Arab governments are hoping to use a UN Security Council meeting today to press for an end to the siege of Yasser Arafat’s compound. But the US has reportedly told them it would press to prevent the council passing any resolution or would veto it. This according to the London Guardian.
The weekend attack on the compound has destroyed all but one building where Arafat and 200 supporters remain.
Palestinians flooded the streets of Ramallah and every other major town in the West Bank and Gaza Strip before dawn.
Amid fears Arafat is in danger, ordinary Palestinians defied army curfews and checkpoints to demonstrate their support.
The face-offs turned bloody in several spots in the West Bank, with tensions running higher in Ramallah where two Palestinians, including a radio journalist, were shot dead by soldiers, medical sources said. All told, at least five Palestinians were killed this weekend.
Israel’s attack on the compound generated international outcry. Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, called the siege “deplorable”. France denounced it as “unacceptable” and in London the Foreign Office said it was not the right way to end terrorism. Russia also called for Israel to end its destruction of the compound.
The White House said Sunday that the siege was “not helpful” to ending terrorist violence or promoting Palestinian political reforms.
Following two suicide bombings in Israel in 24 hours, the Israeli government unanimously decided to isolate Arafat in his headquarters and demand the extradition of 20 loyalists they accuse of “terrorist” activities.
Meanwhile, in New York four young Jewish activists interrupted a speech by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s speech at the World Union International Humanitarian Dinner at the Pierre Hotel last night. They unfurled a banner that read “Jews For a Free Palestine.” The first protester stood and unfurled the banner as Barak was beginning his speech. He was taken out by security. Ten minutes later, Louisa Solomon, a New School student, did the same things. Police eventually ejected all four from the dinner. No charges were filed. While one of the activists got punched by a guest at the dinner, another was overhead saying “I wish my kids did something like this.”
- Louisa Solomon, student activist who was thrown out of the Pierre Hotel in New York for protesting Ehud Barak speech.