As the Israelis wisely allowed Chairman Yasser Arafat to leave his compound for medical treatment in France, Javier Solana has sprung into the breach on behalf o the European Union.
As we have written several times before, the EU has consistently supported Chairman Arafat, despite his political, legal, humanitarian and purely personal financial record, mainly because he was seen as part of the Palestinian problem by both Israel and the United States (as well as a large number of Palestinians, but let that pass).
It has been reported that Solana, the foreign affairs supremo of the EU, briefed the Palestinian delegate in Brussels, Sevki Al-Armali, of his talks with the Israeli government, in which he insisted that Arafat’s safe return home after the completion of his treatment should be guaranteed. All well and good, but given Arafat’s age and health problems, it may not be the Israeli government or the mighty EU that will be making the decision.
Solana has also expressed concern about potential problems in Gaza caused by Arafat’s failing health and the forthcoming Israeli withdrawal. No detailed ideas have been advanced publicly. All previous solutions, that is, demands that Israel do this, that or the other, somehow seem unsatisfactory at the moment.