A State of War in the Holy Land?

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Israeli troops have invaded and captured most of Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah, bringing Israelis and Palestinians to the brink of a state of war. The military operation comes in the wake of another suicide bombing in Israel, the third since the Passover feast began Wednesday night.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon used bellicose language this morning, saying, "Arafat, who has established a coalition of terror against Israel, is an enemy and at this point he will be isolated."

A spokesman for Yasser Arafat, who is reportedly holed up in his office, which is surrounded by Israeli troops, likened Sharon's statements to a declaration of war against the Palestinian people.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said he has received assurances from Sharon that Arafat will not be harmed. Powell also added that Special Envoy Anthony Zinni will remain in the region in the hopes of bringing about a peaceful resolution, even as the situation just seems to get worse and worse.

This hour, the latest on the escalating fighting in the Middle East and the implications of the Israelis' direct attack on Yasser Arafat's compound.


Mohamed Abu-Nimer, professor in the School of International Service at American University

Denis Sullivan, Chair of the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University

Giddy Greenstein, Former Secretary of the Israeli delegation to the permanent status negotiation with the Palestinians

Harvey Morris, Jerusalem Correspondent for The Financial Times

This program aired on March 29, 2002.


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