Yassir Arafat, Israel and the Middle East
Signs at the Time of the End
Edited August 2006
There has probably been no geo-political leadership that has shaped the geography and politics of the Middle-East more than Yassir Arafat who was buried in his headquarters at Ramallah on the West Bank on November 11, 2004. At the age of seventy-five, he has outlasted more political leaders and has done more to shape the prophetic time of the end picture outlined in Zechariah of the city of Jerusalem and Israel.
Zechariah 12:3 – “And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples, all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”
Who then is this man? Is he truly portrayed in prophetic history and one of God’s “servants” no different than destructive hordes under the command of King Nebuchadnezzar who also was a “servant” of the Lord? Every scholar of prophecy has a methodology on creating models on the words of the prophets of old. Some time of the end models are exclusive, creating conditions for the fulfillment of certain prophetic texts. Other models are more inclusive and prefer to build a framework of understanding upon the foundation of the revelations given by the God of Israel to prophets in an earlier age all the way back to Adam and Eve, when the prophetic word was given by Elohim (Lord God) and preserved by Adam,
Genesis 3:15 - “And I will put enmity between you (serpent) and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He (Seed of the woman) shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
The collision between the Divine and the powers of evil did culminate on the ‘tree’ at Golgotha yet the crucifixion turned out to be only a bruised heel. The culmination of the “Great Controversy” between God and Satan will occur and that day appears to be rapidly approaching. A bruised head is far more catastrophic and so it will be with the elimination of the great adversary as a constant source of evil and demonic control when the coming of the Maschiach (Messiah) does appear.
As all the streams of prophecy appear to be pointing towards the “Great Day of the Lord” and the “Coming of the Messiah” so also it appears that every prophetic utterance in the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the Brit Hadassah (New Testament) will be resurrected as a literal flow or avalanche of prophetic fulfillment.
Would it not appear reasonable in Biblical exegesis that all prophetic models of the time of the end given to Abraham, Moses, the Prophets, Daniel, the minor prophets, Jesus, Paul, and the Revelator will cascade together in one mighty stream of prophetic fulfillment at the Great Day of the Lord? Would it not be reasonable to assume if the Lord of hosts said that He will do a certain thing that it will be done? The conditions of the covenants of the Lord to His people could be seen as multi-dimensional layers of prophecy. There is not one stream of prophecy but countless streams of prophecy all merging together in one mighty tumultuous river of prophecy when the Maschiach of Israel does return to this earth. When that day does arrive, all the prophetic utterances of the prophets of the Lord will be fulfilled and the Eternal One of Israel truly will “honor His Holy Name.”
Like the Amelekites of old in the Sinai deserts harassing the wandering Israelites in the wilderness, focusing their demonic hatred upon these former slaves of Egypt by killing their women and children, today we have seen a resurrection in the descendants of the ancient civilizations that surrounded Israel in the days of the prophets and kings of Israel and Judah erupting on the world political scene and proclaiming the same messages of old, “Kill the children of Israel” and “Drive the descendants of Jacob to the sea.”
As the demonic mindset of the tribe of Amalek saw a physical and a spiritual threat to the incoming hordes of fleeing Egyptian slaves into the Sinai peninsula and the deserts of Arabia, so also the demonic mindset of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and his nephew Yassir Arafat saw the physical and spiritual threat of the fleeing Israelites (Jews) from the ghettos of Warsaw and the death camps of Germany and Poland.
Of all the political leaders over the last fifty years, Yassir Arafat has stood as the symbol of the pan-Arab dream to annihilate and exterminate any Jewish blood on any soil in the Middle East. Given the birth name in 1929 as Abdel-Rahman Abdel-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini, Yassir Arafat was born not in Jerusalem as proclaimed today, but in Cairo, Egypt to an Egyptian textile merchant. With his entry into Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Yassir co-founded the Fatah (“Palestinian National Liberation Movement”) and forever sealed his destiny and fate with the most fateful word in modern political language, “terrorist”. It can truly be said that he is the Father of modern terrorism.
This symbol of ‘The Terrorist’ did not come because of some bad event in his childhood but rather it was genetically bred within his family culture. Like Haman of old in the Persian imperial court of King Ahasuerus, who was a descendant of King Agag the Amalekite who died by the sword of Samuel the prophet because King Saul disobeyed the ‘word of the Lord’, Arafat’s family legacy was one of passionate hatred to the Jews.
Arafat’s uncle, Amin al-Husseini, became the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in 1921, eight years before Yassir Arafat was born. With passionate intent, he slaughtered Jewish settlers throughout the decade of the 1920’s, allied himself with the Nazi Party in the early 30’s and became a personal friend of Adolf Hitler with the sole intent to exterminate the Jews in Germany so he would not have to deal with them later in Israel. Yassir Arafat was not the founder of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), but the founder was his uncle, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. It was he who gave the mantle of the PLO to Arafat whom he mentored and cultivated for the presidency.
Here we see the finger of the Lord of hosts churns the genetic pot of the nations of the world and especially in the Middle East allows to rise again the descendants of the peoples who were the players and actors in the political world of the prophets and kings of Israel and Judah. Is this a coincidence? I doubt it. The Lord of hosts has carefully crafted the geo-political events of the world since the founding of the pre-Sumerian culture of the empire of Nimrod. The rise and fall of nations are directed by the direct will of the Lord. The events that are unfolding before our very eyes are guided and maneuvered by the finger of His hand. What we are seeing is Divine Providence. Out of chaos and evil, He will once again bring order and design to the ways of man and this will be done by His only Begotten Son, the Maschiach of Israel, who will rule with the ‘Rod of Iron from His mouth”
In the fall of 2000, the BibleSearchers studied diligently the passages of the Oracles of Zechariah chapter nine concerning the future of the nations surrounding the northern borders of Israel. The passages appeared to have an uncanny resemblance to the political events that were unfolding before our eyes. A year before 911, we were searching for clues to the fate of the clustering of national entities that comprised the ancient Phoenician and Philistine cultures. In spite of the fall of the island city of Tyre to Alexander the Great, many of these prophetic passages were still unfulfilled and their fulfillment did not have anything to do, as some scholars of prophecy believe, with the acceptance or rejection of the God of Israel by His very own chosen ones. These chosen ones were the remnant tribes of the children of Israel especially of the House of Judah and Benjamin known today as the Jewish people. Here were those poignant passages.
Zechariah 9:1-8 – “The burden of the world of the Lord against the land of Hadrach and Damascus its resting place. (For the eyes of men and all the tribes of Israel are on the Lord); Also against Hamath, which borders on it, and against Tyre and Sidon though they are very wise.
For Tyre built herself a tower, heaped up silver like the dust and gold like the mire of the streets, behold, the Lord will cast her out; He will destroy her power in the sea, and she will be devoured by fire. Ashkelon shall see it and fear; Gaza also shall be very sorrowful; and Ekron, for He dried up her expectation. The king shall perish from Gaza. And Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.
A mixed race shall settle in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. I will take away the blood from his mouth and the abomination from between his teeth. But he who remains, even he shall be for our God, and shall be like a leader in Judah and Ekron like a Jebusite.
The oracles or prophecies of doom by the Prophet Zechariah against Tyre, Sidon, Ashkelon, Gaza and Ekron were pronounced long after King Nebuchadnezzar made his military sweep along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea all the way to Egypt. The forces of Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the forces of Egypt and placed that nation under the suzerain control. It was here where the remnant of the Jews who had killed the Chaldean appointed governor Gedaliah and had fled to Tahpanhes in Egypt. It was here that Jeremiah and the daughters of king Zedekiah who were brought as hostages were placed as royal exiles in the household of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Here they disappear from Biblical history.
Jeremiah 27: 1-5 – “The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before Pharaoh attacked Gaza. Thus saith the Lord,
“Behold, waters rise out of the north and shall be overflowing flood;
They shall overflow the land and all that is in it,
The city and those who dwell within; Then the men shall cry,
And all the inhabitants of the land shall wail at the noise of the stamping hooves of his strong horses,
At the rushing of his chariots,
At the rumbling of his wheels,
The fathers will not look back for their children, lacking courage,
Because of the day that comes to plunder all the Philistines,
To cut off from Tyre and Sidon every helper who remains,
For the Lord shall plunder the Philistines,
The remnant of the country of Capthor,
Baldness has come upon Gaza, Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of the valley,
How long will you cut yourself?
The city of Gaza, one of the most ancient in the world, was first named in the 10th chapter of Genesis:
Genesis 10:19 - “And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Here also is where Sampson met the woman he loved, Delilah, who later betrayed him to the Philistines. He later pulled down the temple to Dagon in Gaza to vindicate the God of Israel and destroy 3000 enemies of Israel. Over the centuries the military forces of Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, the Persians, Greeks, Romans and Byzantine Crusader plus later the Muslims and Turkish Ottomans all used the strategic position of the port city of Gaza for their own political power.
Yet here during the ascent of the Babylonian empires the last vestiges of the Cretan civilization that escaped the volcanic eruption of Thera on the modern Island of Santorini and made them new immigrants to the coastline of the Canaanite civilizations were now destroyed and dispersed by King Nebuchadnezzar. While the Israelites were fleeing from Egypt and the plagues that trailed the same volcanic eruption in the 15th-16th century BCE, the Philistine empire made its début. Thanks to the military conquest of Nebuchadnezzar, the city of Gaza was laid bare like the baldness on the head of a man. The Philistines were stripped clean of her civilization and her citizens, not to rise again for almost twenty five hundred years.
Not until the signing of the Oslo Agreement in September, 1993 intending to secure the establishment of a Palestinian State did any visible leader of the citizens of Gaza arise. In compliance with the Oslo Accord, the Israeli troops left the Gaza Strip on May 18, 1994 and the political and security control was given to the Palestinian National Authority. It was on July 1, 1994 that a jubilant and ecstatic crowd in Gaza awaited the arrival of their leader, their christ and savior. In January 20, 1995, Yassir Arafat and the PLO became the democratically nominated victors in the election as the President of the Palestinian National Council with 37 of the 88 seats going to the Gaza Strip. Was Yassir Arafat the “King” of Gaza? From all social, political and prophetic images, he was. Yet how does this affect the prophetic picture of Zechariah nine?
Here in this chapter the future of the national people called the P’lshtim in the land called Gaza was linked with the introductory phrase masah d’var Adonai, (the burden of the word (or oracle) of the Lord). This is the same word, P’lishtim, that was used by Yassir Arafat in Arabic when he addressed the Palestinian people in mass rallies or on Arabic radio. Biblical linguists and scholars agree that the same world used for the modern day Palestinian was also used by the Prophet Zechariah in his prophetic oracle on the fate of the people called the P’lishtim. That one of the layers of Biblical interpretation of the eschatological book of Zechariah is that it can be interpreted literally as a prophetic book on the time of the end.
Yet the “burden of the Lord” flies in the face of modern Palestinian ultra-nationalism and the political machinations of the United Nations, the European Union and the Quartet’s Roadmap to Peace. Zechariah prophecies that these ancient people returning to the planetary drama stage at the time of the end in the name of the Palestinians representing ancient country of Philistia, will come as a people to the international political scene with the “pride of the Philistines” and the Lord of hosts Himself will “take away the blood from his mouth and the abomination from between his teeth.” Here we see a biblical glimpse that the Gaza Strip will be inhabited by a people, living in the land of the former Philistines but now as an “aluf” or a docile and peaceful element in Jewish society. According to the prophetic picture, they will become as a “clan among Judah.” The Lord of hosts has His own way of “attitude adjustment” towards the nations of the world.
This hint to a future Israeli-Palestinian peace arrive in an era in which the “eyes of men and all the tribes of Israel are on the Lord”. The fact that the War on Terror is portrayed as a war of righteous indignation, that the recent presidential elections in the United States carried the headlines of a religio-political campaign and to the Islamic fundamentalists, America and Israel are viewed as “Satan-satan” suggests that the world is seeking an inter-dimensional answer to the progressive chaos in the world around us. With each wave of violence and strife, the “eyes of man” and ‘all the tribes of Israel” are becoming more and more focused on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
For centuries, the land of Gaza lay defenseless and leaderless. It became one of the strongholds for the largest messianic revival in Jewish history in the mid 17th century when the Jewish anti-messiah Sabbatai Zevi linked his future with ‘the Prophet’ Nathan of Gaza. There they proclaimed that the Maschiach of Israel would be revealed on June 18, 1666 (6/6+6+6/1000+666) Upon the wings of this messianic leader, Sabbatai Zevi, who led his people into Islam came the next great disciple of Sabbatai Zevi, Jacob Frank of Poland. This second wave of Jewish messianism led the European Jews into Catholic Christianity. On a more subterranean and secret level, the Frankists linked their forces with Rothschild’s money in Frankfurt, Germany and the Jesuit bred Illuminati in that same city. Within one decade they infiltrated and controlled Scottish Masonry. Out of the loins of Scottish Masonry came the Masonic roots of the American Revolution.
Some of the great rabbis of Israel today believe that the time of the end will be a battleground more for the minds and souls of man than a battleground of tanks, missiles and bombs. Many prophetic scholars see the Gog-Magog War as a classic invasion battle into Israel from the north by the ascendant coalition powers of the European Union (headed by France, Italy and Germany), Russia (the land of Gog and the inheritor of the ancient Persian culture, Iran (land of Magog and modern Persia), with Turkey and Syria (umbrella of the ancient Assyrian Empire). Yet the current Quartet’s (United States, France, Germany, Russia and the United Nations) Roadway to Peace is a defacto pathway to ultimate one-world control of not only Israel but also Islam itself. The power and oppression of the forces of the anti-christ may already be here and almost in total control of Israel with the Sharon government and nobody is even noticing.
With the prophetic pattern of the Gog-Magog War (Ezekiel), the invasion of the King of the North (Daniel), the rise of the Little Horn (Daniel), the Psalmist invasion of the nations surrounding Israel (Psalms 83) and using the typology or maybe the reverse typology of the Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion (Jeremiah), we may be closer to the coming of the Maschiach (Messiah) of Israel than many of us realize.
It is accepted by all geo-politics pundits that Yassir Arafat refused to be sidelines from the international scene. It could be stated that it was Arafat who the Lord of hosts nominated to herald the greatest international political thrust to force man’s best diplomatic effort for peace between the Palestinians and the Jews, which is the code word for “Peace in the Middle East”.
In the fall of 1992, President Bill Clinton was intent on finding a peace solution between the Palestinians and the Israeli. He sent Secretary of State Warren Christopher to secretly meet with the President of Syria, President Hafez Assad for help in finding a moderate Palestinian in which to broker a peace accord with the Israelis. The rage of Yassir Arafat when he heard of this secret meeting planted the seeds of the first bombing attempt on the World Trade Center when he flew to Khartoum and negotiated the plans with the fundamental Islamic cleric to destroy the New York World Trade Center with the bombing on February 26, 1993.
Can it be said that on the heels of the first bombing of the New York Trade Center, the Oslo Accord was signed between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yassir Arafat on September 13, 1993 (Yom Kippur according to the calendar of the Lord)? This international event vaulted Rabin and Arafat to becoming Nobel Peace Prize Winners in 1993.
Yet is was also seven years to the day, on September 28, 2000 (Yom Kippur according the calendar of the Lord) that Yassir Arafat effectively ended the Oslo Peace Accord when he started the second Intifada against the nation of Israel in retaliation to the ascent of the candidate to the Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, to the Temple Mount.
Was it a coincidence that the day after September 11, 2001 when the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed in a towering inferno that President George Bush announced the first public American declaration to back the establishment of a Palestinian State? Though George Bush never did invite Arafat for consultations into the White House and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon kept Arafat holed up like a bird in a cage in his Ramallah Compound since the spring, 2002, every diplomatic effort to forge a peace agreement by the Quartet on the Roadmap for Peace was thwarted by Arafat. Whether he ever was a legitimate partner in the peace process is not the question. No process could be started or completed with the approval this Palestinian warlord.
