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Arafat Brain Dead, Middle East in Contingency Mode

Posted November. 05, 2004 22:58,   


As Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, 75, lapsed into coma with brain death, which is practically the same as a pronouncement of death in the medical field, on November 4, Israel and Palestine are both in a contingency state preparing for the “post-Arafat” era.

With Arafat, who holds the authority over all major decisions for Palestine, virtually out of the international political field, the situation in the Middle East has turned even more difficult to predict.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the leadership of the Fatah movement held an emergency meeting at a government building at Ramallah and discussed the aftermath of Arafat’s death.

The executive committee of the PLO announced that Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei has assumed some of Arafat’s power over financial and security matters, indicating that the transfer of power has begun. Prime Minister Qurei ordered the security authority of the Gaza district, on November 5, to reinforce its guard about the area.

Israel has set its military onto a full alert to prepare against disorder after Arafat’s death.

Western countries, including the United States and other nations in the Middle East including Egypt, are keeping their eyes on impending changes in the situation and devising various measures for all possibilities.

Arafat had been admitted for treatment into a military hospital in Clamart, south of Paris, France, on October 30, and a number of speculations of death and survival have been pouring out since 4:40 p.m. November 3 (November 4, 1:40 p.m. Korea time).

AFP (Agence France Presse) reported on November 5 that “he is in a vegetative state on artificial respiration,” suggesting that the Palestinian leader has reached a point of no return.

Ho-Gab Lee gdt@donga.com