Arafat`s Price Scale for Letting Palestinians Travel to Geneva
The unauthorized Geneva Accords launch ceremony, celebrated by a flock of unofficial and private individuals at the Swiss lakeside city on Monday, December 1, have netted handsome profits for Yasser Arafat. He has made the United States, Egypt, Israel and his own Palestinians pay through the nose for letting Fatah members attend as private persons while moderating his rejection of the private peace project by not a whit.
United States: Arafat’s back-and forth maneuvers up to the last minute caught Secretary of State Colin Powell too late to cancel the participation of the US Consul in Geneva. While deeply engaged in the war on terrorism around the world and in Iraq, America has been manipulated into sending an official representative to a ceremony taking place by the grace and favor of the Palestinian terrorist leader. After President George Bush, Powell and undersecretary of state William Burns advised Israel to stop humiliating Palestinians, they themselves were made to jump through hoops by the Palestinian terrorist chief.
<vEgypt: President Hosni Mubarak now owes Arafat for making the grand gesture of permitting representatives of his Fatah to travel to Geneva, albeit only as private individuals with no permission to sign any part of the Geneva Accords. Arafat will therefore be able to lay down the law at the ceasefire talks between Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qureia and terrorist organization leaders that open in Cairo on the same Monday, December 1. Egyptian intelligence chief, Gen. Suleiman Omar, who had expected to navigate the proceedings will be disappointed.
Israel’s Left Wing: The whole of Sunday, November 30, Arafat toyed with the Geneva Accord founders, Yossi Bailin and friends from Labor and other parties. He profited – but so did Bailin, who had his star-studded ceremony after all, attended by Arab government representatives, Nobel Peace Prize laureates and Israeli writers and actors. He entertains high hopes that the proceedings In Geneva will affirm him as leader of the new left-wing Israeli party Yaad inaugurated Sunday, November 30 by his own group Shahar (Dawn), Meretz and Labor fringe factions. The to-do around Geneva may prove attractive enough to finally splitting Labor, whose current leader, Shimon Peres, was the most prominent Nobel Peace Prize recipient to absent himself pointedly from the launch ceremonies. For Arafat, any step dividing Israeli society is a gain – as he has proved before.
Palestinians: Arafat was typically vague for some months over whether or not he approved the Geneva Accords initiative. He allowed its Palestinian partners to negotiate the proposals up to the draft stage but forbade them to sign it. He meanwhile organized and paid Fatah thugs to stage demonstrations and issue threats of violence against the Palestinian “collaborators” and “traitors” of Geneva as the launch date approached. Masked men shot at the home of senior Palestinian negotiator Yasser Abd Rabbo.
At the last minute, as a gesture to the Egyptian president, Arafat permitted a group of Palestinians to attend as private individuals led by Jibril Rajoub. But large numbers opted for the safety of boycott.
debkafile‘s Palestinian sources reveal that since Rajoub is again out of favor, Arafat used his participation to show the Geneva ceremonies up in Palestinian eyes as an empty mockery. Last month, after six months as Arafat’s national security adviser, Rajoub was confronted with his boss’s ire and realized the time had come to remove himself. When Arafat asked impatiently what he wanted, he replied: the cost of medical treatment in London. How much? I will pay your medical bills in full – was Arafat’s reply. “Fifteen thousands dollars per month,” said Rajoub. He then removed himself to London, taking care to put thousands of miles between himself and Ramallah.
Israel:Arafat has acquired a tame Palestinian prime minister who follows his lead in all matters. Qureia has made it clear that the Palestinians at the Geneva ceremonies represent neither the PLO nor the Palestinian government. He also said outright he would not even try to root out or even fight Palestinian terror. In any case, Arafat retains full control of Palestinian forces. Yet Abu Ala was received in Amman Sunday by a US official, undersecretary of state William Burns, who later urged Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to receive him. Arafat has proved once again that he can continue to wage terror undisturbed with no one able to cut down his authority. He demonstrated this in bloody fashion when William Clinton was president and again last June when Bush, Sharon and Abu Mazen launched the road map peace initiative in Aqaba. Two young Israelis Menahem Shambik and Moran Menahem were then butchered with knifes behind Hadassah Hospital at Ain Karem, Jerusalem. He is unlikely to have let Jibril Rajoub and Fares Kadoura attend the Geneva Accords launch without exacting his customary deadly price in Israeli bloodshed.