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2003-09-12

Thousands of Palestinians Rally in Support of Arafat After Israel Authorizes His "Removal"

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Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat declared no one will "kick me out" after the Israeli Security Cabinet authorized the army to "remove" him. Meanwhile the Jerusalem Post called for Arafat’s death. We speak with Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah.

The Israeli government authorized the army last night to "remove" Yasser Arafat and gave its security services a green light to move against the 74 year-old Palestinian leader "in a manner, and at a time, of its choosing."

Arafat who has been trapped in his office for a year and a half by Israel declared that no one will "kick me out," after thousands of Palestinians poured into streets throughout the West Bank and Gaza to support him.

A spokesman for the Arab league described the move as " tantamount to a declaration of war."

Two days earlier, the Israel-Palestinian peace process took a major blow as Hamas carried out two suicide bombings killing 15 and Israeli forces killed at least seven Palestinians.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the decision by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s security Cabinet comes despite U.S. objections. One Cabinet minister said Israel "doesn’t take orders" from Washington.

A majority of the right-wing ministers attending the emergency meeting supported the expulsion of Arafat, according to Israeli television reports, and some even called for his death.

The Jerusalem Post, the No. 1 English-language newspaper in Israel, editorialized: "We must kill as many of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders as possible, as quickly possible, while minimizing collateral damage, but not letting that damage stop us. And we must kill Yasser Arafat, because the world leaves us no alternative."

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