RAMALLAH ø The Palestinian Authority has been thrown into turmoil
amid the absence of Yasser Arafat.
PA officials said the PA Cabinet has not been briefed regarding key
meant to maintain operations in Arafat's absence. They said financial and
security decisions still required the approval of Arafat, who has been
hospitalized in a military facility outside Paris.
"It is true that many things need Arafat's signature and approval, like
financial and security issues, and we will be in touch with him in Paris,"
Palestinian Legislative Council speaker Rawhi Fatouh said.
Arafat arrived in Paris on a French Air Force jet on Oct. 29, and on
Saturday his physicians prevented all visits except for family members. The
physicians said they would issue a statement on Arafat's health on Nov. 1.
On Saturday, the PLO Executive Committee met in Arafat's headquarters in
Ramallah. It was the first meeting of the 12-member executive committee
without Arafat since 1969.
Arafat has approved a three-member emergency committee to operate the PA
and PLO in his absence. Official said Qurei was meant to run the PA's daily
affairs while Abbas was appointed acting chairman of the PLO. Palestine
chairman Salim Zaanoun, the third member of the committee, was said to be a
"We are in touch with the president and still receive his instructions
as he is head of the Palestine Liberation Organization," Abbas said.
On Sunday, the PLC plans to hold an emergency session to discuss
Arafat's departure. Palestinian sources said several legislators were
expected to demand that Abbas and Qurei assume full authority during the
absence of the PA chairman.
"I don't think anybody can make any decisions while Yasser Arafat is
still alive," PLC member Hassan Khreishah said. "So things will remain as
Palestinian insurgency groups have pledged to maintain stability in wake
of Arafat's departure. But they stressed that they would continue attacks on
Israeli civilian and military targets.
"The strategy is based upon continuing the resistance against the
Zionist occupation and defending the unity of the Palestinian people without
entering internal Palestinian conflicts," Hamas spokesman Ismail Haniyeh