Israeli’s Restrictions on President Arafat

Israeli’s Restrictions on President Arafat



Israeli restrictions imposed on President Arafat mobility has not only stopped him from attending Christmas midnight mass in Bethlehem but also revealed a clear Israeli plan to undermine the Palestinian Authority. The continuous Israeli attacks and destruction of Palestinian infrastructure as well as the tight siege imposed on Palestinian towns and cities are clear evidence that question Israeli commitment towards the peace process. Israeli tanks and armored vehicles are now less than 100 meters away from the President's office. Ramallah is suffering from a tight siege since Arial Sharon, Israel's prime minister, decided to restrict the mobility of president Arafat.

On January 18th 2002, Israeli tanks moved into Ramallah from three directions: North, East, and southeast. The most serious incursion; however, was the northern one since it directly threatened the presidential complex, See Satellite map.


On the northern main road leading to Bir Zeit, Israeli tanks took control of the whole area and attacked several houses. Some houses were searched for what Israeli officials called ''terrorists'' homes, while others were occupied and turned into military outposts for snipers. Several trenches alongside the road had been dug under the pretext of security. The occupied area amounts to around 55% of Ramallah. Now, people commuting between Ramallah and Bir Zeit have to take an alternative road instead of the direct one through Al Irsal area. The alternative road goes between the houses of Ramallah and around roadblocks in order to avoid the Israeli tanks and snipers, See Photo 1 & Photo 2.



Moreover, the Israeli army reoccupied Al Tira neighborhood at the eastern outskirts of Ramallah, where the homes of several PNA officials are located. They also demolished the building of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation in an attempt to silence the Palestinian voice. It is worth mentioning here that on the 24th of December 2001, the Israeli Occupation forces demolished the transmitting station (also known as Al Irsal) that was erected in 1938 by the British, See photo3 & Photo 4 .



 This station was transmitting  '' The Voice of Palestine'', the official Palestinian radio station. These gross violations, which have been strongly condemned by journalists and human rights organizations, were an unwarranted attack on press freedom and human rights. See Photo5 & Photo6.



Arafat's good intentions and serious interest in peace are embodied in his signing of peace agreements with Israel and making the historical compromise to acknowledge Israel's sovereignty on 78% of historical Palestine. Moreover, Arafat has boldly declared a ceasefire on December 16th 2001 to stop the spiral of violence and create the appropriate political climate for implementing the principles outlined in the Mitchell Report. Indeed, for three weeks there was a relative calm in the region where Palestinians expected that the USA would seize the opportunity and start the implementation of the Tenet's and Mitchell agreements.  Regrettably, the current Israeli government, headed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, continuously disregards Arafat's efforts and refuses to reciprocate in achieving a calm atmosphere. Instead, Sharon continues to attack Palestinian villages and cities, to assassinate Palestinian political leaders and to tighten the siege on Palestinian areas. Paradoxically, Sharon claims that the Palestinian leadership is the one disinterested in making peace, See Photo 7.


Prepared by:
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Closure