Arafat's legacy

When Yasser Arafat passes away in the next day or two, barely a tear will be shed. Arafat leaves this life having backed himself completely and utterly into a corner and has no one to blame but himself for his failings and the miserable leadership he has offered his people. Arafat has been rejected by his own people, rejected by the international community, and rejected by his own wife if her four years living it up in Paris is any guide.

Arafat is the architect of Intifada, mark I and II, and has shown that he is a man who can only communicate through terror. Given the historic opportunity to create a homeland for his people, he looked in horror as he realised he would have to lead a peaceful state rather than a terrorist rabble and turned back. Arafat has shown that those who use terror can never be decent civic leaders.

Yasser in his more zany days

Ariontheweb subscribes to the "Fucked Over Twice" theory of why the Palestinian mindset is as it is: the Palestinians have been fucked over by the Israelis who live in fear and paranoia and so hit out, sometimes irrationally, at the Palestinians. More significant, though is the second fuck-over: the Palestinian people have been fucked over by their own leadership, primarily Arafat. The people have a government of crooks, cronies, liars, thugs and psychopaths who offer no leadership or positive vision and so lead their people to a life of squalor and desparation. This is no accident, of course. The Palestinian leadership use this squalor to demonise the Israelis and the Americans, who are presented in the Palestinian propaganda rags as the cause of all these ills.

What happens after Arafat's death is highly debatable:

In the short term, there was be instability and internal conflict within the PA. There will be conflict between rival factions, rival leaders and rival gangs keen to make a killing, literally, in the chaos. Despite the fears in Israel, this will be short lived. Sooner rather than later a leader will emerge from the uncertainty and assert themself - most likely will be Abu Mazen, ex-Prime Minister, a moderate.

In the longer term, Arafat's death will be a great help to achieving a lasting peace. His successor will have greater legitimacy that Arafat did, will be welcomed at the negotiating table by Israel and the Quartet (remember them?), and will not have the murderous creditials that Arafat did. A tick in every box.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I do believe that the Palestinian people need a new efficient leader.Arafat's self-will has hindered the development of peace in Mid-East.Perhaps Qorei or Abbas is better.

CK Yang
Anonymous said…
Your "fucked over" understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian is exactly that. You can pretend Arafat is at the root of the conflict and pretend the Palestinians are totally to blame or you can look to the real reasons for the conflict. Trust me, things will be much different to what you currently believe. Your choice.
Anonymous said…
good article Ari, what is anonymous talking about, if Arafat had not syphoned of BILLIONS of aid money for himself and family the poor Palestinans wouldn,t be so poor.Corruption breads corruption Sara
Anonymous said…
Hi Sara, sorry but you are speaking rot. Syphoning off billions for himself and his family? A more reasoned assessment can be found here.
http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/free_forbes/2003/0317/049.html
It is interesting to note Israelis have withheld over half a billion dollars in tax receipts.
Having direct control over the money and disbursing it to areas approved by him seems very much like Howard withdrawing funding and charitable status from NGO's who criticize government policy, surely not new in the world of politics.

Cameron
Daniel Avrahami said…
Cameron, the reason the Israelis with-hold money from the PA (Arafat) is because they recieve good intellegence regarding his funding of terrorism. Who do you think pays the families of 'shihads' ('martyrs') after they do arafat's dirty work? The money should be spent on education, health and economic development...not terrorism.
Anonymous said…
Davri,
I might need a little enlightening here. My understanding was the Israeli policy is to bulldoze the family's house when a Palestinian is involved in a suicide bombing. I am not sure I see a payment made to a destitute family as supporting terrorists, though happy to stand corrected.
Cameron
Anonymous said…
Cameron,
do more than a cursory search of the web, and I think you'll find people arguing over whether Arafat's syphoned off $2 billion or as high as $7 billion
from the PA. Currently, his wife is in a dispute with members of the PA over who gets the money or not. So not only is the man a murdering terrorist, he's also deliberately kept his people in poverty. Barney the dinosaur would make a better leader of the PA than Yasser, and they will almost certainly be better off
when he finally passes on.
Anonymous said…
Your one sided approach to this whole argument, Ari, is the kind of mindset that will see it continue for ever more. Can't people see, it just doesn't matter how it started, who started it, why they started it. Simply blaming arafat for the all the problems of the region is most unhelpful.

I do try to practice what I preach, so I'll try to keep even handed, but I know it's hard. I can't agree with Arafat's decision to walk away from that offer way back then. But likewise I cannot condone a whole range of Israeli policies.

What I don't understand is far more base pragamatism. The Israeli's have effectively had Arafat isolated from the world for the last two or three years, yes? They've cut off his communication, much of his utilities and services, prevented him from going anywhere but his compound. Yet in this highly restricted physical environment he's supposed to bring an end to the bombings?

Try locking Sharon in the cabinet room without a telephone and see if he can so much as order a kosher pizza!

Pete

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