Israel Renews Bar On Arafat’s Travel

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JERUSALEM?Israel renewed its ultimatum to Yasser Arafat on Saturday: Arrest the assassins of an Israeli Cabinet minister or remain barred from traveling.

The standoff took on new importance with the approach of Orthodox Christmas celebrations in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem on Sunday.

“Arafat will not leave Ramallah until these people have been arrested,” Gideon Saar, the Israeli Cabinet secretary, told Israel Radio on Saturday.

Eleven members of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, will be part of a delegation accompanying Arafat to Bethlehem for Orthodox Christmas, the news agency Interfax reported quoted a Palestinian envoy in Moscow as saying.

Since Bethlehem was transferred to Palestinian control in 1995, Arafat, a Muslim, has attended both Western and Orthodox Christmas celebrations every year to underscore Palestinian unity.