With the death of the “King of Gaza” who will assume his mantle of authority? Unlike his uncle, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Yassir Arafat refused to be a mentor to his own successor. Maybe he thought that he would truly live to the final apocalypse. Like Haman in ancient Persia in the Book of Esther, we may see the demise of ten of his successors before the curtain is drawn. As we may soon see, Arafat also died by the “gallows” in which he created himself.
If you are a student of a “one model” time of the end prophecy and await the major ‘clue’ before you will accept that the coming of the Lord is near, think again. Uni-dimensional models on the time of the end may be as valuable as the two-dimensional world of the ‘ant’ in understanding the three-dimensional world of the humans. These models may also be as valuable (or valueless) as three-dimensional man understanding the multi-dimensional world of the Divine. In any way, uni-dimensional models on the time of the end may lead you or your religious world to be sitting in the corners of the planetary amphitheater as the final scene of the “Drama of the Ages” is presented to the universal forces of good and evil.
It is sobering to consider that the warnings of Yahshua (Jesus) in the parable of the ten virgins that they must “watch and be ready”. It suggests that every moment of our lives we must diligently watch the finger of the Almighty One preparing for the arrival of the Moschiach of Israel.
If the ‘key’ that you are waiting to start your own personal preparation for the coming of the Lord is the “Secret Rapture”, the “Pope walking on the Temple Mount”, the “National Sunday Law” or a classic military invasion of Gog-Magog, once again, think again. The “oil” in your lamp may be running out and you may not be invited to the wedding feast of the groom. Why? You actually might be hoarding your own “prophetic idol” and not watching, observing and waiting upon the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Once again the Lord of hosts never did advise us to intervene in the final events of this world’s era but to “watch and be ready”. Our lives must be lived in progressive reliance on the Eternal One of Israel and not setting ourselves up as seers of the future.
We can now possibly see that that mighty power of the United States can possibly be destroyed in the “War on Terror” not by military force but by fear and oppression. The calamities against America have only begun. Like a flame starting in Jerusalem, the firestorm of terrorism will fan across the entire world. Many prophetic scholars see the “Lamb like Beast” that arose out of the land (unpeopled land) as America and is now beginning to speak like a dragon. Other prophetic scholars identify America as the mother harlot who deceived the nations of the world. Some prophetic scholars see America as the largest repository of the Lost Tribes of the House of Israel. They see America as symbolically as the House of Joseph and literally as the House of Ephraim. Maybe they are all right. Maybe the Lord of hosts has been planting these ideas in various prophetic camps to be put in the prophetic mixing pot at the time of the end to be sifted and strained according to His Divine Will.
The Life of Yasser Arafat
Yassir Arafat 1911-2004 – November 11, 2004
Aish.com - It's ironic that the man who personified the Palestinian movement was neither born in the region it claims, nor conforms to his own organization's definition of Palestinian identity. Yassir Arafat, whose real name is Abdel-Rahman Abdel-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini, was born in August 1929 in Cairo, son of an Egyptian textile merchant. He was sent to Jerusalem as a small child after his mother died, then returned to Egypt via Gaza. Throughout his career, Arafat's Egyptian background was a political impediment and source of personal embarrassment. One biographer notes that upon first meeting him in 1967, 'West Bankers did not like his Egyptian accent and ways and found them alien,' and to the very end Arafat employed an aide to translate his Egyptian dialect into Palestinian Arabic for conversing with his West Bank and Gaza subjects.
As a young man, Arafat took no part in the formative experience of the Palestinian movement ― the 1948 Arab-Israeli war ― but he would nonetheless claim refugee status throughout his life: 'I am a refugee,' he cried out in a 1969 interview, 'Do you know what it means to be a refugee? I am a poor and helpless man. I have nothing, for I was expelled and dispossessed of my homeland.' (Arafat's congenital lying would continue for decades.)
Fatah and the PLO
In the mid-1950s, Arafat joined the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, then rose to the head of the Palestine Student Union at the University of Cairo. In the late 1950s Arafat moved to Kuwait, where he co-founded Fatah ('Palestine National Liberation Movement' ― an acronym meaning 'conquest'), the faction that would later gain control over the entire Palestinian movement. Fatah's motley ranks of Islamists, communists and pan-Arabists expanded via brute violence. 'People aren't attracted to speeches, but rather to bullets,' Arafat quipped at this stage. (At right: Fatah logo of rifles and grenades over Israel)
Fatah began military-style training in Syria and Algeria in 1964, and the following year tried unsuccessfully to blow up a major Israeli water pump. Fatah's stated goal was the obliteration of the State of Israel, and well before the 1967 war would supply a pretext, Arafat's organization repeatedly attacked Israeli buses, homes, villages and rail lines.
This violence against Israeli civilians was a pillar of the Palestinian National Covenant (the foundational charter of the Palestinian Liberation Organization - PLO), which states that 'the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence' and that 'armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine and is therefore a strategy and not a tactic.' (Despite repeated Palestinian commitments in the late 1990s to annul these sections of the covenant, it was never officially changed.)
Arafat's public profile got a boost in 1968, when the IDF raided a Fatah terrorist stronghold in the Jordanian village of al-Karameh. The uniformed, keffiyah-clad Arafat took this opportunity to project himself as a fearless Arab leader who, despite the post-Six Day War gloom, dared to confront the Israelis. The image stuck, and Fatah's numbers swelled with new recruits.
Arafat and Fatah consolidated power through bribery, extortion and murder, and at the Palestinian National Congress in Cairo in February 1969, Arafat was appointed head of the PLO ― a position he would never relinquish.
Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia
By the late 1960s, heavily-armed, Arafat-led Palestinians had formed a terrorist 'state within a state' in Jordan, not only attacking Israeli civilian targets, but also seizing control of Jordanian infrastructure. The tension reached a height during late 1970, when Jordan's King Hussein cracked down on the Palestinian factions. During this bloody conflict, known as 'Black September', Palestinians hijacked four Western airliners and blew one up on a Cairo runway (pictured at right), to both embarrass the Egyptians and Jordanians and, in their words, 'teach the Americans a lesson for their long-standing support of Israel.' With the broad publicity this generated, Arafat had hit the world stage.
When King Hussein drove Arafat's faction out of his Jordanian kingdom (causing thousands of civilian deaths), they relocated in Lebanon. As in Jordan, Arafat soon triggered a bloody civil war in his previously stable host country. Simultaneously, the PLO launched intermittent attacks on Israeli towns from southern Lebanese positions. Yassir Arafat then brought the high-profile terrorist act to western soil. In Sept. 1972, Fatah-backed terrorists kidnapped and murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic games. And in 1973, Arafat ordered his operatives in the Khartoum, Sudan office of Fatah to abduct and murder US Ambassador Cleo Noel and two other diplomats. (In 2004, the FBI finally opened an official investigation against Arafat for the Khartoum murders.)
The wanton violence fueled Arafat's political goals, as his presence on the world stage grew: In 1974, he became the first representative of a nongovernmental organization to address a plenary session of the UN General Assembly (pictured at left) In the speech, with a gun holster strapped to his hip, Arafat compared himself to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Arab heads of states declared the PLO the sole legitimate representative of all Palestinians, the PLO was granted full membership in the Arab League in 1976, and by 1980 was fully recognized by European nations.
In 1978-82, the IDF invaded Lebanon to root out PLO groups that had continually terrorized the northern Israeli populace. The U.S. brokered a cease-fire deal in which Arafat and the PLO were allowed to leave Lebanon; Arafat and the PLO leadership eventually settled in Tunisia, which remained his center of operations until 1993.
During the 1980s, Arafat received financial assistance from Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, which allowed him to rebuild the battered PLO. This was particularly useful during the first Palestinian intifada in 1987 ― Arafat took control of the violence from afar, and it was mainly due to Fatah forces in the West Bank that the anti-Israel terror and civil unrest could be maintained. Arafat would then become nearly the only world leader to support Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Gulf War. (Saddam would later repay this loyalty by sending $25,000 checks to families of Palestinian suicide bombers.)
The Palestinian Authority In the early 1990s, the U.S. led Israel and the PLO to negotiations that spawned the 1993 Oslo Accords, an agreement
that called for the implementation of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over a five-year period. The following year Arafat was
awarded the Nobel Peace
Prize along with Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin.
In 1994, Arafat moved his headquarters to the West Bank and Gaza to run the Palestinian Authority, an entity created by the Oslo Accords. Arafat brought with him from Tunisia an aging PLO leadership that would bolster his ongoing monopoly over all Palestinian funds, power and authority. Elections in 1996 extended Arafat's control over the PA, but under the Oslo agreement, the term of that candidacy ended in 1999. Arafat never allowed new elections to take place.
While Israel went about implementing its side of the Oslo agreements ― removing troops from nearly all Palestinian areas, recognizing the PA, and educating for peace ― the PA utterly failed to live up to its commitment to renounce and uproot anti-Israel terrorism. Instead, unprecedented incitement from Arafat's official PA media and school textbooks, and active and passive PA support for terrorist groups led to a string of suicide bombings in the mid-1990s that killed scores of Israeli civilians. In October, 1996, at the height of the Oslo years, Arafat cried out to a Bethlehem crowd, 'We know only one word - jihad! Jihad, jihad, jihad! Whoever does not like it can drink from the Dead Sea or from the Sea of Gaza.' [For more on the failure of Oslo, see HonestReporting's documentary film, Relentless.]
In July 2000, U.S. president Bill Clinton attempted to keep the Oslo Accords viable by convening a summit at Camp David between Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. There, Barak offered Arafat a Palestinian state in Gaza and 92% of the West Bank, and a capital in East Jerusalem ― the most generous offer ever from an Israeli government. Yassir Arafat rejected the offer and ended negotiations without a counteroffer. As American envoy Dennis Ross concluded, 'Arafat could not accept Camp David... because when the conflict ends, the cause that defines Arafat also ends.' [See also this interview with Ross on Oslo.]
Immediately following this breakdown, the PA media machine under Arafat's control ramped up the war rhetoric, and preparations were made for riots that were unleashed following Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount. The Arafat-supported 'al Aqsa intifada' would continue for four years. This unprecedented wave of anti-Israel terrorism, which would result in over 1,000 Israeli deaths, was marked by over 120 Palestinian suicide bombers and the growth of an Islamic martyrdom cult.
This stage of violence revealed that Arafat and the PA had never abandoned their longstanding plans to liquidate the Jewish state. Arafat had told an Arab audience in Stockholm in 1996, 'We plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion... We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem.' Likewise, Arafat explained to a South African crowd in 1994 that the Oslo agreement was merely a tactical ruse in the larger battle to destroy the Jewish state ― a modern version of the Muslim prophet Mohammed's trickery against the ancient tribe of Quraysh. Arafat's colleague Faisal al-Husseini was even more explicit, describing the Oslo process as a 'Trojan Horse' designed to promote the strategic goal of 'Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea' ― that is, a Palestine in place of Israel.
Terrorist to the End
The final phase in Arafat's life-long commitment to organized terror was channeled through the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a Fatah group that was responsible for many of the most deadly attacks against Israeli civilians between 2000-2004. Though many media outlets described a mere 'loose affiliation' between Arafat and this terrorist group, the evidence clearly indicated a direct financial and organizational bond between the two:
▪ In November, 2003 a BBC investigation found that up to $50,000 a month was funneled by
An ammunition bill for the terrorist Al Aqsa Brigade, signed by Yassir Arafat - see larger version
Fatah, with Arafat's approval, directly to the Al Aqsa Brigades, for the purpose of organizing bombings, snipings and ambushes against Israeli civilians.
▪ Documents captured by the IDF in 2002 indicated Fatah's 'systematic, institutionalized and ongoing financing' of the Al Aqsa Brigades. (See Arafat's signature on the weapons budget, and this full report from Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.)
▪ The leader of the Al Aqsa Brigades in Tulkarm told USA Today on March 14, 2002: 'The truth is, we are Fatah, but we didn't operate under the name of Fatah...We are the armed wing of the organization. We receive our instructions from Fatah. Our commander is Yasser Arafat himself.' [For more on the Arafat-Al Aqsa connection, click here.]
In addition, Arafat granted free rein to the radical Islamic terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad to perpetrate dozens of horrific acts of civilian murder between 2000-2004. [At left: Arafat with Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin, 2003]
In January 2002, the Israeli Navy seized a Gaza-bound, PA-owned freighter ― the Karine A ― that was loaded with more than fifty tons of Iranian ammunition and weapons, including dozens of surface-to-surface Katyusha rockets. (See more on the Karine A.) In June 2002, upon recognizing Arafat's ongoing financing and abetting of terrorism, U.S. President Bush called for Arafat's removal from power. Progress toward peace required, according to Bush, 'a new and different Palestinian leadership...not compromised by terror.' Release of a U.S.-backed 'road map' for settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was therefore delayed until such a new Palestinian leader emerged. On its part, the Israeli government chose to isolate Arafat in his Ramallah compound, the 'Muqata', where he would remain from early 2002 until his final days, and where his burial is expected to occur.
In April 2003, hours after Mahmoud Abbas assumed the role of Palestinian prime minister, the official road map was released and diplomatic progress began. But Arafat consistently undercut the authority of Abbas, leading to Abbas' resignation and the halting of the road map peace process.
Corruption, Autocracy and Jihad
Over the course of his 'revolutionary' career, Arafat siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars of international aid money intended to reach the Palestinian people. Estimates of the degree of Arafat's wealth differ, but are all staggering: In 2003, Forbes magazine listed Arafat in its annual list of the wealthiest 'Kings, Queens and Despots,' with a fortune of 'at least $300 million.' Israeli and US officials estimate Arafat's personal holdings between $1-3 billion.
And while the average Palestinian barely subsisted, Arafat's wife Suha (at left) in Paris received $100,000 each month from PA sources as reported on CBS' 60 Minutes. That CBS report also noted that Arafat maintained secret investments in a Ramallah-based Coca Cola plant, a Tunisian cellphone company, and venture capital funds in the U.S. and the Cayman Islands.
Arafat also used foreign aid funds to pay off cronies who bolstered his autocracy: An International Monetary Fund report indicated that upwards of 8% ($135 million) of the PA's annual budget was handed out by Arafat 'at his sole discretion.' And Arafat's select PA policemen, far from keeping the peace, were repeatedly among the suicide bombers and snipers. Money was just one method of strengthening Arafat's power apparatus. Critics of his PA government were routinely imprisoned, tortured or beaten. One example: In 1999, Muawiya Al-Masri, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, described Arafat's corruption to a Jordanian newspaper. For this, he was attacked by a gang of masked men and shot three times. Al-Masri survived the ordeal and described Arafat's grip on PA power: 'There is no institutional process. There is only one institution ― the Presidency, which has no law and order and is based on bribing top officials.'
From 2000-2004, Arafat permitted Muslim imams to incite unprecedented anti-Israel and anti-American violence from their mosques and through official PA media. Arafat's Religious Affairs Ministry employed preachers who regularly called for children to 'martyr themselves', and PA television glamorized the act of suicide bombing. Under Arafat, the Palestinian Authority school textbooks denied Israel's very existence, and jihad was presented to Palestinian children as an admirable course of action. The Jewish people, meanwhile, was represented to schoolchildren as a tricky, greedy and barbarous nation.
Freedom of the press was virtually non-existent during Arafat's reign in Gaza, Jericho and Ramallah ― if it didn't speak favorably of Arafat, it didn't get printed in the PA-controlled media. Moreover, the PA enacted a systematic policy of intimidation of foreign journalists. One case among many: When an AP cameraman captured footage of Palestinian street celebrations following the 9/11 attacks, he was kidnapped, brought to a PA security office, and Arafat's cabinet secretary threatened that the PA 'cannot guarantee [his] life' if the footage was broadcast.
Yet beyond the terrorism, extortion, embezzlement and intimidation lies Arafat's most unfortunate ongoing impact: The inculcation of murderous values in an entire generation of Palestinians, who have been educated ― under Arafat's direction ― to continue the fight of jihad against Israel, rather than compromise to end the decades-long conflict.
