- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 18, 2002

JERUSALEM The Israeli army has drawn up a contingency plan to expel Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat by force, a television station reported.
The report, which did not cite any sources, said the plan had been approved in principle by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and entailed a raid on Mr. Arafat's Ramallah compound by special forces who would ensure he was not harmed during the operation.
In its report Friday night, Channel Two TV said Mr. Arafat would be taken from his headquarters to a waiting helicopter. He would be flown nonstop to an Arab country that has no diplomatic relations with Israel and no close ties with the United States, Israel's premier ally, the station said, naming neighboring Lebanon as a possible destination.
The report said the scenario was a contingency plan, not likely to be implemented anytime soon. Aides to Mr. Sharon have said they will stand by a commitment to Washington not to injure Mr. Arafat, but they have not ruled out expelling him.
The army and the prime minister's office would not comment on the TV report, which angered Palestinian leaders. "We denounce the mere thinking of such despicable ideas," said Palestinian minister Saeb Erekat, speaking from Cairo, Egypt. "At a time when we are trying to revive the peace process, the Israeli government is thinking such ideas."
In Hebron, after a week of life without curfew, Palestinians said restrictions were suddenly imposed again yesterday morning.

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