September 8, 2004
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom
said Wednesday that the expulsion of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser
Arafat is closer than ever, and that at present, his isolation will
continue. Shalom made the remarks at a gathering of Likud activists ahead
of the Rosh Hashanah holiday.
Shalom's was the second remark made in the past week by a senior government official regarding the expulsion of Arafat.
On Monday, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz referred to the possibility of Arafat's expulsion, saying that, "Israel will find the time and method to expel Arafat."
Mofaz noted that the cabinet decision to exile Arafat is still valid, but reiterated that Israel is bound by a policy that includes the desire to implement the disengagement plan, and the desire to allow for pragmatic forces in the PA to lead negotiations with Israel.
Shalom also criticized Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, who said Tuesday that all responses to the Israel Air Force strike in the Gaza Strip on Monday, in which 14 Hamas militants were killed, would be justified. Shalom said that if a terror attack was to take place, responsibility would lie on Qureia personally.