How many generations will it take to undo Arafat's dark legacy? (Short and Insightful Article on Arafat’s Life)
Yassir Arafat, Father of Modern Terrorism – October 28, 2004
Lekerev Report - Yasser Arafat, who reportedly is on his deathbed, is considered the father of modern terrorism. He is directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Israeli citizens, the lynching deaths of untold numbers of Arabs and the killing of more than 100 U.S. citizens, including two American diplomats.
His official biography on the Nobel Prize website glosses over his terrorist past, writing only, "In 1958 he and his friends founded Al-Fatah, an underground network of secret cells, which in 1959 began to publish a magazine advocating armed struggle against Israel. At the end of 1964 Arafat left Kuwait to become a full-time revolutionary, organising Fatah raids into Israel from Jordan. It was also in 1964 that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) was established, under the sponsorship of the Arab League, bringing together a number of groups all working to free Palestine for the Palestinians. The Arab states favoured a more conciliatory policy than Fatah's... Arafat developed the PLO into a state within the state of Jordan with its own military forces. King Hussein of Jordan, disturbed by its guerrilla attacks on Israel and other violent methods, eventually expelled the PLO from his country. Arafat sought to build a similar organisation in Lebanon, but this time was driven out by an Israeli military invasion. He kept the organization alive, however, by moving its headquarters to Tunis..."
In fact, however, this long period was one of blood and murder orchestrated by Arafat. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest ranking intelligence officer ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc, wrote in the Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2002, "... I am not surprised to see that Yasser Arafat remains the same bloody terrorist I knew so well during my years at the top of Romania's foreign intelligence service. I became directly involved with Arafat in the late 1960s, in the days when he was being financed and manipulated by the KGB... Gen. Sakharovsky asked us in Romanian intelligence to help the KGB bringing Arafat and some of his fedayeen fighters secretly to the Soviet Union via Romania, in order for them to be indoctrinated and trained. During that same year, the Soviets maneuvered to have Arafat named chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organizaiton, with public help from Egypt's ruler, Gamal Abdel Nasser. When I first met Arafat, I was stunned by the ideological similarity between him and his KGB mentor. Arafat's broken record was that American "imperial Zionism" was the "rabid dog of the world," and there was only one way to deal with a rabid dog: "Kill it!" ... Arafat and his KGB handlers were preparing a PLO commando team headed by Arafat's top deputy, Abu Jihad, to take American diplomats hostage in Khartoum, Sudan, and demand the release of Sirhan Sirhan, the Palestinian assassin of Robert Kennedy. Just six months earlier Arafat's liaison officer for Romania, Ali Hassan Salameh, had led the PLO commando team that took the Israeli athletes hostage at the Munich Olympic Games.
"On March 2, 1973, after President Nixon refused the terrorists' demand, the PLO commandos executed three of their hostages: American Ambassador Cleo A. Noel Jr., his deputy, George Curtis Moore, and Belgian charge d'affaires Guy Eid. In May 1973, during a private dinner with Ceausescu, Arafat excitedly bragged about his Khartoum operation. "Be careful," Ion Gheorghe Maurer, a Western-educated lawyer who had just retired as Romanian prime minister, told him. "No matter how high up you are, you can still be convicted for killing and stealing." "Who, me? I never had anything to do with that operation," Arafat said, winking mischievously.
Arafat has made a political career by pretending that he has not been involved in his own terrorist acts. But evidence against him grows by the day. James Welsh, a former intelligence analyst for the National Security Agency, has told U.S. journalists that the NSA had secretly intercepted the radio communications between Yasser Arafat and Abu Jihad during the PLO operation against the Saudi embassy in Khartoum, including Arafat's order to kill Ambassador Noel..." (Entire Article)
The death of Palestinianism – November 6, 2004
WorldNetDaily.com - The Jewish Talmud makes the following observation:
“There is no beauty like Jerusalem, no wealth like Rome, no depravity like Arabia.”
This was written in the 3rd century A.D. – three hundred years before the Arabs embraced Muhammad's Islam. But neither the adoption of Islam nor all the intervening centuries since has decreased the addiction Arab men have to pederasty. Arab pederasty was personified in Yasser Arafat, one of the vilest human beings to ever infest the earth. During the Cold War, Arafat was a frequent guest of Romania's Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, who would put him up in his palace in Bucharest. Always included in Arafat's retinue was a selection of young boys. What Arafat didn't know was that Ceaucescu's secret police, the Securitatae, would covertly film his bedroom escapades. The Israeli intel agency Mossad has copies. Ask any Mossad guy about them and he rolls over in a fit of laughter.
Far worse than his pedophilic predilections, however, was Arafat's Arab Nazism. Yasser Arafat was the Hitler of Palestinian Arabs. Just as Hitler led the German people in a euphoric frenzy to their doom, so Arafat has done the same to his people. On his deathbed next to him lies the myth of Palestinianism.
Never in history has there ever been a Palestinian people separate and distinct from other Arabs. The creator of the myth that the Arabs living between the Jordan and the Mediterranean were somehow different from the Arabs in say, Syria, was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini. He created the myth as a rationale for murdering Jews. Al-Husseini became Grand Mufti in 1921. How he did so, through the machinations of a homosexual British functionary, is a fascinating story told in "The English Godfather of Palestinian Terrorism" (To The Point, Dec. 16, 2003). He organized Arab rampages killing Jewish settlers throughout the 1920s, formed an alliance with the Nazi Party of Germany in the 1930s, met with Adolf Hitler in Berlin in November 1941 to encourage him to slaughter Jews in Europe so they couldn't escape to settle in Palestine, ordered Arab families to flee Israel upon independence so Arab armies could invade in 1948, founded the Palestine Liberation Organization, mentored his nephew Rahman Abdul Rauf al-Qudwa al-Husseini, and turned the leadership of the PLO over to him. His nephew assumed the alias of Yasser Arafat.
Arafat's life purpose, imbued with Nazi hatred of Jews like his uncle, was not to establish a Palestinian state – that was only one means among others to gain his ultimate goal: slaughter every Jew in Israel and "drive them into the sea." Now the Palestinian Arabs, who have lived in wretched poverty in refugee camps or squashed together in Gaza for two generations unwelcomed by their oil-rich Arab neighbors, are about to suffer the full horror of Arafat's hate-filled legacy. Once Arafat finally dies, the Palestinian civil war I predicted last February in To The Point ("The Coming Palestinian Civil War," Feb. 6, 2004) is going to break out in all its bloody glory. The Palestinian Arabs without Arafat are leaderless. There will be open warfare between various Palestinian mafias. Hopefully, Sharon will be able to get his few thousand Jews out of Gaza before they get engulfed.
Peace for Israel can only come after these various Palestinian mafias finish killing each other off. Only through a Götterdammerung that purges Palestinian Arabs of their terrorist mentality and their fantasy of obliterating Israel do they have any chance of creating a culture with a future. The Machiavellian genius of Ariel Sharon foresaw all of this, which is why he is desperate to withdraw the Gaza Jews into a Fortress Israel. A post-Arafat 2005 will be a year of savagery out there in Apache country, and he is going make sure Israel will be preserved. Arafat will soon be dead, the sooner the better. The Palestinian Arabs who worshipped him will then reap what he has sown. (Entire Article)
Arafat is an Ethos – October 31, 2004
Trumpet Sounds - Yasser Arafat is gone, at least for now. His prolonged leadership has been corrosive to his own people and deadly to Israelis. Much attention is now directed to the question of what course the Palestinians will take in the post-Arafat era. Will a different kind of leader emerge to reverse course and take them off the self-destructive path? In an analysis in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Uzi Benziman characterizes Arafat as "driven by an obsession to establish a Palestinian state in blood and fire, on the ruins of the State of Israel." Then Benziman asks the critical question regarding the future of the Palestinians: "whether Arafat is a transitory person, whose worldview will not outlast his death, or whether he is an ethos."
Webster's defines ethos as "The character, sentiment, or disposition of a community or people, considered as a natural endowment; the spirit which actuates manners and customs."
Though we might hope Arafat's departure would inaugurate a new way of thinking for the Palestinians, the evidence indicates otherwise. The tragic fact is Arafat has fabricated the ethos of his people. He on the political side, and Hamas on the religious side, have effected the radicalization of the Palestinians. Any genuine moderate voices among the Palestinians have long been silenced. Branded as collaborators with Israel and targeted by Arafat as a threat to his revolutionary agenda, the true Palestinian moderates were murdered or driven away. This is typically how tyrannical dictators consolidate power. Arafat thoroughly accomplished that brutal consolidation, to the perpetual detriment of his people.
Arafat's motto "As martyrs by the millions, we will march into Jerusalem" has been wholeheartedly embraced by the Palestinians. In addition, the emergence of Hamas' extreme Islamist ideology as the dominant thread weaved through the cultural fabric, not competitive with Arafat but complementary to him, indicates the sobering answer to Benziman's question. Arafat is an ethos.
This lethal reality is why the so-called "peace process" was doomed from the start. At the inception of the Oslo agreement, some analysts predicted its failure for these very reasons, but were largely dismissed as naysayers. Belatedly, both the US and Israel excluded Arafat after concluding the supposedly reformed terrorist was still a terrorist. But it is much too late. The factors which led to those initial, now-vindicated negative projections have been exacerbated. The radical element is even more radical, a pervasive malignancy.
The "blood and fire" martyr's complex, mixed in with an unhealthy dose of Islamic fatalism, has become the Palestinian ethos. Arafat cultivated it like a virulent pathogen, infecting the entire organism of Palestinian culture. The highest ideal of this ethos is the sacred duty to become a shahid, to die a glorious death fighting the hated Zionists. Even three year old children easily recite the phrase "Yitbach al Yehud" (Kill the Jews). It is a mantra well-embedded into the Palestinian ethos.
When a populace is unremorsefully dominated by a worldview entirely incompatible with peace, no externally imposed peace process could succeed. Yet predictably, the land-for peace camp is spinning Arafat's departure as a new opportunity for revitalizing that dead process. Let's play along with them for a moment, and imagine that their fantasy is possible. What kind of successor to Arafat could take the Palestinians in a new, positive direction? Examine the candidates who may vie for power: Mahmoud Abbas, Ahmed Qureia, Mohammed Dahlan, Jibril Rajoub, Marwan Barghouti, Ismail Haniya, or pick another. While they may not exhibit Arafat's singular brand of dementia which made journalists and diplomats shake their heads in disgust, they all share the same base ideology. Indeed, they could not be otherwise; that view was prerequisite for being a close associate of Arafat.
The Palestinian leadership's common proclivity for justifying jihad against Israel, combined with the unmitigated integration of the radical Islamist ideology into the popular mindset, is a recipe for catastrophe. Even if a truly moderate Palestinian leader were to magically appear out of nowhere, one who had not been a part of the corrupt old guard and who genuinely wanted to work for peace, he would be immediately denounced by the Palestinian street as an agent for the Israelis and Americans. The people seem to want an unyielding jihad warrior, and apparently they will get want they want.
Arafat's legacy will be a curse on the Palestinians long after he has gone. He has led them on a course that will only end very badly for them. During his long reign as their leader, he has instilled an ethos that mirrors his own nefarious, murderous character. If Arafat is the Palestinian patriarch, his posterity is barbarity, and his patrimony will be catastrophe. (Entire Article)
The Final Days of Arafat
In a world of transparency and trust, the life of a man will be judged not only by his integrity or the passionate causes that he espouses but also by how he treats his own family, friends and those in the custody of his care. The Western World has watched incredulous in the fact that Arafat’s final moments of life were left with the same secrecy and duplicity that he has lived his whole life. To the international press in English, Arafat would espouse peace and justice to both Palestinians and Jews while in Arabic he would cry out “Death to the Jews”, “Drive the Jews to the sea”.
The final days of Yassir Arafat were about as incomprehensible as his life. The reality around it all was that the Lord of Hosts was opening up the curtain of secrecy that has surrounded the life of the “father of terrorism”. Arafat spent his life in pursuit of the goal of securing an internationally recognized state for the Palestinian people. While Arafat was portraying himself as a “poor man” working, he was also spent his life raiding the storehouse of the Palestinian people, and milking the international world in the largest charity scam in the world. When it is all over, it appears that Arafat and his ‘faithful servants’ will have abandoned the people that he stated that he dearly loved to live in a world of misery and impoverishment.
The Palestinian-Israel War Gains a French Dimension – October 29, 2004
DebkaFiles - The first winter rain bucketed down mixed with hailstones as two Jordanian helicopters carried the seriously ill Yasser Arafat out of Ramallah early Friday, October 29. Within an hour, he was out of the Middle East aboard a French presidential aircraft fitted out as an ambulance with life-support systems that whisked him from Amman to a French military hospital in Paris for urgent medical treatment. The circumstances of his exit indicate that, despite the veteran Palestinian leader’s sinking health, waning popularity and a reputation tainted with rampant corruption, he remains a force capable of sustaining the war of terror he declared on Israel four years ago, although for three of those years he was confined to his Ramallah headquarters. They also signal the onset of a new stage in that war and the entry of a new lead player: France. Exactly ten years ago, the Palestinian leader made a triumphal entry from Tunisian exile to lead the Palestinian Authority created under the 1993 Oslo peace accords. He rode in on a pledge to honor the peace, a pledge he lost no time in violating.
A certain amount of jostling for position greeted the first hours after his departure. The first to step forward were the former and current Palestinian prime ministers Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qureia. Abbas is Arafat’s Number 2 in the PLO executive; Qureia, the senior Palestinian Authority official. A third was Salim Zaanoun, head of the Palestinian Legislative Council. A fourth was the ambitious Mohammed Dahlan, former Gaza Strip strongman.
This foursome can do no more than try and keep things running pro tem until Arafat’s fate is settled one way or another. Without his seal of approval - which was not granted - its members’ standing is not very solid. Biding their time are the real Palestinian heavyweights, together with the al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades created by Arafat for the suicide campaign against Israel, the radical Hamas and the Jihad Islami. The latter two have already staked a claim to a share in the post-Arafat “unified national government.” The battle for the succession will not begin as long as the Palestinian leader is alive. Until then, president Jacques Chirac, an avowed friend of the “Palestinian struggle,” will be firmly by his side and likely to take a hand in the choices.
The rising men at this moment, according to DEBKAfile’s Palestinian sources, are Arafat’s closest advisers and his top terrorist masterminds: Hanni al-Hassan, Saher Habash, Azzam Muhammad, Nabil Abu Rodeina, Ramsi Roh and Force 17 commander Faisal Abu Serah. This group, together with extremist Farouk Kadoumi, the self-exiled deputy chairman of the Fatah executive, will remain in Paris as long as Arafat is confined to hospital. They will try run Palestinian Authority business from the French capital. Claiming they are relaying orders from Arafat, they will gradually erode the authority of the Abu Mazan-Abu Ala clique. These candidates do not auger well for the hopes harbored by many Israelis of Arafat’s eclipse automatically opening the way for non-violent Palestinian peace negotiators to step forward – or even a downturn in terrorist attacks. Quite the contrary, the contest promises to jar the entire region and unleash fresh terrorist energy.
The high-security Percy military hospital in the Paris suburb of Clamart was chosen in a last minute switch from the Val-de-Grace medical center because of its specialization in blood disorders. Before his departure, Arafat’s physician Dr. Ashraf Kurdi, confirmed his blood platelet count was low. From the moment that he was committed to hospital, the French agents watching over him will carefully select his visitors. Not all the important members of his escort will be admitted. Those with the best chance are his closest aide Abu Rodeina, private secretary Ramzi Roh, his financial adviser Mohammed Rashid and Azzam Ahmed, who was his contact-man with Iraq’s ex-ruler Saddam Hussein.
