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arafat cheated rabin and the israelis .

  1. 406 Posts.

    In a conversation he never expected would be publicly reported, Arafat once told the former Indonesian president, Abdur rahman Wahid, that however long it took and whatever the vagaries of peace processes in the meantime, his aim was unshaken – to "throw the Jews into the sea".

    Middle East progress holds the key to Palestinian state
    By Greg Sherida , The Australian .
    September 11, 2003

    THE second anniversary of the September 11 attacks was heralded by a series of terrorist atrocities in Israel.

    These don't produce much outrage, or even comment, in the West, because it seems there is a double standard: terrorism against Israelis is somehow less repugnant than other terrorism. But the terrorism Israel is fighting is exactly the same as the terrorism the rest of us are fighting.

    The resignation at the weekend of Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas is a small but significant turning point in modern Middle East history, for it demonstrates that the Palestinian Authority is, for the moment, incapable of sustaining moderate leadership.

    Yasser Arafat destroyed Abbas and wrecked the hope of proximate compromise in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Arafat never gave up power to Abbas, never gave up control of the security services or the money. Arafat has emerged as a classic Arab dictator, whose forces routinely conduct terrorism and in the past have frequently assassinated their internal opponents.

    In a conversation he never expected would be publicly reported, Arafat once told the former Indonesian president, Abdurrahman Wahid, that however long it took and whatever the vagaries of peace processes in the meantime, his aim was unshaken – to "throw the Jews into the sea".

    Arafat's determination to never compromise, even when Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak offered him more than 95 per cent of the occupied territories and part of East Jerusalem for an independent state, is a fundamental roadblock to peace.

    Under Arafat's leadership the Palestinian Authority has continued to teach its children the glories of suicide bombing and to inculcate a racist hatred of Jews. And it has never renounced terror.

    One key requirement of the road map was that the Palestinian Authority would end terrorism and dismantle the terror groups. Abbas, at least notionally, tried to stop terrorism; Arafat has never tried because terrorism is part of his strategic plan. This is a plan, entirely indifferent to the suffering it causes Palestinian people, to wear Israel down, if necessary over generations, to portray it as the villain internationally and ultimately to empty it of its resolve to survive.

    Terrorism, as is frequently the case historically, is not a military but a psycho-political tactic. It is striking how successful it has been.

    The ABC's Lateline program on Monday night, for example, had Jane Hutcheon declare as fact that the Palestinians had implemented a ceasefire that "held for 52 days" and all through that time Israel had continued incursions into the occupied territories.

    This is nothing more or less than the ABC telling lies to damage Israel, for there was never a ceasefire that held for 52 days. In the process, the ABC damages itself, as it demonstrates its chronic and pervasive anti-Israel bias, thereby winning terrorism a new political victory every time. During the ceasefire which Hutcheon declares as a fact, there were about 15 attempted terrorist attacks on Israeli targets per day. Most of these were interdicted by the Israelis but some were successful, resulting in the death of innocent civilians. That is no ceasefire and a news organisation with a semblance of balance would not present it in such a distorted way.

    The conventional wisdom, that the Palestinian issue is the key to the Middle East, is in truth back to front. The Middle East is the key to the Palestinian issue.

    One of the many reasons the beleaguered Palestinian people are unable to install and sustain a moderate leadership is that the extremists in their midst are financed and equipped by outsiders, notably Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

    Saddam Hussein's Iraq used to be one of the chief sponsors of extremist Palestinian actors, especially through its incentive subsidies for the families of suicide bombers. Now Hussein is gone and there are more than 150 newspapers in the new Iraq, and one of the subjects they discuss constantly is Arab democratisation.

    Hundreds of Shia clerics have moved from Iran to Iraq because, even with all the instability, there is infinitely more democratic space and intellectual freedom in Iraq now than there is in Iran.

    The liberation of Iraq is the most constructive development in the Middle East in decades. There has been a wave of democratising and liberalising moves throughout the Arab world in the wake of the coalition victory in Iraq, although it is still the case that the only Arabs who vote in elections that determine their national government are Israeli Arabs.

    It is too early to tell whether these moves, from a new Saudi Arabian Centre for National Dialogue to a Syrian government declaration that the ruling Baath Party would stop interfering in the government bureaucracy, are meaningful, or merely tactical feints.

    The US cannot ignore the Middle East and allow it to sink under the weight of its own comprehensive failure at modernisation and human development. For the Middle East, sunk in such failure, will reach out in destruction. Almost all of the Islamist extremist terrorism of today ultimately has Middle East roots – Saudi money, Egyptian propaganda, Iranian assistance to Hezbollah.

    The Palestinian people certainly deserve a free, independent state, they deserve self-determination and much better lives than they have today. This will become possible when they can elect leaders who renounce terrorism and the absolutist dream of destroying Israel. Sadly, not all problems have solutions, or at least not immediate solutions. Some problems can only be managed. It may be that reforming the Middle East is a precursor to, not a consequence of, a Palestinian settlement.

    I have been saying this for a long time now . I trusted Arafat intentions during the Oslo accord , like 80% of Israeli society . We were all wrong . Thoroughly wrong .
    And how lucky we were .Duff
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