Sharon Offers Arafat A 'One-Way Ticket'

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:11 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he would be willing to offer Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat a 'one-way ticket' out of his headquarters in Ramallah if he agrees not to return.

Arafat has been confined to his Ramallah headquarters, surrounded by Israeli tanks and troops since last Friday after the Israeli cabinet moved to "isolate" the Palestinian leader in response to a suicide terror attack on Passover eve in Netanya.

Israeli leaders insist they do not intend to harm Arafat, but the cabinet left open the possibility that the Palestinian leader might be expelled.

Formally declared "isolated," "irrelevant" and an "enemy of the State of Israel" and accused by Sharon of having "operated, directed and initiated" terrorism, many observers and journalists have been asking "what's next for Arafat?"

Until now, officials have dismissed the question, saying only that Israel has no intention of harming Arafat but instead is targeting the terrorist infrastructure and its leaders.

On Tuesday, Sharon said that European Union envoy Miguel Moratinos had asked him whether or not Arafat would be allowed to leave Ramallah.

"I told him (Moratinos), if they (European diplomats) would like, they will fly with a helicopter and will take him (Arafat) from here," Sharon said while touring a West Bank army base.

"First I would have to bring this to the Cabinet, second he [Arafat] can't take anyone with him, the murderers who are located around him there and the third thing is that it would have to be a one-way ticket," Sharon said in his comments, which were broadcast on Israel radio.

"He [Arafat] will not be able to return."

Arafat said last week that he believed that Israel had a plan to expel, kill or capture him. In media interviews, he said that he preferred to die as a martyr.