Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's declaration that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is the 'enemy' sinks the conflict between the two to dark depths. By bombarding Mr Arafat's compound with tank shells in what Palestinians are calling all-out war, more than the usual expressions of international concern will be needed to drag the sides apart. The latest push by American special envoy Anthony Zinni for a ceasefire and the adoption of a Saudi peace plan by Arab leaders at a summit in Beirut were resoundingly derailed by yet another Palestinian suicide bomber. Israel has not learned from dozens of such attacks since the Palestinian uprising began 18 months ago. Mr Sharon's tit-for-tat responses have shed only more blood and there is no reason to suspect that the latest Israeli moves will change anything. Time and again it has been shown that Mr Arafat has little control over the more militant elements of Palestinian society. He cannot possibly carry out Israeli demands to round up potential attackers in light of the hatred for Israel that has been generated over the decades. Each Israeli retaliation only fosters deeper hatred and so the cycle continues. It is pointless for Israel to make such demands of Mr Arafat. It can isolate him as much as it likes, but such moves will only lead to further anger. The Arab League summit disappointingly did little to bridge the divide. The promises held by Saudi Prince Abdullah's peace plan were whittled away by an insistence among the leaders who bothered to attend that Palestinian refugees displaced since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war should return home. The rest of the plan - that Arab nations would recognise Israel in return for its withdrawal from the land it occupied in 1967 - was inspired, but Israel will never accept the return of millions of Palestinians. Israeli officials have already said such a move would destroy the Jewish state. Once again, it is up to the world community to restore sanity, but this time they must consolidate their efforts. The US, as Israeli's closest ally and the world's only superpower, holds the key. President George W. Bush must urgently show his resolve and personally bring the sides together, firstly to ensure a cessation of unrest and then to bring about talks on an eventual resolution of the conflict. Such action, with additional pressure from the United Nations and countries of the European Union, is the least that is needed at this crucial moment to prevent all-out war.