PLO officials speak of the 'good Jews'

TO HIS economic advisers, Yasser Arafat has promised Palestinian postage stamps in three weeks, passports in three months. 'There will be no problems with the Israelis about this,' one of those advisers commented wistfully as he strode the sand-encrusted lawn of one of Gaza's few hotels before we left for Jericho. 'The protesters don't matter. The Israelis are now what we call the 'enemy-friends'.'

It was an exclusive point of view. In Gaza - and yesterday in Jericho - PLO officials talked about the 'good Jews' with whom they could negotiate, the honest Israelis whom they could trust. But the moment we drove out across Israel and the occupied West Bank to Yasser Arafat's other borough in Jericho, all the old double standards reasserted themselves. At the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel, two elderly Palestinian women were forced to sit on the pavement in the sun while their papers were checked, hands upraised and pleading with an officer to allow them to pass. An Israeli border policeman forced a Palestinian with out-of-date papers to stand beside his car while he screamed abuse at him.

That morning's Jerusalem Post maintained the same double standards. The front page announced the wounding of an Israeli Jew by Arab 'terrorists' while the back page carried a smaller article reporting that 'Jewish extremists' may have been responsible for the murder of a Palestinian Arab. My Palestinian taxi driver watched fearfully as a squad of bearded Israelis in yamulkas erected a huge banner across the Ashkelon-Tel-Aviv highway intersection calling for Mr Arafat's assassination.

But the moment we arrived in Jericho, there were the PLO men again, all expressing trust and goodwill. A Palestinian major said passage in and out of Jericho for Mr Arafat had been fully co- ordinated with the Israelis; that indeed, an Israeli helicopter might escort Mr Arafat's machine across the land he calls Palestine early today. 'He will meet his ministers here in Jericho,' Faisal Husseini announced. 'The ministers will be sworn in and will then tell President Arafat of their needs.' A PLO colleague said that the three principal ministerial demands would be 'money, money and more money'.

Mr Arafat's stated refusal to accept the financial accountability demanded by international donors is causing some private disquiet among his staff. Officially they talk of the disrespect shown by the World Bank in suggesting that their 'president' cannot be trusted; privately they say that some of Mr Arafat's opponents in Gaza may have to be bought off, not least because they were well-armed by the Israelis in the last months of their occupation of Gaza City (the truth of this accusation will be debated for many months).

The need for funds is all too evident. Around Jericho, crudely painted signs have been erected outside grubby two-storey apartments and dust-covered offices. 'Palestine National Authority Land Department,' says one. 'Palestine Council of Health' and 'Palestine National Authority Department of Communications' - the latter painted on a wooden board above an alleyway beside Jericho's fly- blown post office.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked