Crowd loots Gaza home of Arafat
Witnesses say crowd took furniture, wall tiles and personal belongings from villa of deceased Palestinian leader; Fatah gunmen attempt to kidnap Hamas-affiliated official in Ramallah. Palestinian official says American envoy told Abbas US would lift ban on aid to emergency government
Fatah officials said the crowd took furniture, wall tiles and Arafat’s personal belongings.
The villa had been empty since Arafat left for the West Bank in 2001 shortly after the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising. Israel confined Arafat to the West Bank until permitting him to fly to France for medical care in late 2004. Arafat died in France several weeks later.
Arafat, Fatah’s founder, led the Palestinians for four decades before his death.
Meanwhile, clashes continued in the West Bank, where hundreds of Fatah gunmen stormed the Hamas-controlled parliament building in Ramallah. The gunmen attempted to kidnap the deputy chairman of the Palestinian parliament, Hassan Khreisheh, who is affiliated with Hamas, but were stopped by Fatah MPs.
Earlier in Nablus Fatah gunmen seized control of a number of Hamas-affiliated institutions, including the city council building.
Bush, Olmert to discuss gestures
A senior Palestinian official said an American envoy told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting on Saturday that the United States will lift a ban on aid to the emergency government he is forming.
Abbas ordered the Hamas-led government disbanded on Thursday after the Islamist group's bloody takeover of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas said Abbas' order amounted to a coup and that Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader, remained in power.
"Abbas was informed the American administration will immediately lift the sanctions once the emergency government is announced," the senior Palestinian official said as Abbas met in Ramallah with US Consul-General Jacob
Senior Israeli and Western officials said Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and US President George W. Bush would discuss at a meeting next week a series of "gestures" they planned to take, including the release to Abbas of a portion of the Palestinian Authority's tax revenues being withheld by