Arafat deliberately refrained from naming an heir with a view to running the PA from his hospital bed. But who will conduct the ongoing Palestinian war? Its initiator is in no shape for this kind of strain. By the time he was carried out of his Ramallah quarters, he was too frail to walk. The photographs showing him in a blue pajama suit and knitted hat beaming at his companions were carefully staged. The Palestinians, Israelis and French are all working on the premise that his health has deteriorated too far for recovery. But his protectors will certainly keep him “alive” as long as he breathes. Palestinian officials may travel to Paris, put up at smart hotels and report back home that Arafat is coming along well. But it will be hearsay. They will not be allowed to see him. Abu Rodeina will not doubt phone Ramallah and the Gaza Strip from time to time with “orders” from the boss which no Palestinian official will dare disobey as long as they are in the dark about his real condition. They will wait for a death certificate to prove he is not about to turn up and demand an accounting for their disobedience.
The current situation is therefore uncertain and extremely volatile. All that can be said for the moment is:
1. Israel may have had little choice, but it has lost points by relinquishing the limited intelligence control it maintained over Arafat’s actions in Ramallah and handing it over to France.
2. France is well seasoned in manipulating foreign political figures, often haven-seekers, to serve French diplomatic, military and intelligence interests. One example is Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who lived in exile in a small town near Paris for most of the 1970s disseminating propaganda materials for inciting revolution against the Shah of Iran. In 1979, Khomeini landed in Tehran aboard a French plane and led the Islamic revolution that toppled the ruler and put an end to US-Israeli influence in Iran.
3. By taking charge of the symbol and inventor of the Palestinian national struggle, the French government has also taken a lead-position in European policymaking on Israel, the Palestinians and the conflict between them. Considering the Chirac government’s warm sympathy for the Arabs and the Palestinian cause and its friendly ties with Iran, Syria and the Hizballah, this is not exactly good news for Israel.
4. Since early 2002, the French President has consistently taken a collision course against President George W. Bush over his Middle East policies and posture, especially on Iraq and the Palestinians. Arafat in the care of the French government grants Chirac a new and sharp tool for hurting Israel’s interests and crossing the Washington that refused to do business with the discredited Palestinian leader. (Poignant Article looking at the Realignment of International Powers in the Time of the End)
Israel and Palestinians brace for worst with Arafat brain dead – November 4, 2004
Jerusalem (AFP) - Leaders on both sides of the Middle East conflict steeled themselves for the end of the Yasser Arafat era as the vanguard of the Palestinian nationalist struggle for the past four decades lay brain dead in a Paris hospital. Palestinian officials fiercely denied that Arafat had passed away after Israeli media reported that the 75-year-old had died.
But while French medical sources said Arafat was technically still alive, they added that he was "brain dead" and only breathing with the help of life support machines while in an irreversible coma. Technically, Arafat is "not dead," one source told AFP on condition of confidentiality. But there was no hope of him leaving his vegetative state and recovering basic bodily functions such as breathing without assistance.
Palestinian officials fiercely denied that Arafat had passed away after Israeli media reported that the 75-year-old had died. But while French medical sources said Arafat was technically still alive, they added that he was "brain dead" and only breathing with the help of life support machines while in an irreversible coma. Technically, Arafat is "not dead," one source told AFP on condition of confidentiality. But there was no hope of him leaving his vegetative state and recovering basic bodily functions such as breathing without assistance… Arafat was flown to Paris last Friday for treatment of a blood disorder after being airlifted from the compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah where he had been under effective Israeli house arrest for nearly three years. Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qorei had earlier tried to play down the seriousness of Arafat's condition, denying he was in a coma and insisting new test results had been positive. Qorei had been attending emergency leadership meetings of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the dominant Fatah party. Both have been led by Arafat for some four decades, but were chaired Thursday by former premier Mahmud Abbas. Hundreds of Fatah supporters brandished portraits of Arafat as they took to the streets of Gaza City late Thursday while prayers were said for his welfare. "We pray to Almighty God for the swift recovery of our president Yasser Arafat so that he can return to his people in good health," said the imam at Gaza's Sheikh Zayid mosque. Residents in Ramallah were glued to their television sets for updates on the town's famous resident. "I can't bear the thought he will die for good. He's our national leader, the one and only," said 33-year-old Mohammed Ribhi as his eyes filled with tears.
Amid widespread fears that Arafat's death could trigger chaos on the streets of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, all members of the Palestinian security services were placed on a state of alert Thursday. "The security forces have been put on a state of alert and all members ordered to be on standby," one senior officer said. "We have been told to prepare for any activity which is beyond the law and to protect the legitimacy of all the Palestinian institutions." Members of all the major Palestinian factions, including Fatah and the Islamist movement Hamas, were also due to meet in Gaza City Friday to ensure that the security situation did not unravel there. Signs of nerves on the Israeli side were also evident as troops in the occupied territories were placed on alert after Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz called a meeting in Tel Aviv attended by the heads of the country's security services. Israeli public television, meanwhile, reported that army commanders were to urge the government to capitalise on Arafat's demise by working more closely with the Palestinians.
The army has drawn up plans, codenamed "New Page", to deal with all possible eventualities should Arafat die. But officers would also urge the government to coordinate its withdrawal of settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip, due to take place by the end of 2005, with Arafat's successors, the television said.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has refused all dealings with Arafat since coming to power in 2001, instead confining him to his West Bank headquarters until his dramatic airlift to Paris last Friday. Arafat's death or permanent incapacitation has the potential to galvanise the Middle East peace process. Sharon met Abbas on a number of occasions last year before a massive suicide bomb prompted Israel to freeze top-level contacts with the Palestinians. Arafat has also been snubbed by US President George W. Bush. Asked for his reaction to the reports of Arafat's death, Bush said "God bless his soul". (Entire Article)
Palestinians, Israel draw battle lines over Arafat burial site – November 6, 2004
"The president [Arafat] has shown a desire to be buried in Jerusalem, and in a place that is close to the Al Aqsa Mosque," the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Ikrema Sabri, said Friday. Sabri did not specify whether Arafat had a written will. But he said that Arafat made the request during a meeting four months ago. Sabri's statements marked the first official comment on the ailing Palestinian leader's burial wishes.
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Ikrema Sabri, who said to reporters on Friday that PA
chairman Arafat has shown a desire to be buried in Jerusalem, and in a place
that is close to the Al Aqsa Mosque. (AP)
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been quoted repeatedly as having ruled out a burial for Arafat in Jerusalem or its environs. On Friday, Justice Minister Yosef Lapid said of the Palestinians, "They will choose where to bury him, but he will not be buried in Jerusalem because Jerusalem is the city where Jewish kings are buried and not Arab terrorists." The mosque compound is built on the ruins of the biblical Jewish temples and is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount. Burial in Jerusalem would be seen as strengthening Palestinian claims to the traditionally Arab sector of the city as a future capital. Lapid did not refer to a possible ban on a West Bank burial, but told Israel TV's Channel Two: "Now we are talking about Gaza. We have no problems with Gaza, of course."
Arafat's clan, the Al-Kidwas,are originally from Gaza, though the Palestinian leader grew up in Jerusalem and Cairo. The family has a small plot of 25 to 30 graves in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis. The overgrown patch is in the middle of a busy vegetable market and would not be considered appropriate. Other burial options include a seaside plot next to his old headquarters in Gaza City, or Gaza City's "martyrs' cemetery" east of the city, close to Israel…(Read Entire Article)
The Mysterious End to Yasser Arafat
What was more comical than watch the charade as soon as Arafat arrived in Paris, France. Every conflicting statement known that could have been stated was. What was wrenchingly sad were the last days of a national leader, who was kept in a vegetative state by a mechanical ventilator only due to the machinations of power, greed and control by the wife of Arafat, the president of France, and the radical Palestinian political rivals against the troika of heirs apparent to the “kingship” of Gaza and the West Bank. Reports that emitted from the highly sealed hospital quarters of the Palestinian President ranged from: Arafat was reading the Koran in the hospital, about to be released from the hospital, was carrying on the business of the Palestinian Authority to suffering from a brain hemorrhage, weak but improving to the report that he was in a coma.
From the vantage point of a physician, it was a most embarrassing moment for French medicine when the elite medical center, Hospital d'Instruction des Armees de Percy in southwest Paris where some of the world’s foremost HIV/AIDS doctors are located were made to look like a rural medical clinic who had no more diagnostic technology at their disposal than a CBC and a platelet count.
Behind the scene a bitter battle was raging between Suha Arafat, the wife of Arafat, the French government fronted by French President Jacquez Chirac himself who wanted to find the ‘billions’ of money given to Arafat by the European governments, mainly by France. What happened to these secret slush funds controlled by the moderate Palestinians, while the radical Palestinian Muslims who were scrambling to find the secret treasuries. All the while, the Palestinian coffer was empty.
The Politics of greed and power was transparently flaunted in the western press but artfully hidden from the Palestinian people. The soon arrival of the body of the ‘holy martyr for the Palestinain people’s cause would soon clash with the image of a morally impoverished HIV infected pediophile, who by his own tainted lifestyle may have sealed the ‘judgment of the Lord of hosts’ upon the entire Palestinian terrorist leadership to their own premature death by AIDS.
PA leaders, Paris hospital officials deny reports of Arafat's death – November 11, 2004
Haaretz Daily - Sources at the French military hospital where Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has been receiving treatment on Thursday denied reports that the 75-year-old Arafat has died, but described his medical state as "complex. Mr. Arafat is not dead," Christian Estripeau, a spokesman for the Percy…
In a rare flurry of activity, the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Central Committee of the Fatah movement were urgently summoned to Arafat's Muqata headquarters in the West Bank city. Former Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas also took part in the emergency meeting at the compound. "The Palestinian leadership is in constant meeting to follow up on the president's health situation," Palestinian cabinet minister Nabil Shaath said in Ramallah, adding that top officials were in touch with Arafat's hospital every half hour to check on his condition.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker had said Thursday that Arafat died in hospital. "[He] passed away 15 minutes ago," Juncker told reporters on arrival at a European Union summit in Brussels when asked what he knew about Arafat's condition. Juncker later retracted his statement, after speaking to French President Jacques Chirac. Earlier Thursday, French officials and a French radio station, Radio Monte Carlo, had reported the Palestinian leader's death. The reports were denied by PA officials, including Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and senior adviser Mohammed Rashid.
According to reports from Percy Military Hospital, Arafat is in critical condition, and his days are numbered. According to estimates, Arafat is suffering from either a growth in his intestines or stomach, or from blood poisoning. A source quoted on French television said that Arafat is breathing with the help of a respirator and is not responding to medical treatment that is being administered. The source, a doctor in the hospital, claims that Arafat has no chance of coming out of the coma. The doctor, who asked to remain anonymous, said that in the past three years Arafat's health has been neglected, which led to its deterioration.
Arafat was rushed to intensive care late on Wednesday after a sudden deterioration in his condition. French hospital officials had been expected to hold a briefing Thursday morning on the Palestinian leader's condition, but the session was abruptly postponed, without explanation. Palestinian officials said doctors carrying out tests on the 75-year-old leader since he was airlifted to France last Friday still did not know what was wrong with him, despite ruling out leukaemia. "New tests have been carried out including an endoscopy [visual internal examination]. Nothing was found out from those tests," a senior aide said earlier on Thursday.
Palestinian officials said Arafat lost consciousness several times Wednesday night, and by Thursday morning was comatose. Abbas had planned to fly to Paris before dawn Friday to visit the ailing Arafat, but the trip was cancelled after Abbas was told that he would be unable to visit Arafat, Army Radio reported. Although some Palestinian officials insisted that Arafat's condition had stabilized Thursday morning, Israeli media reported that Arafat's organ systems had begun to fail.
Only his wife Suha, who lives in Paris, and a handful of aides were informed that Arafat had been moved to intensive care late on Wednesday, and no visitors were allowed to see him at the military hospital outside Paris where he was brought for treatment last Friday. Abbas' planned trip to Paris may have be spurred by hopes that Arafat would officially appoint him as a successor, a move the PA chairman has so far avoided. Although Arafat has never named a deputy or heir, Abbas - who is secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee - is second to Arafat in the PLO's hierarchy, making him a logical candidate for the job.
Palestinian officials said doctors still don't know the cause of Arafat's illness, but it is apparently viral, making it difficult to treat with medicine. French doctors treating him had earlier ruled out leukemia. Only Suha Arafat and the Palestinian leader's cousin, Palestinian UN representative Nasser al-Kidwa, are allowed to visit the stricken Arafat. Arafat first became ill during the Ramadan fast when his doctors said he was suffering from flu. Israel allowed him to be taken from his Muqata headquarters after his condition worsened. Earlier Wednesday, Shahid said Arafat felt well enough to ask about the U.S. presidential election, and an aide later issued a statement in Arafat's name congratulating George W. Bush on his reelection. At the time, Shahid also said Arafat's health was improving. (Read Entire Article)
Secrecy surrounds Diagnosis and Death - November 24, 3004
Paris (International Herald Tribune) - Even
after Yasser Arafat's death Thursday morning, French health officials continued
their stony silence about exactly what disease killed the Palestinian leader.
And so, the man who lived so much of his life simply and in the public eye,
died mysteriously, surrounded by secrecy. After two weeks, the medical
databases at Percy Military Training Hospital in Clamart must be crammed with
information about Arafat's condition - scans, biopsies, reams of blood test
results - that would have defined for doctors within minutes the condition of
Arafat's kidneys, liver and lungs. But these remain top secret.
The hospital officially announced Arafat's death in a terse statement delivered by the hospital spokesman, General Christian Estripeau, who told reporters there would be no details released on tests, the cause of death or whether there would be an autopsy. When reached by telephone later on Thursday, Estripeau said there would be "no information." In fact, all the information about Arafat's sudden death that has dribbled out comes from his Palestinian aides, who provide facts through a non-medical and highly politicized filter. These few misshapen puzzle pieces are insufficient to create a picture of what went wrong.
As their beloved leader deteriorated in the past two days, Arafat's aides announced only that he was in a deep coma on life-support machines, having suffered a brain hemorrhage - a stroke caused by bleeding into the brain. But such a fatal event can have many underlying causes, and does not explain why Arafat's health had deteriorated so precipitously in the past month. In France, a patient or the next-of-kin must give permission for doctors to release information. In his carefully worded statements, Estripeau suggested that this permission was not given: "It is not up to the defense forces' health services to reveal information given to the family," he said today.
Strokes are generally sudden affairs, and Arafat's was almost certainly a secondary result of his underlying and undisclosed illness. At the time of his medical evacuation to Paris two weeks ago, aides revealed that he was suffering from a low platelet count and had undergone a platelet transfusion. Since platelets are involved in blood clotting, patients with low platelet counts are predisposed to brain hemorrhages, and this may have contributed to Arafat's death. But low platelet counts in the blood are a common finding in a wide range of illnesses, including severe infections, liver disease, end-stage cancer, and even AIDS. And doctors made no mention of a hemorrhage until Wednesday, suggesting that it was a recent event. ..
It is accepted medical practice throughout the world that patients or their families have the right to keep medical information private. In France, politicians and celebrities frequently keep their medical lives secret, but in many countries, such as the United States, public figures are expected to reveal private health information and hospitals tend to encourage it. "There can be tension between what the public would like to know and what the family feels comfortable talking about, but our policy is that the privacy of the patient and the patient's family comes first and is paramount," said Myrna Manners, spokesperson for the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, which has treated many world leaders including the Shah of Iran…
There are various reasons why Arafat's inner circle would want to keep the cause of his death a secret. Perhaps he suffered from a disease that they considered embarrassing. Or perhaps the doctors who treated him during the early phases of his illness in Ramallah missed a treatable medical condition, letting him deteriorate to the point it was too late to cure him once he was moved to Paris.
In the end, the actual timing of his death - like in much of his life - was probably tinged with a hefty dose of politics and religion. At some point after he was transferred to intensive care, Arafat was placed on a ventilator, a machine that assists in breathing. Such assistance can be required because of lung problems - like pneumonia - or in cases where the brain-centers that control breathing are not functioning properly. Both deep comas and large strokes can damage these centers temporarily and require that a patient be placed on a machine. Once a patient's breathing is maintained by a ventilator, the exact timing of death often becomes something of a matter of choice. More important, it also becomes subject to religious variations concerning the ethics of caring for terminally ill patients.
