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Arafat Installs New Palestinian Gov't, Declares State of Emergency

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat has installed a new prime minister and cabinet by decree and declared a state of emergency in the Palestinian territories. The move is seen by some observers as an attempt to stop Israel from sending Mr. Arafat into exile, following a Palestinian suicide bombing that killed at least 19 people.

Mr. Arafat has unilaterally declared a new government for the Palestinian people. The government includes eight ministers headed by a new prime minister, Ahmed Qureia.

Mr. Qureia replaces Mahmoud Abbas, who resigned last month after losing a power struggle with Mr. Arafat over control of the Palestinian security forces.

The cabinet includes Nasser Youssef, an Arafat loyalist, who is to be in charge of some arms of the security establishment.

Mr. Arafat also declared a state of emergency in Palestinian areas, but it is a move seen as largely symbolic, since Israel remains the overriding power in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

By installing a new government, observers say, Mr. Arafat's main aim is to make it more difficult for Israel to expel him from the area.

Israel's cabinet announced last month it would remove Mr. Arafat at a time of its choosing. It declared that the Palestinian President had been orchestrating much of the recent violence.

That decision followed the killing of 15 people in twin suicide bombings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on September 9.

The Palestinian leadership feared that Israel would move against Mr. Arafat after a Palestinian woman suicide bomber blew up a Haifa restaurant on Saturday, killing 19 people, including four children, one of them a baby girl.

The Islamic Jihad, a group that has carried out numerous such attacks, claimed responsibility for the bombing.

In response, Israeli warplanes on Sunday struck a suspected training base for the Islamic Jihad inside Syria.