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Israel Planned Arrest, Deportation of Arafat in 2002 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Tel Aviv – Israel planned to arrest former Palestinian President, the late Yasser Arafat, and deport him from the West Bank in 2002, a former high-ranking Israeli official revealed Friday.

Former Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said he and then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had planned the arrest of Arafat under the “Operation of the Defensive Shield,” implemented in 2002.

The two also planned to deport the late Palestinian president in a plane to a distant location.

In an interview with the Israeli official Channel 1, Mofaz said the Israeli intelligence had enough information about the Palestinian leader to mislead him and then arrest him while he was sleeping along a limited number of his family members, in addition to his private doctor. They would them take them to a very distant location away from the Israeli borders.

However, the plan was never implemented due to Arafat’s sickness and then his death.

Meanwhile, the occupation authorities announced on Friday they would seal off checkpoints and crossing from the occupied West Bank for a week starting Monday in preparation for the Jewish festival of Passover.

They said the closure would come into effect at midnight on Monday and continue until midnight on Monday 17 April.

The authorities justified barring Palestinians from leaving the West Bank by saying their goal was “to ensure quiet holidays for every citizen” during the Jewish Passover festivals.

Ahead of imposing the closure of the West Bank, the occupation forces launched a series of arrests in the cities and villages of the bank and said such operations aimed to stop Palestinian organizations from launching armed operations against Israel.

Israeli forces also raided the village of Silwad near Ramallah, where they arrested 7 people and prevented residents from performing the dawn prayers.