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April 22, 2004
Bummer Of A Birthmark, Yasser (Part II)

The Israeli get-tough policy on terrorist leadership apparently has made its point -- Yasser Arafat, at least, has learned that the Israelis mean business:

Yasser Arafat forced 20 fugitives hiding in his West Bank headquarters to leave the premises early Thursday, fearing the Israeli army would invade the complex to grab them, one of the departing fugitives said. The fugitives, all members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militant group linked to Arafat's Fatah faction, have been hiding from the army in Arafat's headquarters for months. Israel has repeatedly demanded they be kicked out.

Israel has complained about Arafat's sheltering of al-Aqsa terrorists ever since he holed up in his Ramallah compound, but had always refused to give up his protection of his organization's men. AAMB, after all, belongs to Arafat's own Fatah faction of the PLO. However, after the elimination of Sheik Yassin and Abdel-Aziz Rantisi, Arafat has since learned that Israel isn't interested in debate with bomb-throwers -- and that their aim has improved greatly:

Last week, Israeli security officials summoned Ismail Jabber, commander of the Palestinian national forces, and told him if the fugitives were not forced out they would invade, and if necessary, pull them out of "Arafat's desk drawer," said a fugitive, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Five of the terrorists left voluntarily after that meeting. However, with signs abounding that the Israelis were about to invade Ramallah to finish the job, he forced the other twenty out, much to their chagrin. Apparently Arafat would rather face their anger than an Apache helicopter or a battalion of Israeli soldiers.

Who says that the new Israeli policy won't get results?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 22, 2004 6:05 AM

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