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Wednesday, 17 April, 2002, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Arafat furious as Powell ends mission
An Israeli bus after a suicide bombing in Jerusalem last Friday
US aid depends on Arafat halting attacks immediately
The besieged Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, has voiced outrage over his treatment by the Israelis, following talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.


I have to ask the whole world...is this acceptable, that I can't go outside this door?

Yasser Arafat

Mr Arafat emerged from the meeting in Ramallah in angry mood, the BBC's Jon Leyne reports. The talks took place in Mr Arafat's shell-blasted headquarters, where the Palestinian leader remains surrounded by Israeli snipers.

Mr Arafat condemned Israel's crackdown in the West Bank and his own isolation, with the Israelis controlling his access to electricity, food and water.

Church of the Nativity
The two-week-old church siege in Bethlehem continues
"I have to ask the whole world...is this acceptable, that I can't go outside this door?" he told reporters.

But he also thanked Mr Powell for his efforts and described the talks as "very warm, very important".

It was Mr Powell's last meeting with Mr Arafat as the US secretary of state wrapped up his Middle East peace mission, still with no sign of a ceasefire. He made no comment after the talks.

Conditions

Palestinian officials say there will be no deal or truce until Israel makes a full withdrawal from all the West Bank areas it has occupied.

But Washington has called on the Palestinians to halt "terrorism" immediately or risk losing millions of dollars in aid.

New US conditions for aid to Palestinians
Ceasefire in Middle East
Resumption of security co-operation with Israel
Clampdown on militants

The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has pledged to pull troops out of Jenin and Nablus within a week. But they will stay in Bethlehem and Ramallah until Palestinian "terrorists" there surrender, he said.

One of Mr Arafat's top aides, Saeb Erekat, warned that the situation was worse than a week ago, with the Israelis "deepening the reoccupation".

"I don't know if we have a Palestinian Authority any more," he said. "All we can say is Sharon did a good job to torpedo the secretary's mission here."

Palestinian casualties

In the city of Nablus, hospital records show that 71 Palestinians have been killed there since the Israeli army invaded on 3 April.


  Click here to see town-by-town update

A Reuters correspondent there saw a mortuary overflowing with corpses - including 25 piled in a refrigerated dairy truck.

And in the devastated Jenin refugee camp Red Cross teams and Israeli troops are continuing the search for the bodies of Palestinians killed in heavy fighting.

Heavy security is in place in Israel to prevent suicide attacks, as the country holds ceremonies for its independence day.

'Close watch'

Since 1994 US presidents have signed a waiver every six months that allows the Palestine Liberation Organisation to lobby and finance itself in Washington. But the annual $75m in aid will now be conditional on Mr Arafat halting attacks on Israelis.

Aid committed to Israel and Palestinians in 2001
Israel: $2.4bn military aid, plus $200m grants and $700-800m 'general' aid from US
Palestinians: $570m aid from Arab League, $300m from European Union and $240m from US
Source:World Bank

The Bush administration said it would be watching Palestinian compliance "very closely".

After a final round of talks with Mr Powell on Tuesday, Mr Sharon indicated that he might drop objections to Mr Arafat attending an international Middle East peace conference.

Speaking on Israeli television, Mr Sharon said a Middle East summit involving Mr Arafat could take place in the United States in June. Whoever represented the Palestinians at a summit was "a secondary issue," he said.

Mr Sharon previously insisted that Mr Arafat, whom he accuses of fostering terrorism, should not attend any peace talks.

Hamas defiant

Israeli forces moved into a Palestinian district of Jerusalem overnight. Residents of Issawiyah said troops removed people from their homes and made arrests.

An Israeli soldier outside Jenin
Israel receives $3bn a year - much of it in military grants

As diplomatic moves continued, the militant group Hamas appealed for funds to buy the weapons needed for suicide bombings and attacks against Israelis.

The website of the group's military wing launched the appeal, imploring Arab supporters to consider the cost of modern guerrilla actions.

The group claims its fighters have killed 65% of Israelis who have died since the current Palestinian uprising began 18 months ago.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Andrew Burroughs
"The occasion... brought a furious outburst by Mr Arafat"
US Secretary of State Colin Powell
"I have found broad support for a comprehensive strategy"
See also:

16 Apr 02 | Middle East
Arafat aide chides Arab leaders
16 Apr 02 | Middle East
Heavy gunfire near Bethlehem church
16 Apr 02 | Middle East
Eyewitness: Inside ruined Jenin
16 Apr 02 | Middle East
Plea for access to devastated Jenin
16 Apr 02 | Middle East
Powell makes final ceasefire push
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