Thursday, November 11, 2004

Arafat and His Legacy

Yasser Arafat is now officially dead. Arafat was, in many ways, the forefather of modern terrorism. Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, summarizes the Arafat record:

With his founding of Fatah in the late 1950's, his rise to the chairmanship of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1969, Arafat made the destruction of the State of Israel the goal of the Palestinian national movement, and terrorism the primary means to achieve this goal. He made the hijackings of planes and ships, hostage-takings of nursery schools, the brutal execution of Olympic athletes, and the senseless killing of ordinary people engaged in everyday activities a regular, deadly and immediate reality around the world.

Tragically, Arafat's use of terrorism worked, at least to an extent. He succeeded in putting the Palestinian cause on the front page of newspapers worldwide, and ultimately in obtaining a partial Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip while becoming the leader and embodiment of the Palestinian cause in the process. In Arafat's case, terrorism did indeed produce results, a lesson he and others never forgot, and for which we and the entire civilized world have paid a price.

When presented late in life with the opportunity to go from terrorist to statesman, Arafat failed to seize the opportunity. Almost the entire world condemned Saddam's Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, yet Arafat chose to openly support the Iraqi tyrant. Arafat ruled the nascent Palestinian Authority as a corrupt autocrat. As today's New York Times notes, he secreted billions of dollars meant for the Palestinian people, using the money to buy arms, offer bribes, and fund terrorism, among other purposes. Under Arafat's leadership, the Palestinian Authority has indoctrinated its people with some of the most vile anti-Semitic and anti-western propaganda seen since the Third Reich. Both MEMRI and the Anti-Defamation League have thoroughly documented this process. The results of this indoctrination can be found in the barbarous cult of suicide murder that has arisen in Palestinian society.

Arafat's final, most disastrous decision came in the Summer of 2000, when he walked away from the incredible offer made by Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton. When the opportunity came to make peace, Arafat simply couldn't bring himself to do it. Instead, he reverted to type. Seeing the unprecedented concessions offered by Israel as a sign of weakness, Arafat returned to the path of terrorism that had worked so well for him in the past. Perhaps the hated Jews could be driven into the sea after all. Arafat therefore seized on the pretext of Ariel Sharon's September 2000 visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to launch a renewed terror war against Israel. This decision cost the lives of 4,000 people, including 3,000 Palestinians, and has led the Palestinian people into a dead end of fanaticism, defeat, and despair.

The legacy of Yasser Arafat is profoundly evil and destructive. He did bring his people to the brink of statehood, but at a horrible price. From the Munich Olympics massacre to the suicide bombers of today, the Palestinian cause is now intimately associated with the practice of terrorism. The Palestinian people live in poverty and despair, defeated in a needless war, and trapped in an officially-sanctioned culture of death-worshipping fanaticism. It is to be hoped that Arafat's successors will pursue a path of genuine peace with Israel, crack down on terror groups such as HAMAS and Islamic Jihad, and implement democracy and prosperity for their own people. Only by abandoning the Arafat legacy can the Palestinians have a decent future.


Blogger Simon W. Moon ksc said...

So few Ghandis and so few Salvor Hardins.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Interesting quote, thanks for posting it Simon.

10:06 PM  

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