palestinian sickness, by andrew bolt

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    Palestinian sickness
    Andrew Bolt

    THERE is a world of papers and plans, politicians and policies – of grand schemes that work out perfectly in the clinical minds of the intelligentsia.

    But then a helicopter carrying Yasser Arafat's body lands in the midst of a howling, shooting, screaming, fainting, cursing mob, and you glimpse the bloody beast behind that drapery.
    Anyone who fancies the terror war on Israel will be solved by yet another peace plan must watch a replay of Arafat's body arriving for burial on Friday in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

    Palestinian officials knew they had to put on a show to reassure the watching world, remembering, perhaps, that we saw footage of mobs there ululating after the September 11 attacks.

    And so Arafat's old office compound was tidied up. The wrecked cars were towed away, the rubble scraped up, the dirt hosed down, and the walls painted or covered with cloth.

    Police were posted to keep out the crowds, and a simple graveside ceremony was organised. But Arafat's widow, grown fat in Paris on aid money meant for Palestinians, suspected enough to stay away. Wisely so.

    You may have seen what happened. A horde of "mourners" stormed the compound, brushing aside the rabble that passes for a security force, too timid to stop even hooded extremists streaming in with guns.

    The crowd pressed so hard against the helicopter which landed with Arafat's body that the doors could not be opened for 20 minutes. A top Palestinian official, Saeb Erekat, screamed from the doorway for the crowd to show respect and back off, but none would.

    The police ran amok, and fired into the air so wildly that one had his ear nearly shot off by a colleague and fell to his knees. The mourners fired a barrage of their own, and two people were reportedly killed.

    When the coffin finally emerged, police and rioters dumped it on a jeep, and tore off its flag. A few sat on its lid, as the jeep rammed through mourners who chanted: "With our blood and our soul we will redeem you, Yasser Arafat!"

    Add other trimmings of Arafat's death – the official lies about his condition in hospital, the spreading of rumours that Israel poisoned him, the reports of his corruption, his wife's screams on television that his colleagues would bury him alive, the chaos of the official funeral in Egypt, the guest list there of tyrants from Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe to Syria's Bashar Assad, and the murder of two guards at a mourning tent in Gaza when the PLO's new leader was confronted by gunmen.

    Then dare say again Israel was wrong to build a wall to protect itself. Say again it needs only sign a paper to get peace. Say again how wrong it is that Israel, with just 6.7 million people, including more than one million Muslims, should grant some five million of these Palestinians the right to "return".

    There is a sickness in Palestinian culture – and an anarchy in its government – that makes talk of peace with its people seem as grounded as the sweet dreams of a sleepwalker in a crowded minefield.

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