ARABS-ISRAEL - Oct. 17 - Hardline Israeli Minister Killed.
He said: "Look what we've gotten: funeral after funeral, explosion after explosion, attack after attack. Arafat is not a partner for peace, he's a liar, a man of blood". By law, his resignation would have taken effect 48 hours later, in the afternoon of Oct. 17). Shortly after Zeevi's death, the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) released a video taking responsibility for the murder and saying: "The assassination of the Zionist criminal Rehavam Zeevi is only the first step according to the principles of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and one head for three heads". The video said that, with the possible exception of Sharon, there was no one on the Israeli political scene who so inflamed Palestinians' fury as Zeevi, who regarded the Arabs as nothing but enemies, opposed all peace overtures and clung to the conviction that tough military action alone was the antidote to Israel's security problems. The PFLP said the Zeevi's killing was to avenge Israel's Aug. 27 assassination of its own leader, Mustafa Zibri.
In an emergency session of the Israeli cabinet, PM Sharon told government ministers that Zeevi's murder meant "a new era has begun", suggesting an extraordinarily harsh military response would be forthcoming. He blamed Arafat, who had failed to rein in terrorists, and several Israeli ministers likened the murder to the Sept. 11 suicide hijacker attacks in the US. Sharon told a special session of the Knesset: "We will wage all-out war on the terrorists, those who collaborate with them and those who send them". As an initial response, Israel re-imposed a tight blockade on Ramallah after having only relaxed it on Oct. 15. Jamil Tarifi, a PA minister, said: "Every time an incident like this occurs, Israel holds the Palestinian Authority responsible. It should be understood that the continuation of Israel's policy of assassinations was bound to cause a reaction on the Palestinian street". The UN special envoy for the Middle East Terje Roed-Larsen issued a statement on Arafat's behalf, saying the PA leader condemned the murder "in the strongest possible terms" and instructed his security chiefs to arrest the assassins and prevent further "acts of violence and terrorism". Israeli Radio said Arafat's security forces arrested a high-ranking member of the radical group in the West Bank, perhaps seeking to forestall an Israeli attack, but PA officials did not immediately confirm the arrest. Israel's General Security Service ordered bodyguards for all government ministers. On Oct. 18, Zeevi was buried with full military honours at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl cemetery. On Oct. 17, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up next to the Gaza fence inside Israel, killing himself and wounding two soldiers.
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|Publication:||APS Diplomat Recorder|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Oct 20, 2001|
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