‘There is something very sinister about Israel’s attacks on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. They bring back memories of the campaign that preceded the demise of the late Yasser Arafat. Egged on by George Bush, Arafat’s nemesis, Ariel Sharon, had decided that the PLO leader was no longer a partner for peace. To all intents and purposes they interned him in his Ramallah compound and the rest is history. Arafat, it now appears, was poisoned to death with polonium.
Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, thus could not have chosen a more solemn occasion to remind the Ramallah authority of their current leader’s possible fate. In a week when there were loud calls for an independent inquiry into Arafat’s death, Lieberman told his Australian counterpart Bob Carr, “There will be neither diplomatic progress nor an accord with the Palestinians as long as Abbas remains in power.”‘