Islamic scholars have generally prohibited the discontinuation of life support machines, since the Koran advises: "Don't throw yourself into death." Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian foreign minister, reacted violently to press reports yesterday that Palestinian officials had arrived in Paris to "pull the plug" on Arafat. "We don't accept euthanasia," he said, Arafat "is in the hands of God."
But in France, as in much of the world, death is now defined by the death of the brain, or "brain death." A patient on a ventilator can be breathing and have a pumping heart- at least for some time - even though he is medically and legally dead. Many Islamic scholars say that a patient can be disconnected from life support once he is brain dead, since he is no longer really alive. But some conservative Muslim groups, as well as many conservative Jews, still maintain that the person lives so long as the heart is beating. It is not known if Arafat was removed from life-support machines or if his heart stopped beating while he was still on them. (Read Entire Article)
France – Arafat not Poisoned – November, 2004
Lekerev Report - French Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Sunday there was no reason to suspect poisoning in the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in a Paris hospital last week. "Medically, scientifically, technologically, everything was done in medical terms and by way of treatment, and nothing leads us to suppose there was poisoning," said Douste-Blazy in an interview with a French Jewish radio station. His comments came after the Palestinian representative in France Leila Shahid said earlier Sunday she thought it was possible that Arafat could have been poisoned.
Mystery continues to surround his illness and death. The issue has become a major point of scrutiny in France where officials have refused to divulge information, citing patient confidentiality under French law.
Murderer, Terrorist and
Pedophile – November 11, 2004
Crosswalk.com - Yasser Arafat was a murderer, a terrorist and, if you believe some credible reports, a pedophile. He also skimmed millions of dollars into personal bank accounts; money he had pledged to use to elevate his people. His non resident wife lived it up in Paris. She doesn't like the idea that her gravy train may be about to derail. Of all the people to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, Arafat was the least worthy. Now there's talk among wishful thinkers that a change in the Palestinian leadership might energize the so-called "peace process."
Would Goebels or Goerring replacing Hitler have slowed the Nazi holocaust or thoughts of world domination? It isn't about the head, it's about the body. And the Palestinian body is rotten to the core. It wishes to eliminate Israel from the map and all Jews from the land. They say so and have repeatedly proven their intention. Now Tony Blair is coming to town, reportedly determined to get the Bush administration to put more pressure on Israel to give up more land. That formula has never worked, because the problem isn't Israel. The problem is Arafat and millions like him. (Entire Article)
Arafat Dying of Aids - November 4, 2004
For years I have reported the pedophilia and other bizarre homosexual activities of Yasir Arafat. At present, the Arab media is widely reporting that he was poisoned by Israel. My correspondents suspect otherwise. Here are two typical examples: ”If Arafat's blood has a disease, his weight loss is down by at least a third, his immune system is compromised and his cognitive abilities are skewed...what does this sound like?”
lighting Candles for Arafat
Here’s a question you won’t hear in our big papers or on network TV: Does Yasser Arafat have AIDS? We know he has a blood disease that is depressing his immune system. We know that he has suddenly dropped considerable weight – possibly as much as 1/3 of all his body weight. We know that he is suffering intermittent mental dysfunction. What does this sound like?
Former Romanian intelligence chief Ion Pacepa tells in his very interesting memoirs that the Ceaucescu regime taped Arafat’s orgies with his body guards. If true, Arafat would a great deal to conceal from his people and his murderously anti-homosexual supporters in the Islamic world. Before airlifting Arafat to Paris, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier promised to “stand by” him. Was that why Arafat chose to be treated in France rather in any of the fraternal Arab countries that supposedly support his movement – because he could trust the French to protect his intimate secrets? "Pacepa's line about Arafat: "So much cleverness, blood and filth in one man." It would be a good idea to switch the suspicions away from Israel and back to Arafat''s not so secret life where they belong. (News Note by One of Israel’s best and most controversial News Reporters)
Cutting Edge Ministry - Shortly after this revelation came out, other sources began to report that Arafat may be suffering from AIDS. Of course, in the extremely sensitive Islamic culture, homosexuality is most definitely condemned and its participants quickly lose their lives. Certainly, the followers of Arafat would be very reluctant to admit that their beloved leader was gay.
NEWS BRIEF: "Does Arafat Have AIDS?", by Malcolm Thornberry 365Gay.com, European Bureau Chief, November 1, 2004
"(Paris) As French doctors continue to run tests on Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat some medical authorities not connected directly to his case are suggesting that he may have HIV/AIDS. Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath Monday said that all types of cancer had been ruled out. Arafat has been visibly ill for more than two weeks. Last Wednesday he collapsed and briefly lost consciousness. Initial blood tests performed in the West Bank revealed a low blood platelet count. The Palestinian leader was airlifted to France where he is undergoing more tests. But, with leukemia and other forms of cancer ruled out, the list of possible diseases is narrowing.
"A low blood platelet count is a sign of a weakened immune system. In addition to cancer, the low count could be attributed to bleeding ulcers, colitis, liver disease, lupus, or HIV. It is believed that ulcers and colitis have already been ruled out. Arafat has lost a considerable amount of body weight. Hospital d'Instruction des Armees de Percy, southwest of Paris, also has some of France's best HIV/AIDS doctors. For several years there have been suggestions that Arafat was bisexual."
When my wife heard the hospital to which Arafat was rushed, she immediately recognized the name as being one of the best AIDS hospitals in the world.
In October, 2000, Cutting Edge reported that, while young, Yassir Arafat was a flaming homosexual, so active in the underground Egyptian gay network that the Russian KGB found no difficulty filming young Arafat with his lovers and then blackmailing him so he would agree to be the head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). (Entire Article)
report sounds grim new warning over AIDS – November 23, 2004
Brussels (AFP) — The UN warned that the world is facing a "unique development challenge," as new data showed nearly 40 million people now have HIV and over 3 million will die of AIDS this year, the highest tolls in the 23-year history of the killer disease. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNAIDS named Asia and Eastern Europe as the regions where the AIDS virus is spreading the most swiftly and noted the pandemic was advancing alarmingly among women. Without urgent action "the world is unlikely to gain the upper hand over AIDS," the two United Nations agencies warned bluntly. "These latest developments firmly establish AIDS as a unique development challenge," said UNAIDS chief Peter Piot, who presented a new report at a Brussels press conference. The time of quick fixes and emergency responses is over. We have to balance the emergency nature of the crisis with the need for sustainable solutions," he added.
In an annual report, "AIDS Epidemic Update," published ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1, the two agencies estimated that 3.1 million people will have died from AIDS in 2004, the most in any one year and 200,000 more than the mortality in 2003. Around 39.4 million people have the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which causes the disease, an increase of 1.6 million over the previous year and another record. In 2004, 4.9 million people, the most in any single year, will have become infected by HIV, compared with 4.8 million new cases in 2003, they estimated. "The number of people living with HIV has been rising in every region," the report said. "(...) A massive effort is needed to achieve a response on that which matches the global AIDS epidemic." It sounded the alarm for East Asia and countries of the former Soviet Union, but said the situation in sub-Saharan Africa, the world's worst-hit region, where more than 25 million people have the AIDS virus, was varied.
It made these points:
· EAST ASIA: 1.1 million people have HIV, an increase of 56 percent over the past two years that is mainly attributable to an explosive rise in China, where all 31 provinces are now affected. The disease is being spread in diverse ways, but mainly through sex workers and shared syringes used by injecting drug users. "If China is to shape the course of its epidemic, it needs to move swiftly and with great resolve," the report warned.
· SOUTH ASIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA: HIV infections have spiraled upwards, from 6.4 million in 2002 to 7.1 million in 2004, of which 5.1 million live in India -- the highest in the world except for South Africa.
· EASTERN EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA: Some 1.4 million people have the AIDS virus, compared with a million two years ago. The causes: a resurgence of infections in Ukraine and a relentless rise in Russia, where it is entering the population mainstream through sexual intercourse, after being largely limited to injecting drug users.
SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: Remains by far the worst-affected region in the world, although the situation varies greatly across the continent. In South Africa, where 5.3 million people are infected, "there is no sign yet of a decline in the epidemic," and HIV prevalence among pregnant women, which in 2003 was already 27.9 percent, is continuing to rise. However, rates have remained stable in much of West and Central Africa and Uganda has seen modest declines…
More than 23 million people have died from AIDS since the disease, caused by destruction of the immune system by a virus, came to light in 1981. (Article)
The Subterranean Finances of Billionaire Arafat
In a world of transparency and trust, the life of a man will be judged not only by his integrity or the passionate causes that he espouses but also by how he treats his own family, friends and those in the custody of his care. The Western World has watched incredulous in the fact that Arafat’s final moments of life were left with the same secrecy and duplicity that he has lived his whole life. To the international press in English, Arafat would espouse peace and justice to both Palestinians and Jews while in Arabic he would cry out “Death to the Jews”, “Drive the Jews to the sea”.
A new source of income opened for Arafat after he established limited self-rule in parts of the West Bank and Gaza. Arafat sought millions, yes even billions of dollars from the Arab states, Russian and European countries for the poverty of the Palestinian people. The international community, protective of the fledgling peace effort with Israel, donated more than $6.5 billion to the Palestinian Authority from 1994 to 2003.
At the same time Arafat was spending his life terrorizing the Israeli people, urging and paying millions to the Palestinian families for their youth and children to blow up Israeli mothers, children and babies. Instead of investing in a social society infrastructure to bring peace, security, public health, modern education, food and health care to the millions of impoverished Palestinians, he left the Palestinian people, who when co-existing side by side with the Israeli people had one of the highest income ratio per person in the Middle East, now one of the poorest and most impoverished in the Islamic states.
Where did this money all go? Time and further revelation will open up the vast subterranean pipeline of wealth that Yassir Arafat used to siphon the millions of dollars for his own personal use in investments in airlines, real-estate, Coco-Cola bottling companies, high-tech companies, banana plantations and secret bank account around the globe. What he did not pocket for himself, Arafat used for political graft to pay off his political friends and enemies, all the time proclaiming to his own political supporters that he did not have any assets. As Mohammed Rashid, Arafat's financial adviser stated, "Arafat has no personal property in any part in the world. He doesn't even have a tent, a house, an orchard or any account that we can call personal in the name of Yasser Arafat."
Even Forbes magazine listed Arafat as worth more than $300 million, ranking him No. 6 in the richest “kings, queens and despots” in the world. Shalom Harari, formerly with the Israeli intelligence claims that Arafat secreted away up to $700 million, part to be used for his own anticipated exile. During the seven years of the Oslo Accord, 1993-2000, the International Monetary Fund reported that over $900 million in income to the Palestinian Authority was siphoned off before it reached the treasury of the Palestinian people.
As though, Arafat and his terrorist companions were not enough, in walks Suha Arafat, 41, the wife of Yassir Arafat for thirteen years, who immediately took control of the public relations of the health status of Yassir as soon as he reached French soil. Living a life as one of the Parisian elite, she survived while moving around in the moneyed circles of the Parisian society on $100,000 a month from the money given to the Palestinian people. There was one French fraud investigation into a reputed $14.4 million that was money-laundered into her French accounts.
The French government, the biggest European supporter of Yassir Arafat, fronted by French President Jacquez Chirac sided heavily with Suha Arafat and the radical rejectionist wing of the Palestinian camp which include PLO politburo chief Farouk Kaddumi, Arafat’s close confidant Hanni al Hassan, Force 17 commander and senior terrorist chief Col. Feisal Abu Srakh, as well as Mohammed Jihad, an important Jordanian Palestinian general.
At the same time, the American favorite heirs to Arafat, Abu Ala and Abu Mazen were humiliated over Arabic radio when Suha Arafat accused them of an “intrique to bury Abu Amar (Arafat) alive.”
In order to sideline Suha Arafat, seal the charade about him being alive, reading the Koran, running the affairs of the Palestinians from his hospital bed, Arafat’s wife had to be paid off. When it was all over, Suha received a signed legal document guaranteeing her: $1.8 million per month ($22 million per year) for living allowances, for the rest of her life, plus business expenses to maintain her plush private suite at the five-star Hotel le Bristol. Living in a elegant villa on one of the most affluent streets in the world, the Rue Fauborg St. Honore, the only things Suha has to fear, except where will the money come from the empty Palestinian coffers, are the Palestinians themselves, who in their poverty may seek to eliminate the last symbol of the decadence of the man they thought represented their ‘savior’.
Arafat Financial Empire in Jeopardy – November 9, 2004
Jerusalem (AP) — In his four decades as Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat (search) has run a murky financial empire that includes far-flung PLO (search) investments in airlines, banana plantations and high-tech companies, and money hidden in bank accounts across the globe. Jaweed al-Ghussein (search), a former PLO finance minister, told The Associated Press it was worth $3 billion to $5 billion when he quit in 1996. No one will say how much it's worth now — some estimates say as little as a few million. But as 75-year-old Arafat fights for life in a hospital near Paris, Palestinians fear that what's left will disappear or be pocketed by Arafat cronies.
"It's the money of the Palestinian people," said Palestinian legislator Hassan Khreishe, adding that he would urge a parliamentary investigation. That could prove difficult. Arafat has long resisted proper accounting for the funds, which include Arab payments to the PLO in the 1970s and 1980s, and Western aid to his self-rule government, the Palestinian Authority, after interim peace deals with Israel in the 1990s.
Arafat lived frugally, but needed large sums to maintain loyalties. He would register investments and bank accounts in the names of loyalists, both to buy their support and protect the holdings from scrutiny and seizure, said al-Ghussein. Only Arafat had the full picture, he said, and it's not clear whether he left a will or financial records. Arafat never divulged his finances. Pressed at a February meeting with leaders of his Fatah movement, he cut them short, saying "there are no assets," according to one participant.
Mohammed Rashid, Arafat's financial adviser, denied his boss was rich. "Arafat has no personal property in any part in the world," he told Al-Arabiya television on Sunday. "He doesn't even have a tent, a house, an orchard or any account that we can call personal in the name of Yasser Arafat."
However, Forbes magazine ranked him No. 6 on its 2003 list of the richest "kings, queens and despots," estimating he was worth at least $300 million. Shalom Harari, a former top Israeli intelligence official, said Arafat may have stashed away up to $700 million, part of it for an emergency such as a new exile, especially with Israel threatening to expel him.
Two names frequently come up in connection with Arafat's money — Rashid and Arafat's wife, Suha. In the past 10 years, Rashid has handled hundreds of millions of dollars in Palestinian Authority revenue Arafat diverted from the treasury — though a reformist finance minister, Salam Fayyad, said the money was invested on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and has since been restored to public control.
Suha Arafat, Arafat's wife of 13 years and mother of his daughter, lives in Paris and has received monthly payments of $100,000 from the Palestinian coffers, according to a senior official in Arafat's office. This year, French prosecutors launched a money-laundering probe into transfers of $11.4 million into her accounts. She has refused to talk to reporters about Palestinian finances.
Al-Ghussein, speaking by telephone from London, said the big money from the Arab world started flowing in 1979. For a decade, the PLO received about $200 million a year, $85 million of it from Saudi Arabia, he said. Al-Ghussein, who headed the Palestinian National Fund, the PLO treasury, said during that period, he would hand Arafat a check for $10.25 million every month from the PLO budget, ostensibly for payments to PLO fighters and families of those killed in battle. He said Arafat refused to account for his spending, citing national security.
Much of the Arab money dried up after Arafat infuriated his patrons in 1990 by siding with Saddam Hussein during Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. But Saddam gave Arafat $150 million in three payments, Al-Ghussein said. "It was handed to Arafat personally," said al-Ghussein, who left his job in 1996 after falling out with Arafat. In 2000, a court in the United Arab Emirates, where al-Ghussein lived at the time, cleared him of stealing $6.5 million in Palestinian Authority funds.
The PLO investments are said to have ranged from an airline in the Maldives to a Greek shipping company, banana plantations, a diamond mine in Africa and real estate throughout the Arab world.
