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Sunday, September 14, 2003

Arafat Plots Mega-Terror, Pushes PM-designate Qureia out of His Way

DEBKAfile Special Report, September 13
Yasser Arafat has been basking in the attention showered on him from far and wide following the Israeli cabinet’s declaration Thursday, September 11, that he should be removed. Since then, he stands at the window of his battered Ramallah office, beaming and waving the victory sign. Saturday, September 13, he summoned foreign consuls and Israeli peace activists to pay their respects on the 10th anniversary of the failed Oslo Peace Accords (for which he won a Nobel Peace Prize). He told them that the UN Security Council members’ warning to Israel not to expel him was an international guarantee for his safety. This has encouraged him to go for a starring solo role on the Palestinian stage and go for a mega-strike that beats everything the Palestinians have thus far inflicted on Israel.

Saturday, September 1, Israel switched to peak alert in readiness for the worst terrorist outrage yet. Reporting this, DEBKAfile’s military and counter-terror sources stress that the state of readiness went well beyond the run-of-the mill alerts which Israel endures almost daily. All the national resources - the special operations units from all branches of the Israeli army, police and border guards - were recruited to repel suicide terrorists said to be heading into Israel for multi-casualty strikes on an unprecedented scale.

This time the source of the violence is not Hamas. The latest intelligence reaching Israeli quotes Arafat, who sits with his circle at a table in his Ramallah headquarters around the clock, as saying: “The struggle against the Israeli aggressors must not be influenced by what happens to me. Carry on with your sacred mission.”

These words were interpreted by his henchmen as an order to go all the way and carry out an attack so disastrous that it will force international intervention in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and show the world that he, Yasser Arafat, is the sole Palestinian interlocutor.

Ahmed Qureia, his candidate for Palestinian prime minister, will not be allowed to get in the way of Arafat’s domination of any dialogue with the five big powers of the UN Security Council. He has therefore been thrust into the wings. Arafat calculates that a truly horrific terrorist outrage will bring home to the world’s leaders that Yasser Arafat, and he alone, holds the key to Middle East stability. His removal would also remove the Palestinians as a party to any diplomatic process. It is him or no one.

If he succeeds in this maneuver, Arafat will have undone the Bush-Sharon peace strategy and brought his confrontation with Israel to a successful conclusion, while also achieving his longstanding ambition to internationalize the dispute, downgrade Washington’s role and tip the international scales in the Palestinians’ favor.

The notable feature of his grandstand performance before the TV cameras on Saturday was the absence of the familiar “close aides” at his side.

DEBKAfile presents here the first exclusive disclosure by inside Palestinian sources of the real state of mind among Arafat’s inner circle of advisers . . .
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