Jerusalem After a meeting of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's security Cabinet, Israel on Wednesday gave formal approval for Arafat's burial in Ramallah.
Israeli officials said the Palestinians did not have sufficient forces in the West Bank to provide security for the burial in Ramallah, but that political considerations outweighed security concerns in their decision to allow it to proceed.
When news came today that Arafat had died, Israel sealed the West Bank and Gaza Strip and sent troop reinforcements to the areas. Israeli troops also beefed up security at Jewish settlements, for fear they could be attacked by Palestinians.
Because of security concerns, and also to accommodate Arab leaders who refuse to travel to the Israeli-controlled West Bank until an independent Palestinian state is established, Egypt outlined plans Wednesday to conduct a funeral service at Cairo's international airport.
Also Wednesday, in Ramallah, Bulldozers and dump trucks cleared mountains of debris and tank-crushed cars at the West Bank compound that was Arafat's last home and now will become his final resting place.