VATICAN, Sep 23, 03 ( -- The official Vatican
newspaper has denounced the "relentless" Israeli campaign
against Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

L'Osservatore Romano remarks that Arafat is "a prisoner
amidst a heap of stones in Ramallah," after Israeli military
vehicles deliberating destroyed several buildings in the
Palestinian leader's compound.

The Vatican newspaper also lamented the inaction of
international leaders during "the tragedy that is being
played out in the Palestinian territories." The paper
observed: "Despite the US intervention to stop the
demolition of Yasser Arafat's headquarters, one has the
overall impression that the international community remains
a passive spectator." Only after four days of Israeli
operations inside the Ramallah compound did the UN Security
Council begin to "evaluate the situation," L'Osservatore
Romano complained.

The remarks criticizing Israeli policy appear in the
September 24 edition of L'Osservatore Romano. The newspaper
appears in Rome on the afternoon of the day before the cover
date. Thus the September 24 edition appeared on Monday