Arafat to Palestinians: 'Prepare for Battle'

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The dam has burst. Yasser Arafat today accused the Israeli government of an "act of war" and urged Palestinians to "prepare for battle". The Palestinian president's sabre-rattling came in an interview with Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, which quoted him as saying that "Netanyahu has declared war on us and we have to prepare for what will come. The situation is serious."

It's not as if we didn't see this coming, according to TIME Jerusalem bureau chief Lisa Beyer. Freezing up to two-thirds of the Palestinian Authority's revenue Israel's attempt to force Arafat to crack down on Islamic militants was bound to backfire. "What it is actually doing is antagonizing (Arafat)," says Beyer.

TIME's Jamil Hamad reports the Israeli crackdown is making the lives of those in the West Bank and Gaza hellish. "It's clear that a peaceful solution is becoming less and less popular every day because of such policies," says Hamad.