The holdings were registered in the names of dozens of Arafat loyalists, according to a retired PLO financier in Gaza and to a Palestinian economist in the West Bank who began following the money trail at the request of some Fatah officials this year. Both spoke on condition of anonymity. A senior Palestinian Authority official with detailed knowledge of financial transactions said much of the money has been lost. Some of the companies went bankrupt. In other cases, Arafat cronies absconded with the cash. Some frontmen for PLO investments died, and the holdings passed to their families. Others insisted the PLO still has substantial assets.
Al-Ghussein said that when he left office the money was in "numerous accounts" worldwide, but he declined to elaborate. The West Bank economist estimated the organization had $2.5 billion to $4 billion in assets and cash.
A new source of income opened for Arafat after he established limited self-rule in parts of the West Bank and Gaza. The international community, protective of the fledgling peace effort with Israel, donated more than $6.5 billion to the Palestinian Authority from 1994 to 2003, in the beginning with few questions asked.
Last year the International Monetary Fund reported $900 million in Palestinian Authority income never reached the treasury during the first six years of self-rule. The money, including Israeli tax rebates and revenue from monopolies on cigarettes, fuel and cement, instead went into a Tel Aviv account controlled by Arafat. Harari, the former intelligence official, said the Israeli prime minister at the time, Yitzhak Rabin, was offended by the arrangement but was told by his advisers that Arafat needed a slush fund to suppress opposition to peace deals with Israel.
International aid officials declined to discuss PLO finances, saying they were only concerned with the Palestinian Authority's bookkeeping. Karim Nashashibi, the IMF representative in the Palestinian areas, said the $900 million has been restored to the treasury under Fayyad, who has won international praise for his work. In the last three years, Fayyad sharply curtailed Arafat's spending powers, cutting the budget for the "president's office" from $100 million in 2002 to $43 million this year. (Entire Insightful Article)
Arafat's wife left out
of will? –
November 4, 2004 - PLO chief reportedly refuses to
leave money to spouse, could go to terrorists
WorldNetDaily.com - Suha Arafat, wife of ailing Yasser Arafat, requested her husband this week draft a will leaving his multimillion dollar fortune to her, but Arafat refused, a Palestinian source told WorldNetDaily. Meanwhile, Israel security sources said they're worried the PLO chief's money could be passed on to terrorists to continue the intifada…
Arafat is said to be worth hundreds of millions, mostly from money Israel says he secretly shifted to bank accounts in his name by allegedly plundering financial aid, mostly from European countries, sent to help a battered West Bank and Gaza economy over the years. Forbes calculates Arafat, who comes in sixth behind Queen Elizabeth II in a list of wealthy world leaders, has a net worth of $300 million. Some Israelis believe Arafat's personal wealth may be as much as $11 billion, although in testimony to the Knesset last year Israel's chief of military intelligence, Aharon Zeevi, listed Arafat's personal assets at more than $1.3 billion.
Arafat also has millions invested in real estate, Middle East phone companies and a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Ramallah, where the PA chairman's shattered compound lies. Israel has accused Arafat of using some of his personal fortune to finance terror attacks against Israelis. Documents found by the IDF during its Operation Defensive Shield campaign in April 2002 showed part of the huge budget of the PLO was diverted by Arafat for terrorist attacks. In one example among many, Israel National News reported a letter was found signed by Arafat authorizing the transfer of thousands of dinars to Ahmed Mahmad Iz-A-Din Al-Kassam, a Hamas member who also represented Hezbollah in the PA and was responsible for transferring money for terror attacks and supporting terrorists' families. That Arafat refuses to sign over his money to Mrs. Arafat has experts worried his fortune might be made available to Palestinian terror organizations for further attacks against Israelis. "Yes, his money is being looked into," an Israeli security source told WorldNetDaily. "If he passes that kind of money on to the terrorists, it could fund the intifada for several more years." Another source said Israel had long speculated Arafat would "leave with a bang. He may have something in the works. We are on very high alert." (Entire Article)
Is Arafat's wife
still a Christian? - Suha's conversion to Islam questioned,
faith plays into inheritance issue – November 9, 2004
WorldNetDaily.com - The wife of ailing Yasser Arafat, Suha Arafat, may not have truly converted to Islam when she married the Palestinian leader, an issue that could be a major factor in the controversy surrounding the execution of his will and distribution of his fortune.
Suha was a 27-year-old Christian at the time she married 61-year-old Yasser Arafat in 1990. Although she ostensibly converted to Islam in 1990, that conversion appears to be somewhat in doubt. According to a 2001 article by Danny Rubenstein in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, "Suha was quoted in several interviews as saying that she had only accepted Islam for 'diplomatic purposes.' In recent years, she has been seen attending the Christmas Mass in Bethlehem, and according to Palestinian gossip, she was extremely angered at the reception in Bethlehem for Pope John Paul II, where the pontiff's address was interrupted by the sound of the muezzin summoning the Muslim worshipers to prayer."
As WorldNetDaily reported, Israeli sources say Suha hopes to delay as long as possible the announcement of her husband's death to bide time while she tries to negotiate for herself a large inheritance. The validity of her conversion to Islam comes into play when considering Islamic law regarding inheritance and may in fact be at the foundation of the melodrama being acted out in Paris. Arafat reportedly had a brain hemorrhage last night and is in critical condition in a Paris hospital.
As WorldNetDaily reported, Suha requested her husband last week draft a will leaving his multimillion dollar fortune to her, but Arafat refused. Islamic inheritance law is somewhat complex, but basically inheritance is governed according to the following guidelines.
When a Muslim dies, the following sequence of events is mandated by Islamic sharia law:
1. payment of funeral expenses
2. payment of his/her debts
3. execution of his/her will
4. distribution of remaining estate amongst the heirs according to sharia law
Under Islamic law, there are many restrictions as to who can and who cannot inherit. First, illegitimate and adopted children have no rights of inheritance whatsoever, and most Islamic scholars agree that Christians do not have the right to inherit from a Muslim.
According to the Quran, the following heirs have the right to inherit from a Muslim:
Three other categories who can inherit have been designated by Islamic jurists, but these do not apply in the case of Arafat because his grandparents are no longer living, and he has no grandchildren. Female heirs inherit one-half of the share to which male heirs are entitled. In the case of Arafat, both of his parents are dead; he has no son. Arafat's living heirs are his wife Suha, his daughter and his brother, Dr. Fathi Arafat. Fathi Arafat is currently being treated in a Cairo hospital for terminal cancer; if Fathi Arafat dies first, then his heirs will not stand to inherit from Yasser Arafat. Only if Yasser Arafat predeceases Fathi Arafat will Fathi's family stand to inherit part of their uncle's estate through their father. Of the original seven Arafat children, only Fathi and Yasser are still alive; their sister Yusra died last year; another sister, Inam, is buried in the Khan Younis refugee camp. Another brother is buried in Gaza. (Entire Article)
Chirac Spurns Qureia, Abbas - Throws Support behind Palestinian Radicals – November 8, 2004
DEBKAfile’s Paris sources: Chirac has performed dramatic somersault on Arafat crisis. His government decides abruptly to line up with Suha Arafat’s demands and promote radical Palestinian bloc’s claim to the succession - in contest against Abbas and Qureia. This step could obstruct US and Israeli moves to fill Arafat's position with moderate Palestinian leaders.
It looked as though after ten days, the brawl within the Palestinian leadership over Yasser Arafat’s body and ill-gotten fortune might be running out of mind-boggling maneuvers, when French president Jacques Chirac stepped in. Whereas until now, he had insisted on the whole mess being removed from France tout de suite, Monday, November 8, he saw a way of using the arrival of present and former Palestinian prime ministers, Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala) and Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), to pick up points for France and score a few against the US interest. After a consultation with his Middle East advisers, he decided to back Suha Arafat all the way and at the same time reach out to the radical, rejectionist wing of the Palestinian camp - PLO politburo chief Farouk Kaddumi, Arafat’s close confidant Hanni al Hassan, Force 17 commander and senior terrorist chief Col. Feisal Abu Srakh, as well as Mohammed Jihad, an important Jordanian Palestinian general.
Abu Ala and Abu Mazen had been deeply shamed by the hysterical pre-dawn outburst of Arafat’s wife Suha against them both over al Jazeera Arabic TV. She accused them of an “intrigue to bury Abu Amar (Arafat) alive,” and declared her husband was well and would return to lead his people. “I appeal to you to be aware of the scale of the conspiracy,” she shouted. Ordinary Palestinians were furious. One asked ironically what sort of uprising had she conducted in Paris, where she has lived alone most of her married life. She was accused of manipulatively withholding information about Arafat’s medical condition, preventing the Percy military hospital from giving out real information on his mysterious ailment and providing fertile ground for wild speculation.
Swallowing their chagrin, Abu Ala and Abu Mazen flew to the French capital to sort out the imbroglio. It was clear to them all that Arafat could not be maintained on life support systems beyond a couple of days, that his body must be removed and a funeral arranged to salvage the last shreds of the Palestinian leader’s dignity. To accomplish this, Suha would have to be paid off.
DEBKAfile’s sources learned she had been prepared to demand their signatures on documents drafted by her French lawyers guaranteeing her multimillion dollar inheritance and pension - as the price for switching off life support systems. But the two Palestinian officials were further humiliated when they arrived at the Percy hospital gates. French medical spokesman Christian Estripeau, who was back on duty after being withdrawn, intoned the only meaningless bulletin permitted him: “His condition is stable… Mr. Arafat’s condition forces us to limit visits.” Mrs Arafat still held the key to their access to Arafat - except on her terms. With the French president behind her, those terms can only become stiffer. And by grinding Abu Ala and Abu Mazen down, she is doing her part in enhancing the standing of their radical rivals. (Article)
Suha’s Payout –November 10, 2004
Tuesday, November 9, Suha Arafat’s French lawyers and former Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), struck a deal. It fixed the Palestinian Authority’s financial obligations to Yasser Arafat’s widow and let him finally die unambiguously and in peace at the end of a morbid tug of war between his wife and Palestinian Authority leaders.
But this did not happen immediately. The confusion surrounding Arafat’s condition for eleven days – officially alive, unofficially dead – was to be sustained a little longer – mainly to save Mrs Arafat’s face. The settlement allowed a funeral to be arranged on “Orphan Friday” of Ramadan, November 12 – unless a new crisis pops up. Our sources have seen some of the principle terms of the Palestinian accord with Suha Arafat.
1. This clause has already taken place. Before the Palestinian delegation which visited the hospital left Paris, foreign minister Nabil Shaath again assured the media that Arafat is still alive and “his brain, heart and lungs are still functioning.” This was necessary to prove Suha Arafat had not lied when she appeared that morning live on Arabic TV Al Jazeera to accuse those same officials of conspiring to bury her husband alive. The deal provided for the announcement of Arafat’s death to be held back for late Tuesday night or Wednesday, November 10.
2. The widow will attend the funeral. Abu Mazen insisted on her following the Palestinian leader’s bier for the sake of appearances.
3. Last July, Arafat sent his wife $11 million to cover her living expenses and those of their daughter for six months - $1.8 million per month. The new accord guarantees her the same allowance from the Palestinian Authority as a regular annual remittance, i.e. $22 million per annum, for the rest of her life. Abu Mazen and prime minister Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala) signed on the dotted line, although they have no notion how the penniless Palestinian Authority faced with a people in dire poverty can possibly stump up this kind of money.
DEBKAfile’s Paris sources offer an exclusive peek at Suha Arafat’s lifestyle in the French capital. She owns a smart villa on one of the most elegantly affluent streets in the world, Rue Fauborg St. Honore, while also maintaining a lavish private suite at the five-star Hotel Le Bristol, which after a multimillion dollar refurbishment claims to outclass the Paris Ritz, the Four Seasons and even George V. The upkeep of the Bristol suite she maintains for “business” was included in her widow’s “pension.” … Read Entire Article on the Appearances of Poverty by Arafat)
The Funeral of Arafat
The funeral of Yassir Arafat finally occurred on Friday, November 12, 2004, the last formal day of Ramadan. The next day, Saturday, November 13, the Palestinian Muslims began a three day festival that finalized the end of Ramadan. Arafat’s death will mark a new Muslim holiday. Whereas the body of Arafat was initially scheduled to be placed at the Arab League Headquarters in Cairo, and then a mosque on the grounds of Cairo’s International Airport, but then suddenly switched to the military Galaa Club where strict security was enforced the representative of over forty nations. Here the Arab dignitaries were especially hosted due to the political difficulties to carry Arab leaders across Israeli airspace. As the funeral was finalized a troika of Palestinian leaders were already securing the powers held by Yassir Arafat: Legislature Speaker Fathi Rouh was designated acting chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Ala stayed on as prime minister and Abu Mazen, as senior executive officer of the PLO.
Arafat’s Demise – an (Almost) Never-Ending Story – November 10, 2004
DEBKAfile Special Report - Wednesday night, November 10, Yasser Arafat’s grotesquely protracted demise had just about reached breaking point when two things happened. The Fatah-Tanzim stirred up anti-Israeli riots in Jerusalem and West Bank under the slogan: “Arafat’s heritage is the gun” and “the Jews Poisoned Mohammed, they killed Arafat.” Then followed an announcement by Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath: Arafat’s brain is functioning only partially. All his organs but for his heart and lungs have failed.
Sheikh Tamimi - almost stopped Arafat funeral
These events capped a day which saw another twist in the drawn-out cliffhanger of Yasser Arafat’s demise which started 13 days ago. The senior Palestinian Muslim cleric Sheikh Taissir Tamimi who was dispatched to the Percy hospital in Paris to perform the last rites, took one look at Arafat in his hospital bed, and came out to tell the world media that he was alive. Shutting down life support system to which the Palestinian leader had been connected for 12 days is absolutely forbidden by Islam, he declared, and promised to stay by his side and pray for his recovery.
Adding to the disarray, Palestinian Paris envoy Leila Shahid announced Arafat was in the final stage of his life. As they spoke, bulldozers in Ramallah began digging a grave; Palestinian leaders cobbled together a holding framework composed of a troika to bridge the transition from Arafat’s one-man authoritarian style of government to an uncertain future. The Palestinian Authority also sent out invitations for the Friday, November 12 funeral, starting with a state ceremony for Arab dignitaries in Cairo and ending with the interment at Arafat’s old offices in Ramallah where ground was being cleared for a grand mausoleum. Guests were already reported setting out for the funeral, including personages invited by Arafat’s widow-to-be Suha.
An Israeli special cabinet session approved the Palestinian request to lay their leader to rest in Ramallah on Friday. They were told Gaza would have been preferable and they would be responsible for security at the funeral. Israeli forces would block access to the town from other parts of the West Bank. The cabinet also barred the passage of masses of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to Ramallah across Israeli territory. Israeli security forces maintained the mass movement would pose an uncontrollable security threat; it would moreover provide cover for the restoration of terrorist networks in areas adjoining Israel, which Israeli military and security forces have been at pains to break up in recent years. Israel forces are bracing for trouble from inflamed mobs before, during and after the funeral.
The Egyptians, too, were wary about permitting a mass-attendance ceremony to see Arafat off at Arab League headquarters in the center of Cairo. An Egyptian plane is standing by in Paris to collect the coffin but they may restrict the occasion to a modest sendoff at Cairo airport before the bier is flown out to Ramallah.
All the arrangements went forward Wednesday at a brisk pace - funeral invitations, procession route, burial ceremony, tomb, new leadership. The only thing missing as the tense hours ticked by in Ramallah was the death announcement and a body. The suspense proved too much for the students of neighboring Bir Zeit University. They formed into ragged lines and marched to the burial site shouting support for Arafat, without being exactly sure what or whom they were protesting or backing.
