ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Palestinian Inquiry Condemns Arafat 10.8.04

Palestinian Inquiry Condemns Arafat

10 August 2004

By Yisrael Ne'eman

Miracles do happen. A five man Palestinian Legislative Council committee of inquiry has determined that PA Chairman Yasir Arafat is the main culprit in the continuing chaos and anarchy in the Palestinian Authority. To make things even more interesting it was Israel’s staunchly left wing daily Ha’aretz that made a major story out of the report. The same paper, which unceasingly condemns Israeli policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians actually expounded on the investigation for Israeli readers. The report claims Arafat has set no security strategy, refuses to give commands to enforce law and order and is politically indecisive.

Ha’aretz, who by the late 1990s began to doubt the validity of the continued existence of the State of Israel (yes, Netanyahu and the Likud were in power), while they contemplated the “post Zionist” era, has decided to highlight the catastrophe Arafat has brought down on his own people. To be fair, the paper has been critical of him in the past, but such scathing criticism was best left to the Palestinians themselves.

The report speaks of “commanders and men of the armed security forces intimidating the citizenry, creating chaos and harming the supreme interests of the Palestinian people,” while Arafat’s “hesitation” in enforcing security leads to a complete administrative breakdown. It further condemns the PA cabinet for not halting the Kassam rocket attacks from Gaza directed against the Negev town of Sderot which only brings “barbaric retaliation by the occupying army [the IDF]” and does not work in the “Palestinian interest”. Hamas /Jihad ideologies and terror activities are lambasted for working against the needs of the people.

Despite it all, neither the report nor Ha’aretz go far enough. Arafat does not hesitate, rather he makes policy by deciding not to give orders to stop terrorism and thereby enforces a reign of anarchy whereby all terrorists have a free hand to attack Israel whenever they are ready. He enjoys the media coverage of dead Israelis in charred buses and welcomes Israeli retaliations while praying for as many Palestinian civilian casualties as possible. “Planned anarchy” was the game as he refused to relinquish authority over the PA security forces, knowing full well that any respectable minister would put an end to the chaos. And last summer he fired PM Mohammed Abbas (Abu Mazen) who intended to do just that.

Gaza Preventive Security chief Rashid Abu Shbak, who was questioned by the committee, hit the nail on the head when pointing out that the chaos only sends the wrong message to everyone. Palestinians have gone back to using illegal clan methods to solve problems, the international community has begun to doubt whether the Palestinians “deserve a state” and Israel claims there is no negotiating partner.

Arafat is the symbol of Palestinian nationalism and everything that is wrong with it. After four years of unnecessary violence, elected officials and armed “moderates” (as opposed to academics like Sari Nusseibah) are finally challenging Arafat’s policies and corrupt administration. This time they are not blaming Israel.

Although only a small preliminary step, the Palestinians are publicly identifying the reasons for the chaos preventing them from attaining a state. Should they put their house in order, this may be the first concrete step in conflict resolution with Israel.