ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Palestinian Soul Searching 10.11.04

Palestinian Soul Searching

10 November 2004

By Yisrael Ne'eman

If it was not so sad, it would be amusing. Yasir Arafat is dying – present continuous, and we do not know for how long. Arafat is the father of two children; modern terrorism and a resurgent Palestinian nationalism. He blended the two together, massacring civilians to obtain the international notoriety necessary to gain western media attention for the Palestinian cause. One must recall that UN Resolution 242, passed just after the 1967 Six Day War, only hints at Palestinian issues when stating: "the necessity of achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem". Neither the words "Palestinian" nor "Arab" appear. Such an omission was a general reference to all refugees, including Jews who had fled Arab lands and those Jews who became homeless as a result of the 1948 War of Independence.

While Israel spent its first 19 years absorbing persecuted Jews into an institutionalizing state structure, the world forgot about Israel's refugee problem, which numbered over a million when one accounts for those who survived the Holocaust alongside Middle Eastern Jewry. The Arab world preferred letting Palestinian Arabs languish in refugee camps, to be used as a political pawn to force the historical clock back to pre-1948, meaning refugee return and the destruction of the Jewish State. But the Six Day War was a pan-Arab failure.

Enter Yasir Arafat, who now replaced the first father of Palestinian Arab nationalism, Haj Amin el-Husseini of British Mandate days. Upon conquering the PLO in 1969 he used the terror tool to push his Palestinian national agenda. Despite defeats in the West Bank and Gaza (1970s) and his expulsion from Lebanon (1980s) he would return as a result of the Oslo Accords of 1993. He was to become a statesman and end the terror/incitement against Israel and the Jewish People.

But the carnage continued, culminating in a useless four year war against Israel. Exposed as having rejected the two-state solution he did his best to accelerate Palestinian terror activities to the maximum. Although Israel by far has the upper hand, he was wildly successful in inculcating Palestinian society with the desire to become "shahids" or martyrs through homicide-suicide bombings. He gave the Palestinians pride and became the physical embodiment of their national struggle. Paradoxically, he destroyed the social structure of Palestinian society by encouraging competing armed groups in his PA security forces while aiding the Islamicist opposition Hamas/Jihad to attain weapons and explosives. Worst of all he stole hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars from his own people.

For the moment, his transgressions are forgotten as the decision is being made to decide when to declare him dead. His wife Suha, using French law to defend her financial interests, has focused attention on the inheritance and will not let Yasir become "unplugged" until the money is hers. Ironically, liberal-democratic France has given her the right to continue the theft.

On Arafat's orders thousands were killed in terror attacks and apparently over a billion dollars was stolen from his own people. Yet the world will come to his funeral to honor him as the father of Palestinian nationalism. The farce will continue for some time, but history will expose his crimes. The Palestinian tragedy will only come to an end when the Palestinians themselves do some soul searching and consider Arafat not only as a symbol, but as the vile schemer that he was.