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peace not included in arafat's plans

  1. 406 Posts.
    I waited a week . In Judeism there is an adage " Thou shall not rejoice when your enemy falls " .
    Read the following account of this man who bluffed the whole world and 90% of the Israelis for nearly a decade , pretending that he was a man of peace .
    Well he was no peace man .

    Peace not included in Arafat's plans

    November 13, 2004 ( by Greg Sheridan / The Australian )
    AMONG the baffling enigmas of Yasser Arafat is the question of just what he wanted for the Palestinian people. Surely that's easy – self-determination and nationhood. But no, determining Arafat's final objective is extremely difficult.

    It would be foolish to deny the enormous successes of Arafat's strange career. These successes were essentially with the Western media, to some extent with Western governments and certainly with other Palestinian leaders. His relationship with the Arab world is much more complex.

    No one should underestimate the potency of media success in the age in which we live. Although he associated the Palestinian nationalist movement with terrorism in the Western mind, Arafat also captured the media's imagination as the archetypal revolutionary resistance leader of national liberation. His sense of theatre was always formidable – the iconic moment came when he addressed the UN while carrying a pistol.

    Arafat understood profoundly, and brilliantly exploited, the intellectual state of the Western media, the self-hatred of its own society that drove it to forever repeat certain simple dramas of victimhood and oppression in a larger narrative of Western colonialism. The best stories had the US as the villain, but Israel was also seen as an expression of Western power in the Middle East and it, too, became a villain of choice.

    We assume Arafat wanted a two-state compromise. It took the Israelis a long time to come to the conclusion that there should be a Palestinian state. The occupied Palestinian territories, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, were acquired by Israel in the course of defending itself against wars launched by its Arab neighbours.

    Mainstream Israelis always accepted that they would give back this land in exchange for peace. For a long time they wanted to give the Gaza Strip back to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan. Many thought this would allow them to keep more of the land, but their primary objection to a Palestinian state was that it would not control terrorism.

    Here the interaction of Palestinian aspirations, and Arafat's own actions, with broader Arab politics is crucial. No Arab state today is a democracy. Most are military or feudal dictatorships. None has made a success of development or modernisation. Each in its way fosters an ideology of Arab victimhood in which the West is the chief villain. And of course Israel is also the West. This furnishes an external explanation for the failures of modernisation.

    In reality the Arab governments have never shown much concern for Palestinian welfare. For a time some of them, especially the Saudis, funded Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organisation in a bargain that said you can have money as long as you keep your terrorism away from us.

    But, Jordan apart, they have done little to foster Palestinian development and education or to resettle Palestinian refugees.

    A turning point came in 1991 when Arafat backed Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Most Arab governments were scared of Saddam and this increased their suspicion of the Palestinian movement.

    Counting the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam was responsible for the deaths of at least 1 million Muslims, probably, all up, something closer to 2 million. It is a genocide against Muslims of horrific proportions. Yet, Kuwait apart, and with the obvious exception of Iran during the war, there was little anti-Saddam propaganda in most Arab and regional Muslim states during the Iraqi dictator's long rule.

    But the anti-Israel propaganda in these states is relentless. The explanation is simple. You cannot stir visceral emotions of solidarity by criticisng Saddam, but by rejecting the illegitimate "Jewish entity" in the Middle East you can do just that. This flowed into the politics of the UN where the large Arab contingent could effortlessly deflect scrutiny of its appalling human rights record by constantly humming the tune of anti-colonialism.

    This explains the use Arab rulers had for Arafat but it still doesn't explain Arafat's plans for his own people. He would never be offered a better deal, as John Howard frequently points out, than in 2000 at Camp David and Taba.

    Dennis Ross, the chief US negotiator, recounts all this in irrefutable detail in his new book, The Missing Peace. The final Israeli offer included 96 per cent of the West Bank and Gaza, all the Arab neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem and some compensating territory from Israel proper for a sovereign Palestinian state.

    Arafat refused, ostensibly because he insisted on the "right of return" for all Palestinian refugees, and all their descendants, into Israel proper. Israel has a population of about 5 million Jews and 1.3 million Arabs. There are about 3 million Palestinians in the occupied territories. There is no move to offer repatriation, much less compensation, to the 500,000 Jewish refugees who fled Arab lands. But under Arafat's right of return several million Palestinians would move to Israel proper, not the new Palestinian state.

    No Israeli government could possibly agree to this and of course Arafat knew that. Ross told him that if he insisted on the right of return, he didn't really support the two-state solution.

    So what is the alternative? When Arafat once met former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, he told Wahid that Palestinians could wait for 150 years, then "throw the Jews into the sea".

    There is a demographic logic to this. The Palestinian birthrate, in the occupied territories and in Israel proper is vastly higher than the Jewish birthrate. Quite soon, Palestinians will be a majority in Israel and the occupied territories combined; eventually they will probably be a majority in Israel itself. In the long run it is not too difficult to imagine the Jews of Israel going the way of the Christians of Lebanon.

    Perhaps Arafat was determined that he would not be the leader to give up the dream of Palestinian sovereignty over all the lands of Israel and the territories. All this means Israel should want peace quickly, before demographics overwhelm it. But it cannot produce peace unilaterally. All the territorial concessions in the world would mean nothing unless they brought actual peace – which means the genuine recognition by all Israel's neighbours and the Palestinian leadership of Israel's legitimacy as a normal nation in the Middle East.

    It's not clear that Arafat intended to go that far. Whether new Palestinian leaders will want to is equally opaque.

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