|Looks like Israel was correct in the way they dealt with the arab/pals....you agree? :o)|
Arafat's political defeat called end of one-man rule
SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Friday, September 13, 2002
RAMALLAH — The joint resignation of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's cabinet spared the humiliation of a vote of no-confidence and constituted a significant political defeat, analysts said.
Palestinian sources said the vote against Arafat was a signal by at least 57 out of 88 legislators for the PA chairman to agree to the appointment of a prime minister and end his one-man rule. They said the Fatah Central Council had approached Arafat's key aide, Mahmoud Abbas, in late August to submit his candidacy.
Arafat was forced to disband his 21-member Cabinet on Wednesday when Palestinian legislators refused to approve a motion of confidence. Arafat now has two weeks to present a new Cabinet to the Palestinian Legislative Council.
"For years, we have thought that the chairman requires strategic ministers and should not deal with daily tasks," Palestinian legislator Khaddoura Fares said. "We are talking of the need of new leadership, rather than just one man."
Israeli and Palestinian analysts said Arafat's authority was undermined by members of his ruling Fatah movement. They said the legislators resisted appeals, cajoling and threats to shelve a motion of no confidence in the Cabinet.
At the last minute, Arafat's Cabinet resigned and thus spared the vote. Many of the legislators applauded the announcement that the Cabinet had resigned.
Israeli analysts and officials termed the vote against Arafat as an historic development and said Israel's intelligence community had predicted the confrontation at the legislature. They said Arafat will probably face a galvanized and growing opposition within the Fatah movement that wants to reduce his authority.
"This is one of the biggest blows that Arafat has sustained until now and it was done by his people," Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said.
Israeli military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi-Farkash agreed. The general said he could not predict short-term development, asserting that much depends on the reaction of Israel and the United States.
"It is a slow, deep and staged process," Zeevi-Farkash said. "It depends a lot on us, a lot on the United States and the U.S. attack on Iraq."
Arafat announced that presidential and parliamentary elections would take place on Jan. 20. But Palestinian sources said opposition legislators reject this announcement and want a prime minister to whittle away Arafat's authority before elections are held.
PA officials blamed Israel and the United States for Arafat's defeat. They said both countries want to undermine Arafat to ensure he cannot win another election under his current authority.
"The only obstacle to the elections is not an internal one, it is Israel and the United States, who do not want elections because they don't want a strengthening of the Palestinian national leadership," PA Information Minister Yasser Abbed Rabbo said.
At the same time, Israel has tried to bolster some ministers within the PA. Ben-Eliezer halted military prosecution of the son of PA Civil Affairs Minister Jamil Tarifi, who was charged with arms smuggling from Jordan to the West Bank. Tarifi himself was said to have been involved in the smuggling and his son was released from an Israeli prison.