Until Tuesday, Mrs. Arafat was the obstacle to her husband’s demise. Then, two senior Palestinian officials, Ahmed Qureia and Mahmoud Abbas, negotiated an outrageously exorbitant settlement for her future in return for her permission to disconnect the machines. Wednesday, the white-turbaned Palestinian sheikh turned the wheel back to the starting point. The uncertainties surrounding the life/death/funeral of Yasser Arafat also infused the leadership deliberations in Ramallah on Wednesday where a decision was taken to provisionally split Arafat’s powers three ways: Legislature Speaker Fathi Rouh was designated acting chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Ala stayed on as prime minister and Abu Mazen, as senior executive officer of the PLO. They promise an election in 60 days. But their opponents and the radicalized Palestinian people are unlikely to grant them this grace period. (Article)
Arafat's Body Arrives in Cairo’s Galaa Club – November 11, 2004
Cairo, Egypt — Yasser Arafat's (search) body arrived in a casket in Cairo, Egypt, late Thursday, where a funeral service attended by foreign dignitaries will be held for him Friday morning. Arafat's body will then be flown by helicopter to his Ramallah compound, called the Muqata, for services and burial in a mausoleum later in the day. The Israeli military said it would restrict access to the burial, allowing only Palestinians with permits to attend, but would allow mourners to hold processions in towns and refugee camps.
Arafat's coffin, flown from a Paris military base, arrived in Cairo late Thursday. Authorities mounted a maximum security operation around the airport, increasing police guards and stationing observers on tall buildings. A military honor guard carried Arafat's coffin, walking in formation from the plane to a hearse. Suzanne Mubarak, wife of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, hugged Arafat's widow, Suha, after she alighted. Egypt's foreign minister was also there.
Arafat's coffin was to be taken to the nearby Galaa Club, a compound that includes a hospital, mosque and social club for military officers. It was to be held overnight in the hospital and was to go to a mosque at the club on Friday morning for the funeral. The service originally was planned for a mosque on the grounds of Cairo's international airport, but was switched to the military club for logistical reasons. Egypt stepped in to host the service for Arafat, who died early Thursday, because it would be politically difficult for Arab leaders to travel to the Israeli-controlled Palestinian territories for a ceremony.
Security forces also were clustered under downtown overpasses near the square, and a large photograph of Mubarak beneath one bridge — once vandalized when a demonstration got out of hand — had been taken down. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo warned Americans to avoid areas where spontaneous protests might occur, including downtown Tahrir Square. The club where the funeral will be held takes its name from the British military withdrawal from Egypt in 1953 — "galaa" is the Arabic word for evacuation — and it is located in the district of Heliopolis, where Mubarak lives.
At the funeral, special prayers for the dead will be led by Egypt's top Muslim cleric, the Grand Sheik of Al-Azhar Mohammed Sayed Tantawi. "I would like to draw your attention to something that is very important: It's an official military funeral and not open to the public," Col. Ahmed Assem of the Interior Ministry told viewers of Egypt's state-run television. After the funeral, Arafat's coffin will be taken to the Almaza military base near the club and then flown to Ramallah in the West Bank, Gen. Abdel Fattah Badran said. Arafat will be buried there before sunset Friday. The short drive from the club to the base is likely to be the public's only opportunity to see Arafat's coffin pass. Security officials said Arafat's body would be borne by a horse-drawn carriage for some of the way.
If Arafat's body were to be brought into the center of Cairo, it might draw the biggest funeral crowd since the death of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1970.
That would involve a security risk, and also a prestige risk that few Arab leaders are willing to take, said Walid Kazziha, a politics professor at the American University in Cairo. "Other Arab leaders, would they like to see Arafat commanding this much support, even in death?" Kazziha asked.
The heads of state expected to attend include those of Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Indonesia and Lebanon. Numerous foreign ministers, including Jack Straw of Britain, Michel Barnier of France and Joschka Fischer of Germany, have said they will attend, as has European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
Assistant Secretary of State William Burns will represent the United States. The Israeli Embassy in Cairo said it would not be represented. (Article in Full)
Burial of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah – November 12, 2004
Jerusalem Post - …In an emotionally charged burial ceremony which verged on chaos, the Palestinian people bid farewell to their leader as he was buried in the Mukata compound in Ramallah. His flag-draped coffin was carried through the compound Friday amid a chaotic sea of Palestinians who swarmed his helicopter as police struggled to hold them back by firing into the air. The Egyptian helicopter carrying Arafat's body landed shortly after 2:00 p.m. at his Ramallah headquarters, where an estimated 50,000 people gathered to greet their deceased leader's coffin. Although Arafat did not have absolute support from the Palestinians during his lifetime, all criticisms were laid aside as the Palestinians paid ardent and tearful tribute to their deceased leader, raising him near legendary status.
Mourners jumped on top of the casket waving their arms, roaring out slogans in support of Arafat. Others scrambled to touch the coffin after a 25-minute standoff with crowds that kept it from being unloaded from the helicopter. In the near-chaos that broke out during the ceremony, nine Palestinians were wounded, PA Minister for Negotiations Saeb Erekat told CNN. Arafat's coffin was taken into a closed room within the marble-and-stone mausoleum which was erected Thursday, where a short service was held in accordance with Muslim tradition, thus bringing to an end his official burial ceremony.
Clerics read Kuranic verses while the Palestinian leader's body was lowered into a marble-and-stone grave. Palestinians said that dirt from the Aksa mosque in Jerusalem was collected on Friday to be put symbolically place atop Arafat's casket, in recognition of a wish Arafat had expressed during his life to be buried at the Temple Mount. A black-and-white checkered keffiyeh was planted on a stick in the soil of the grave, arranged in the way Arafat habitually wore his traditional headdress.
Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi said the pandemonium was a measure of Palestinians' love for their leader. "President Arafat would have wanted it this way, with exhilaration, feelings of loyalty, pain, sadness and love all at once," she said. "The people reclaimed him. They wanted to say goodbye without distance." Erekat, however, told CNN that Arafat may have preferred a quieter, more stately burial. Palestinian police flashed victory signs chanting "With our blood and our soul we will redeem you Yasser Arafat!"
Rabbi Moshe Hirsh the Minister for Jewish affairs in the Palestinian National Authority and an impressive contingent of Orthodox Jewish Rabbis, attended a graveside memorial service for President Yasser Arafat, in his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah Sunday Nov. 14, 2004, a few days after his passing to show their respect and loyalty to the leader of the Palestinian people. Their intention was to simultaneously show their acceptance of Palestinian rule over the entire Holy Land, which is the acceptance of the G-dly decreed exile of the Jewish people.
After an official and well-planned ceremony in Cairo earlier Friday, the Ramallah funeral was an unrestrained demonstration of the Palestinian people's strong feelings towards their long-time leader. Thousands of Palestinians, many of them youths, surged into the Mukata earlier Friday, some of them climbing on ladders and entering the site through its roof, in an attempt to take part in the burial ceremony of Yasser Arafat. The demonstrators managed to open at least one of the Mukata gates, and were seen attempting to climb the compound's walls, chanting: "Arafat is our only leader." There was concern that the thousands of people climbing onto the Mukata compound would cause the building to collapse. The compound has undergone heavy damage in the last three years, with IDF forces breaking into it several times and destroying parts of the structure to get at Palestinian fugitives hiding inside…
In Gaza thousands assembled Friday for a symbolic funeral ceremony for the Arafat, since Gaza residents were not permitted to leave the strip to attend the burial in Ramallah. Senior members of Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad participated in the service. Masked men fired into the air during the ceremony. (Read Article in Full)
Mourners file past Arafat's tomb – November 13, 2004
Ramallah, West Bank (Washington Times-UPI) -- Mourners filed past Yasser Arafat's tomb in Ramallah Saturday as Palestinian soldiers kept watch over what had been a chaotic scene just hours before. A steady and quiet stream of mourners walked slowly past the memorial of the only leader the grieving Palestinians have ever known, CNN reported. On Friday tens of thousands of frenzied Palestinians mobbed the Egyptian military helicopter that landed in Ramallah with Arafat's body. So intense was the crowd that the helicopter doors could not be opened to remove the coffin. CNN said. Eventually, soldiers got the coffin out of the aircraft and drove it on top of an SUV to its resting place. Plans for a ceremony and to have Arafat's body lie in state for several hours were cancelled due to the chaos and injuries. More than 100 mourners were injured in the crush of people around the helicopter, as well as widespread traditional firing of automatic weapons by militias, soldiers and private citizens throughout the crowd. (News Brief)
Funeral to draw world leaders, List
of dignitaries scheduled to attend ceremony for Arafat – November 11, 2004
WorldNetDaily.com - The following world leaders and dignitaries are slated to attend the military funeral held tomorrow for the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat:
AFGHANISTAN - Vice President Hedayat Amin Arsala
ARAB LEAGUE - Secretary-General Amr Moussa
AUSTRIA - Vice Chancellor Hubert Gorbach
BANGLADESH - President Iajuddin Ahmed
BELGIUM - Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, Development and Foreign Aid Minister Armand De Decker
BRAZIL - Cabinet Chief Jose Dirceu
BULGARIA - Foreign Minister Solomon Passy
CANADA - Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew
CHINA - Vice Premier Hui Liangyu
CYPRUS - Foreign Minister George Iakovou, Presidential envoy Vassos Lyssarides
DENMARK - Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller
EGYPT - President Hosni Mubarak
EUROPEAN COMMISSION - Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner-designate Louis Michel
EUROPEAN UNION - Foreign policy chief Javier Solana
FINLAND - Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja
FRANCE - Foreign Minister Michel Barnier
GERMANY - Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer
GREECE - Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis
INDONESIA - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
IRAN - Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi
IRELAND - Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern
JORDAN - King Abdullah II
LEBANON - President General Emile Lahoud, Prime Minister Omar Karami, Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud
LUXEMBOURG - Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Jean Asselborn
NETHERLANDS - Foreign Minister Bernard Bot
NORWAY - Foreign Minister Jan Petersen
PAKISTAN - Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz
PORTUGAL - Foreign Minister Antonio Monteiro
ROMANIA - Presidential adviser Simona Miculescu
RUSSIA - State Duma Chairman Boris Gryzlov, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov
SLOVAKIA - Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan
SLOVENIA - Foreign Minister Ivo Vajgl
SOUTH AFRICA - President Thabo Mbeki
SOUTH KOREA - Former Foreign Minister Yoon Young-Kwan
SPAIN - Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos
SWEDEN - Prime Minister Goran Persson
SWITZERLAND - Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey
TUNISIA - President Zine el-Abdine Ben Ali
TURKEY - Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Speaker of the Federal National Council Mohammed Saeed al Kindi, Minister of Supreme Council Affairs Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan al-Qassimi
UNITED KINGDOM - Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
UNITED STATES - Assistant Secretary of State Williams Burns
YEMEN - President Ali Abdullah Sale
International Response to the Death of Yasser Arafat
Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors - an international Christian ministry to the Persecuted Church, says Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died today in Paris, was "someone who badly needed Jesus, like so many others.
Santa Ana, Ca (ANS) – “I had the opportunity to meet with Arafat many times and bring the Gospel to him and tell him of Jesus' love….just like I have done for others in many countries for almost 50 years. The Bible says to pray for those in high places…they have such a huge responsibility. I had been praying for him for many years that he might be saved." Brother Andrew, in a recent interview with ASSIST Ministries, says Arafat was always open to accepting Arabic Bibles and copies of Andrew's bestselling autobiography God's Smuggler. "I had visited him many times and given him an Arabic Bible and an Arabic copy of God's Smuggler. It was one of Arafat's favorite books, incidentally. He always asked for more copies. He would tell me, 'Bring a dozen more, Andrew. I want all my officers to read God's Smuggler;' so he was one of the book's distributors."
Brother Andrew and Yasser Arafat talking
about the Bible
When asked how he first was introduced to Arafat, Brother Andrew replied, "That happened in the Hague in my own country (The Netherlands) when an old gentleman, the former headmaster of the Christian school in Nazareth, was dying. He couldn't find anyone to visit him or to bury him. There was a Baptist pastor running the Baptist church in the Hague and he was asked to come and visit the sick man. He contacted me to go with him, so we went there. It was a very profitable visit. We prayed with him and read scriptures and even had a communion service with the old man. There was a gentleman there who was so helpful. I asked him who he was and he told me that he was Arafat's right-hand man. So I said to him, 'Could you get in touch with your boss?' He said, 'He's only a phone call away.' So I said, 'Make that call.' And a few days later, I was with Arafat and I have been to see him many times in Algeria, in Tunisia and in Gaza."
Brother Andrew adds: "I never go alone on these trips to the Middle East, but I bring people (Christians) with me. I show them that they can approach Muslims; you can speak to fundamentalists and you can give them the Scriptures. We got permission from Arafat to open a Bible shop in Gaza and hundreds of Muslim fundamentalists, especially those from Hamas, because they know me, come to the shop and get Scriptures and JESUS videos. Thousands have now read or seen the Gospel because of this." Brother Andrew writes about his ministry in the Middle East in his new book Light Force: A Stirring Account of the Church Caught in the Middle East Crossfire. The message of the book, written with Al Janssen, is that there is a radical Christian approach to the stalemate of the Middle East conflict - the Gospel of love. The book is available to order by going to the Open Doors USA web site at www.odusa.org or calling 888-5-BIBLE-5 (524-2535). (Insightful News Brief)
Former US President Jimmy Carter calls Arafat a "powerful human symbol" – November 11, 2004
MIAMI (AFP) - Former US President Jimmy Carter called Yasser Arafat "a powerful human symbol and forceful advocate" who united Palestinians in their pursuit of a homeland.
"Yasser Arafat's death marks the end of an era and will no doubt be painfully felt by Palestinian s throughout the Middle East and elsewhere in the world," Carter said. He was the father of the modern Palestinian nationalist movement. A powerful human symbol and forceful advocate, Palestinians united behind him in their pursuit of a homeland," he said in a statement distributed by his Atlanta, Georgia-based Carter Center.
He said that while Arafat provided "indispensable leadership to a revolutionary movement" and played a key role in forging a peace agreement with Israel in 1993, he was excluded from negotiations in recent years. "My hope is that an emerging Palestinian leadership can benefit from Arafat's experiences, be welcomed to the peace process by (Israeli) Prime Minister (Ariel) Sharon and (US) President (George W.) Bush, and be successful in helping to forge a Palestinian state living in harmony with their Israeli neighbors," Carter said. Both Carter and Arafat are Nobel peace prize laureates. Arafat, who died at a Paris hospital early Thursday, was to be buried at his West Bank headquarters after a military funeral ceremony in Cairo Friday. Carter "will not be attending the funeral," said Jon Moor, a Carter Center spokesman. (Entire Article)
Pope, Vatican mourns Arafat - November 11, 2004
Vatican, Nov. 11 (CWNews.com) - Responding to the news of Yasser Arafat's death, the Vatican issued statements of condolence to the Palestinian people, and appreciation for Arafat's record of leadership. In a telegram to Rawhi Fattuh, the president of the Palestinian legislative council, Pope John Paul II mentioned his "sadness at the passing" of Arafat, and was "entrusting his soul into the hands of the almighty and merciful God." The Pope voiced his hope that "the star of harmony will soon shine on the Holy Land," with Israel and Palestinian living peacefully "as two independent and sovereign states."… Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the director of the Vatican press office, responded immediately, saying: "The Holy See joins in the pain of the Palestinian people," characterizing him as "a leader of great charisma who loved his people and sought to lead them toward national independence."
