The bombs that ripped through crowds of Israelis and foreign workers in Tel Aviv this weekend may have saved Yasser Arafat from making some tough decisions.
Internal and external pressures have been building on Arafat to allow comprehensive reforms of the Palestinian Authority -- reforms that effectively would undermine the PA president's grip on power.
But after Sunday's deadly attack by the Al-Aksa Brigade, a terrorist group from Arafat's own Fatah movement, Israel refused to allow Palestinian officials to attend a conference on PA reform in London or congregate in Ramallah to consider a draft of a Palestinian constitution.
Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that there is no need for Palestinian officials to travel abroad to conferences when they have the power at home to end terrorist attacks, but don't use it.
Unintentionally, however, the Israeli moves may have allowed Arafat to dodge a political bullet, at least temporarily.