," said Mahmoud Zahar. "To face the Israelis everywhere, to get our rights."

Arafat even told a Saudi daily that the Palestinians are keeping open the option of war against Israel. "The Palestinian people have many options at their disposal, and they have survived many sacrifices in their history," Arafat was quoted as saying.

Arafat is asking for UN observers in Jerusalem and the territories "to protect the Palestinians from the Israeli army, which is shooting at demonstrators using live ammunition," a PA source said. "We need [the security council] to send international observers to protect Palestinian worshipers at the Haram al Sharif [Temple Mount], and to prevent Israeli soldiers from entering the place," he said.

Arafat has also offered Israel a cease fire, provided that IDF forces first withdraw from the entrances to Palestinian population centers. Israeli officials said the offer indicates Arafat indeed is able to control and curb the riots.

In Cairo today, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called for an urgent Arab summit to deal with the violence in the territories. The state-affiliated newspaper AL-AHARAM reported that Mubarak warned Barak that events of recent days will have "damaging consequences" for the peace process. Meanwhile, members of the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrated in Cairo and Alexandria in protest against the "Al Aqsa massacre."

Finally, in a statement issued after an emergency meeting of its 22 ambassadors, the Arab League demanded the UN Security Council "conduct an international investigation into the horrible crimes against the Palestinian people and try the responsible Israelis before the International Criminal Court."

Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

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