IDF Officers - Arafat Could
Be Harmed By Accident
By Amos Harel
Ha'aretz Correspondent

Despite strict orders to troops besieging Yasser Arafat's compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah not to harm the Palestinian Authority Chairman, IDF officers said at the weekend that the situation at the site was very sensitive and that it would be impossible to rule out the possibility of Arafat being harmed, by accident, during clashes.
The officers said that their soldiers had been ordered to refrain from harming Arafat, but added that the Palestinian leader could be inadvertently hit by a stray bullet during the gunfire exchanges taking place in and around his offices.
Among the dozens of Palestinians holed up and besieged by the Israel Defense Forces in Arafat's offices are a number of senior PA members, together with a number of wanted men arrested by the PA in the past, including the murderers of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi, who was gunned down by the PFLP outside his hotel room in Jerusalem last October.
Palestinian sources said Saturday night that Arafat had received an ultimatum from Israel that if he did not hand over individuals in the building who were on Israel's wanted list, IDF soldiers would enter the building to capture the men themselves. Israel Radio quoted security sources Saturday saying that the PA leader had not been given any ultimatum but had been presented with a demand by Israel for the wanted men to be handed over.
Military sources told Ha'aretz that Arafat's personal bureau, on the second floor of the building that houses his offices, was also serving as home to the commander of the Palestinian security forces in the West Bank, General Haj Ismail Jaber; the head of the PA's General Intelligence service in the West Bank, Tawfik Tirawi; the governor of Ramallah, Mustafa Liftawi; and Arafat's adviser, Nabil Abu-Rudeineh.
According to the sources, Fuad Shubaki, the PA's money-man who played a central role in the Karine A weapons ship affair, was also holed up in and around Arafat's office.
West Bank Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, the sources said, had fled the Ramallah area to one of the neighboring villages just as the IDF had initiated its military offensive on Thursday night.
Sources in the defense establishment believe that Arafat "will record" the absence of Barghouti from the campaign.

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