:z3: This is from a thread I did back in Nov 2004...
DING, DONG the WITCH is DEAD. Which ol witch? The Arafat Witch. " When the wicked perish, there is jubilation" (Proverb 11,10).
These are the latest DEBKAfile headlines at 3:13pm EDT Tues 11/09/04...
Palestinian FM Nabil Shaath told world media in Paris that poisoning and cancer had been ruled out as causes of Yasser Arafat’s illness. He attributed bad health to long incarceration at his Ramallah HQ under Israeli siege. He also announced presidential elections in 60 days with Legislature Speaker Fathi Rouh acting president.
Joint Hamas-Al Aqsa Brigades-Jihad Islami statement in Gaza echoes Shaat accusation, holds Israeli responsible for Arafat’s death and vows revenge.
After 11 days, Palestinians admited Yasser Arafat was on life support system. Senior Muslim cleric Sheikh Tamimi is on his way to Paris to administer last rites and oversee funeral arrangements, after Palestinian officials reached agreement with Suha Arafat’s lawyers. The plan now is to bury Arafat in Ramallah and turn his headquarters into mausoleum.
DEBKAfile’s Palestinian sources: Palestinian leaders Abbas and Qureia left Paris without Chirac’s hoped-for backing for their claim to leadership. French president lines up with radical Palestinian leaders. This left them with no option but to comply with constitution and let acting presidency go to their Gazan opponent Fathi Rouh. Under constitution, Rouh is empowered to postpone elections by decree.
Israel has informed Palestinians that if they plan funeral for Arafat with state ceremonial, it can only take place in Gaza Strip – not West Bank or Jerusalem.
Yes it REALLY REALLY is true this time.
THE FRENCH CALL CURTAINS ON THE ARAFAT FARCE.
Paris Tells Palestinians to Remove Arafat
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
LINK [link to www.debka.com]
November 7, 2004, 12:42 AM (GMT+02:00)
Suha Arafat. In no hurry for widowhood.
French president Jacques Chirac’s patience with the Palestinians’ desperate maneuvers to cover up Yasser Arafat’s demise has run out. DEBKAfile’s Paris and Washington sources reveal exclusively that Friday, November 5, exactly a week after Arafat was admitted to the Percy military hospital near Paris, the French president put in a call to the White House and informed President George W. Bush that it was all over.
Paris and Washington both then swung into action.
An American delegation, organized at top speed by US Middle East diplomats, called on Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qureia in Ramallah on Saturday, November 6,
and asked him how Washington could help expedite a fitting end to the episode. The visit was more a token of support than a practical offer of help.
In Paris meanwhile, Suhah Arafat sacked the PLO ambassador Leila Shahid, the Palestinian spokesperson who issued almost daily bulletins after Arafat arrived in Paris.
What happened next was that Christian Estripeau, spokesman of the French military health services, informed Mrs. Arafat that he would issue no more bulletins on Arafat’s condition; neither would Percy hospital. She was given to understand that the hospital had kept her husband artificially alive as long as it intended to. The conversation followed a decision by a top-level conference of French officials, attended also by the president, to disengage from the pretence that Arafat was still alive. They realized it was no longer tenable without compromising the military hospital’s ethical position and medical credibility.
They also decided to settle the Arafat problem before November 12, because that is when Ramadan ends with “Orphan’s Friday” and moves into the three-day Eid al Fitr festival, during which no business of any kind can be contracted with Muslim authorities. If the Palestinian leader can be buried by Wednesday or Thursday, the French government reckons, the days of mourning can be wound up in time for Muslims to celebrate the festival and get started on the post-Arafat era.
Howwever, French efforts to unload Arafat by mid-week have been stymied by the lack of any accredited authority willing and able to organize the funeral or even determine the Palestinian leader’s final burial place. No Arab or Muslim leader will attend a funeral in Gaza or Jerusalem because it would entail transiting through an Israeli international port as well as risking his life in a Palestinian terrorist battle zone such as the Gaza Strip.
An earlier suggestion to overcome this difficulty, by Arab and European leaders attending a lying-in-state ceremony in Paris before the coffin’s transfer to Cairo, fell through. According to DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources, three governments - France, Egypt and Jordan – refused to allow any part of the final ceremonies on their soil. Paris then asked the Tunisian president Zeit bin Ali for permission to hold the central ceremony in his capital, so that European, Arab and Muslim leaders could pay their last respects in safety. The coffin would then be flown to Cairo and on to the Gaza Strip for burial.
The Tunisian president agreed. The Egyptian government firmly declined, as did Jordan.
In Ramallah, the power vacuum is widening.
Prime minister Ahmed Qureia and his predecessor Mahmoud Abbas are losing ground in their attempts to assume the interim reins of government.
1. Saturday, Qureia went to Gaza City to try and negotiate a temporary halt in terrorist attacks with the heads of 13 Palestinian factions – at least until after the funeral. They turned him down. Hamas demanded that first a unified Palestinian leadership be established with a place for itself.
2. The Gaza-based Palestinian Authority secretary Tayeb Abu Rahim Qureia humiliated Qureia at Saturday’s session of the Palestinian national security council by declaring angrily that nothing in the Palestinian constitution provided for the prime minister to step in as acting PA Chairman in Arafat’s absence. That prerogative, he said, belongs to another Gazan, the Palestinian legislature’s speaker, Fathi Rouh.
3. Then, the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s politburo chief, Farouk Kaddumi, who turned up in Paris Thursday, questioned Abbas’s constitutional credentials to stand in for Arafat as chairman of the PLO central committee. Kaddumi claimed that he was the rightful chairman and Abbas, who is listed as one of two deputies, must report on his every action to Kaddumi as his subordinate.