PA official: Israel
trying to kill Arafat

By Aaron Klein

Israel has been trying to recruit Palestinian agents to assassinate embattled PLO President Yasser Arafat, a Palestinian official claimed last night.

Hani Al-Hassan, a former security minister and longtime Arafat loyalist, said in recent months Israel has tried to recruit a number of Palestinian collaborators to carry out the assassination. He said two of the collaborators changed their minds when they were told the target was Arafat.

“When they learned that the target was Arafat, they ran back to us and informed us about the Israeli scheme,” Hassan said.

Hassan claimed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has secretly directed the Mossad to overthrow Arafat by March 2005 and to find an acceptable replacement for him. Hassan also claimed a number of “friendly” countries have warned Arafat and several senior PA officials to take precautionary measures because Israel has decided to assassinate them.

“Israel wants to kill all the Arafat loyalists, including myself, in addition to the leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine,” he said.

“Arafat is sinking as low as it takes to try to get some support for himself,” a security source told WorldNetDaily. “Like we’d really need to go out and recruit two Arabs from the street who at first don’t even know the target, to kill Arafat. Oh please.”

Israel has more to lose than to gain in killing Arafat, Israel’s former foreign minister Shlomo Ben Ami told WorldNetDaily in an interview.

“If it becomes clear that Israel had a hand in [Arafat’s] death, this will make him into a martyr,” said Ben Ami. “I think given that he is being held under difficult conditions by Israel, my fear is that even if he passes for natural reasons, it will be perceived as because of the conditions and he will become a sort of martyr.”

Ben Ami said if Arafat dies, he expects a bloody Palestinian civil war and a possible Hamas takeover. “Because there is no mechanism of succession. You have all kinds of warlords. There is a difference between Gaza and the West Bank, and Hamas could fill the vacuum.”

Sharon, though, has said he has no intention of ever allowing Arafat to leave his battered West Bank compound. Meeting with his advisers to review a recent Egyptian security proposal, Sharon said the 74-year-old Palestinian ruler will remain confined to his compound “for the next 45 years,” a participant in the meeting said.

Arafat has been trapped in his Ramallah compound, surrounded by Israeli troops, after launching the Intifada upon his return from the Camp David peace summit in 2000, where he turned down an offer of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. He has been able to receive visitors and grant media interviews, but Israel will not allow him to leave the compound grounds.