By Nina Gilbert

The Jerusalem Post (January 23) - The US views Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat as a "lost cause," and is fed up with him, OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi (Farkash) said yesterday.

In the past, the US has seen Arafat as both the problem and the solution, but now has reached a conclusion he is a "problem with no solution," Ze'evi said in his first appearance before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee since being appointed to head the Intelligence Corps. At the same time, the PA is still seen by the US as the address for continuation of dialogue, he noted.

In regional matters, Ze'evi told the committee al-Qaida fighters are "fleeing for Lebanon." He said the US is nearing the end of its war in Afghanistan and will decide on its next moves within two weeks.

He said that IDF Intelligence believes the possibility of a US move against Iraq is growing, but there are elements in the US that oppose it, arguing it is not an integral part of the war against terror. There is also fear a fatal blow to Iraq could pose a danger to Arab regimes, which could face of angry protests from Islamic elements, he said.

As for Saudi Arabia, he said the wealthy sheiks there have begun to buy assets in the US out of fear extreme Muslim elements will try to take over the kingdom and they will need to escape.

He also said nine of the 14 crew on the captured Karine A arms freighter were "innocent sailors" who tried to escape when they discovered the contents of the freight. However, they were held on the ship by Palestinian officers and were forced to cooperate.

The PA is continuing its armament efforts in all possible channels, he said. Arafat sees armament as one of the necessities of the PA to continue the struggle against Israel, Ze'evi added.

Arafat will not settle the conflict with Israel even if he gets all pre-1967 territory, including the holy sites in Jerusalem, and the implementation of the right of return for refugees, he said.

Arafat's recent efforts to calm the violence did not indicate a change in his strategic opposition to the notion of two states for two peoples, he said.

In the face of domestic threats to Arafat, it cannot be expected he will make any power play against terror groups, except for the Tanzim, even if, from a tactical point of view, it would serve his interests. "Arafat won't launch a war against Palestinian organizations," he said.

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