- The United States has found safe haven for beseiged Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat.
- U.S. officials said the Bush administration has obtained
approval from Morocco to provide asylum to Arafat. The officials said that
over the past few days U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell contacted Arab
and Islamic countries in an effort to end the Israeli takeover of Arafat's
headquarters in Ramallah.
- "We have found a place for Arafat," a U.S.
official said. "The problem is that Arafat doesn't want to leave just
- Officials said that one of the obstacles to Arafat's
exile is his insistence that he bring with him scores of aides and Palestinian
insurgents wanted by Israel. The insurgents include up to 70 Fatah and
Hamas agents accused of being responsible for the wave of suicide bombings
in Israeli cities.
- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has refused Arafat's
demand to leave with the scores of people trapped in his office and that
of Palestinian Authority security chief Col. Jibril Rajoub. Rajoub is believed
to be harboring at least 70 Palestinian insurgents in his complex in nearby
- Overnight Monday, Israel expanded its military operation
to other cities in the West Bank. Israeli tanks and troops captured Bethlehem,
Kalkilya and Tulkarm with tanks. So far, the military has captured 500
insurgents and a large amount of Palestinian weaponry. The next target
in the Israeli military campaign is expected to be the West Bank city of
- The Palestinians have responded with suicide bombings
in Israeli communities. On Sunday, a Palestinian suicide bomber killed
14 Israelis in a restaurant in the northern city of Haifa. Another bomber
blew himself up in the West Bank Jewish community of Efrat south of Bethlehem.
Three Israelis were injured.
- For their part, ministers in Sharon's Cabinet said Israel
has not yet decided to exile Arafat. They suggested that the current Israeli
military operation in the West Bank would be ended within days. "We
know we don't have an unlimited opportunity," Ben-Eliezer said on
- U.S. officials said the effort to find Arafat safe haven
is being aided by the European Union. They said such countries as Egypt,
Jordan and Tunisia refused to provide Arafat with asylum.
- Israel has pledged to the Bush administration not to
assassinate Arafat, officials said. They said the administration has not
expressed opposition to a widescale military campaign against the PA that
will be concluded within days.
- But officials said the administration, in fear of a regional
war in the Middle East sparked by Hizbullah, has pressed Israel to end
its military operation within several days. They said the administration
has come under tremendous pressure from Arab allies of the United States
as well as from the European Union.
- Sen. Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, has called on the United States and EU to send troops to the
West Bank and Gaza Strip to implement a ceasefire between Israel and the
PA. Biden said Arab allies such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia should contribute
troops to the peacekeeping effort.
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