Arafat met with Pope John Paul II on 10 separate occasions, including 8 visits to the Vatican. Their first meeting was in September 1982; the most recent was in October 2001. During one such encounter, in February 1999, Arafar issued an invitation for the Pope to visit Bethlehem during the Jubilee Year; the Pontiff accepted that invitation, and stopped at Bethlehem during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in March 2000… (Read Entire Article)
U.S. Reds salute Arafat
– November 22, 2004 - Arab leader was trained in old Soviet Union
Farah’s G2 Bulletin – (WorldNetDaily.com) - In a tribute that puzzled some, last week the Communist Party USA sent Yasser Arafat off to the next world with its highest tribute. On Nov. 16, the National Board of the Communist Party issued the kind of proclamation usually reserved for a high-ranking Communist Party official. "The Communist Party USA expresses its deep sorrow on the death of Yasser Arafat, the decades-long leader and larger-than-life symbol of the Palestinian people's quest for justice, human rights, self-determination and statehood," the party's official obituary said. "From his earliest days as a student activist, to his later roles as chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and president of the Palestinian Authority, Arafat devoted his entire life to the cause of his people's freedom, to an end to the cruel U.S.-backed Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands seized in the 1967 war, and to the cause of national liberation and peace." It continued: "Despite incessant efforts by the Israeli government to vilify and discredit him, despite all the slanders and snubs (including by President George W. Bush, who shunned the Palestinian leader in his last years), Arafat remained until the very end a dignified symbol of resistance to colonial occupation and aggression, and a steadfast champion of freedom and justice. Whether he was presenting the case for the human and national rights of the Palestinian people before the United Nations, or building the PLO, or meeting with leaders of the Israeli and U.S. peace movements – which he frequently did – Arafat was untiring in his search for a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
But the kind words toward Arafat from the U.S. Communists should not be so surprising. In fact, Arafat, as well as at least one of his successors, was trained in the Soviet Union and received much of his early support from Moscow. "He rejected terrorism as a path to liberation, and harshly condemned the harming of innocents. He and the PLO officially recognized Israel’s right to exist within secure borders," the party said in the statement. "At the same time, Arafat was unyielding in his support for the internationally recognized right of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli occupation, and he refused to give up East Jerusalem or to renounce the right of Palestinian refugees to return. For that he was condemned and reviled by the U.S. and Israeli governments." …
What would prompt such a strong eulogy from the Communists? Wasn't Arafat, after all, an independent nationalist? Arafat not only received political and military training in the Soviet Union, he also learned Marxist principles and the Hegelian dialectic. Arafat received training in these principles not only in the old Soviet Union, but from his friends in Vietnam, his friends in China, his friends in the Stalinist regime of Romania under Nicolae Ceausescu and others, according to G2 Bulletin. "He may not have been a card-carrying Marxist, but he learned the lessons that made the discredited ideology a force in the world," the newsletter explains. Interestingly, one of Arafat's political heirs, Mahmoud Abbas, also received his training in the Soviet Union. (Read in Full)
World Council of
Churches Praises Late Arafat in Controversial Statement – November 11, 2004
ASSIST News Service - JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (ANS) -- In a move expected to raise controversy, the World Council of Churches (WCC) expressed its condolences Thursday, November 11, to the Palestinians following the death of Yasser Arafat at age 75, earlier in the day.
Although Israeli government
officials and some of their Christian supporters in Jerusalem criticized Arafat
for his alleged links to terrorist networks, a WCC official described him as
someone who should be honored for upholding the place of both Christians and
Muslims in Palestinian society, as "participants in its affairs and as
shapers of its future".
In a letter sent to the Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei', the director of WCC's International Affairs Commission, Peter Weiderud, said his Geneva based organization believes "President Arafat will be remembered for bringing the Palestinian people together and for his unique and tenacious contribution to the cause of establishing their national home." The official stressed the WCC, the "largest inter-church body in the world" will "ask God's comfort for the members of his family in this time of deep grief." Weiderud said "the WCC Churches of the Holy Land" honor Arafat's "commitment to their place in the Palestinian society" and he lashed out to Israel's "occupation" of Palestinian territories."His path has now ended, amid the rocks and thorns of occupation, at a distance from the goal he sought. As he is laid to rest the world will see - from the location of his final resting place - how far the Palestinian people must still travel together,” he added in the letter seen by BosNewsLife.
Arafat "came to the recognition that true justice embraces peace, security and hope for both Palestinians and Israelis," he added. Weiderud's words on behalf of an organization representing hundreds of churches in over 120 countries, were not supported by everyone in Jerusalem. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), a Christian organization supporting Israel's right to exist, has expressed concern about the role Arafat's Fatah faction and other militant groups related to the Palestinian Authority (PA) played in suicide attacks. An estimated one thousand Israelis have been killed in suicide bombings and related violence.
(Pictured: Bethlehem"s Church of the Nativity was scene of standoff in 2002. Source: CNN).
In statements the ICEJ has in recent years also warned churches not to be "deceived into thinking Arafat and the Muslim-dominated PA will be a principled and trustworthy guardian of Jewish or Christian shrines and places of worship in the Holy Land. Their record so far in Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus is deplorable."… (Read Entire Article)
The New Palestinian Leadership
Pollard: Israel groomed
jailed terrorist, Marwan Barghouti to head PA – November 20, 2004 - 'They
want to trade me for a murderer,' says Israeli spy of Sharon
WorldNetDaily.com - Israel has been grooming convicted killer Marwan Barghouti to become the next Palestinian Authority leader, holding a series of clandestine meetings with him, incarcerated Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who media reports claim may be part of a prisoner exchange involving Barghouti, told WorldNetDaily.
Israeli officials said last week they may release several jailed Palestinians as a "goodwill gesture" toward the future PA leadership. There have been a few reports that Barghouti, who was recently sentenced in Israel to five life terms for planning gun ambushes and a suicide bombing, may be considered for release, but Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is said to have rejected the idea. Reports list Barghouti as the widely favored candidate for PA president.
Even with Jerusalem officially dismissing the possibility of releasing Barghouti, Israeli Interior Minister Avraham Poraz speculated last week, "We are looking for a partner for the Gaza withdrawal. It seems that this will have to include releasing prisoners ... [perhaps even] including Barghouti." Israel's Army Radio also quoted unnamed Israeli officials speculating Barghouti could be released. Barghouti is serving multiple life terms for his role in the killings of four Israelis and a Greek monk. Israeli security sources also tell WorldNetDaily Barghouti was one of the architects of the current intifada, the terrorist war waged on Israel after Arafat, at Camp David in 2000, turned down an offer of a Palestinian State in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
Pollard's name has been publicly mentioned as a possible "American gesture" in a three-way prisoner exchange that would release Barghouti, allowing him to run in PA elections, and could also involve Egypt releasing imprisoned Israeli textile engineer Azzam Azzam. But in an explosive development, Pollard, who today begins his 20th year of incarceration at the U.S. federal prison in Butner, N.C., for spying for Israel, has composed a speech to be delivered on his behalf in Jerusalem at a demonstration rally planned for later today. It states Israel has held clandestine meetings with Barghouti throughout the Palestinian leader's imprisonment, and has been grooming Barghouti as a candidate to succeed the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat…
"It is an open secret in Israel that top officials have been secretly meeting with Barghouti throughout his incarceration. He is taken out of his prison cell and brought to clandestine locations for these meetings, to enlist his help in promoting various initiatives with the Palestinians, such as cease fires. These secret sessions are part of the 'grooming' process," says Pollard. Pollard says sources told his contacts that Israel, not the PA or Barghouti's military Tanzim, leaked the story last week about Pollard and the talks aimed at putting together the three-way swap for Barghouti's release. "Officially, Israel reviles Barghouti and dismisses any possibility of releasing him. Unofficially, Sharon’s Government and his closest people believe Barghouti is someone that they can work with, someone who can control the Palestinian street. They see him as someone who can unite the warring factions among the Palestinian militias and hold them in check." Pollard says sources told him Israel has been supplying positive material to the media about Barghouti. "More than just whitewashing Barghouti, Israel is seeking to create the impression that there is such popular support amongst the Palestinian people for Barghouti that it cannot be resisted or denied. This is an attempt to create an atmosphere where the U.S. feels it must step in and direct events. The Americans can then 'force' Israel to release Barghouti, and Israel can do so with 'clean hands,'" says Pollard…
Pollard says he is "completely opposed" to the possibility of being released from prison in a deal that would also release Barghouti, whom he refers to as "a mass murderer of Jews." "I have always been opposed to gaining my freedom in exchange for the release of murderers and terrorists. My position has not changed. I deserve to be released because my sentence is unjust and because the U.S. has promised my release on more than one occasion, including a commitment by the president of the United States at the Wye Summit in 1998." …
Barghouti has been arrested several times, including a four-year stint that began in 1978 for planning terror attacks against Israelis. He was arrested again in 1985 before being deported to Jordan in 1987, where Israel says he played a key role in starting the first Palestinian intifada. Barghouti was among hundreds of Palestinian deportees allowed to return to the West Bank upon the signature of the Palestinian-Israeli interim Oslo peace accords in 1993. But Israel says he continued to plot several Palestinian attacks, and was instrumental in the founding and supporting of Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that carried out several suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.
In the speech, Pollard quotes a book recently released by former U.S. envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross, who played a key role in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in which Pollard's release was reportedly pledged, as evidence of "the way the U.S. has made me into a high-priced political pawn." In the book, "The Missing Peace," Ross writes that at the 1998 Wye River Summit President Clinton asked him if freeing Pollard would be important to Israel. "Yes," Ross writes he replied, "because he is considered a soldier for Israel and there is an ethos in Israel that you never leave a soldier behind in the field." Ross added: "I also said I was in favor of [Pollard's] release, believing that he had received a harsher sentence than others who had committed comparable crimes. I preferred not tying his release to any agreement ..." But, Pollard says, "no sooner does Ross acknowledge the injustice of my sentence and that I deserve to be freed unconditionally, than he advises the president not to free me. Why? Because of my great value as a political asset and a bargaining chip."
Ross writes he cautioned the president against releasing Pollard until greater concessions from Israel could be secured during final status talks. "[Pollard's release] would be a huge payoff [for Israel]; you don't have many like it in your pocket ... You will need it later, don't use it now," writes Ross. "By understanding Ross’ attitude towards me as an asset, not a person," says Pollard, "it becomes possible for the first time to understand Prime Minister Sharon's indifference towards me ... He too sees me as a political asset, and not as a human being." "Sharon is apparently reserving me for a time that my release will be the fig leaf for some very, very dastardly initiative. Perhaps something as dastardly as enabling another mass murderer of Jews to become president of the PA, just as Israel once did for Yasser Arafat," says Pollard. Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, was convicted in 1985 of one count of passing classified information to an ally, Israel, and sentenced to life imprisonment in spite of a plea agreement that was to spare Pollard a life sentence. Pollard's sentence is considered by many to be disproportionate to the crime for which he was convicted – he is the only person in the history of the United States to receive a life sentence for spying for an ally. The median sentence for this particular offense is two to four years. (Powerful Article to Remember in the Upcoming Palestinian Political Future)
Marwan Barghouti - Throwing down the gauntlet - December 1, 2004
Marwan Barghouti's surprise announcement that he plans to
run for chairman of the Palestinian Authority sent shock waves throughout the
PA leadership. Barghouti's entry into the race, mere hours before the
candidate lists closed, is a severe blow to the status of Fatah's official
candidate, Mahmoud Abbas. Just days ago, Barghouti had promised to support
Abbas and not run against him - but even then, his supporters continued
gathering the thousands of signatures needed to register an independent
Not all of Barghouti's supporters backed this turnabout. PA Cabinet Minister Kadoura Fares, one of Barghouti's closest associates, refused to take phone calls, but was apparently deeply upset by the reversal. Another associate, Palestinian legislator Hatem Abdel Kader, said that he would try to persuade Barghouti to withdraw his candidacy so as not to undermine Abbas and the Fatah movement to which Barghouti also belongs. But others, such as Fatah activist Ziad Abu Ayin, said that Barghouti had no choice but to run after thousands of people begged him to do so. One widespread explanation among the PA leadership was that Barghouti's attorney had urged him to run as a means of pressuring Israel to release him from prison. But whatever the reason, Barghouti's candidacy turns him into a key player in the Palestinian leadership. Moreover, his statement that he plans to follow Yasser Arafat's path implies criticism of Abbas. His candidacy is thus the first serious challenge to Abbas' leadership. (Article)
Qureia urges U.S. to stick to 2005 date for Palestinian statehood – November 20, 2004
Haaretz Daily - Qureia said that the Palestinians want a state within 13 months and assurances from U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in meetings next week that the timetable in the so-called "road map" peace plan will be honored. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia urged the United States on Friday to stick to its original 2005 deadline for Palestinian statehood, arguing that the four-year time frame suggested by United States President George W. Bush will give Israel time to grab more land in the disputed West Bank. "We'll tell him that the four years time that was mentioned by President Bush to establish a Palestinian state will encourage the Israeli government to continue stealing our lands to build settlements and the wall," he told a Palestinian journalist. "It is very dangerous." The Palestinian Authority on Friday rejected Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's new and seemingly softer terms for restarting peace talks, saying he should drop all conditions for dialogue.
PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas,
seen praying at a mosque inside the Muqata in Ramallah on Friday, says
incitement is an issue both sides should discuss in negotiations. (AP)
Sharon on Thursday presented his "test for exposing the true face of the Palestinian leadership" - an end to incitement against Israel and a change in the PA's education system. In contrast, he does not expect the new leadership to immediately dismantle terrorist organizations - something he has previously made an absolute condition for progress, he said at a meeting with Likud activists.
"(The Israelis) should begin by abandoning their policy of setting conditions and stop their incitement (against the Palestinians)," Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat told Reuters in response. Asked about Sharon's remarks on incitement, Palestine Liberation Organization leader Mahmoud Abbas countered that Israel also had to put its own house in order. "Maybe we have issues of this kind, but they (the Israelis) have them to a greater extent," Abbas told reporters. He suggested the two sides discuss the matter should negotiations resume.
Sharon's remarks came on a day when Bush, attending the inauguration of former president Bill Clinton's presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas, told Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would top his new administration's agenda. Israel is interested in renewing security coordination with a new Palestinian leadership, Shalom told Israel Radio on Friday morning, but he said that Israel would keep its distance until a new Palestinian leadership has emerged. Shalom said the coordination would focus in particular on implementation of the disengagement plan…
"How will the Palestinian leadership be tested? We must not waive our demands on collecting weapons and dismantling terrorist organizations, but it's clear that this is a more complicated process," he said. "In contrast, there are two demands that are in the new leadership's control, which they must implement immediately. The true face of the new leadership will be clarified and tested in light of its implementation, or lack thereof, of these two issues, which are easy to implement and can be dealt with immediately: ending the constant, poisonous incitement and propaganda on Palestinian television and media, and changing the direction of the Palestinian educational system ending the incitement against and demonization of Israel, Israelis and Jews."
The latter would involve replacing textbooks and forbidding classes, performances or summer camps that incite against Israel, he said. "The venomous propaganda is the root and basis of the expanding phenomenon of terror and suicide bombers," he continued. "Palestinian education and propaganda are more dangerous to Israel than Palestinian weapons…"
Sharon also lashed out at his critics from both left and right, as well as at gloomy defense establishment forecasts. "The pessimists seize every rumor, every word, every hint," he said. "Everything is black, everything is grave, everyone is against us. Perhaps we should stop the disengagement plan, perhaps we'll achieve a better solution through negotiations with the Palestinians? The left wants larger and more rapid concessions. The extreme right, with a deceptive wink, simply wants to halt the exit from Gaza." "Rumor begets rumor," he continued. "The Palestinians will concede; the Europeans are preparing sanctions; the Iranians, with the Syrians and Hezbollah, will bomb from the north; Hamas will control Gaza to the southwest. Submarines to the west, drones up above, tunnels underneath ... I want to yell 'Quiet!' Calm down. Let everyone do his own job." He added that to give up the disengagement, and therefore his agreement with Bush, would be "irresponsible…" (Entire Article)
Rouhi Fattouh – To be PA (Temporary) Chairman – November 11, 2004
Jerusalem Post - Through a quirk in its basic laws, Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Rouhi Fattouh, a hard-working Fatah apparatchik whose best qualification for his new job is his lack of enemies, prepared to take over the chairmanship (president) of the Palestinian Authority from a dying Yasser Arafat Wednesday night. Arafat has never designated a successor and few thought it possible that the leader of the Palestinian national struggle for the past 40 years would die without designating one.
The Palestinian leadership's decision to adhere to the PA's basic law, which stipulates that the PLC Speaker succeed Arafat in lieu of an appointed successor, paved the way for Fattouh's ascendancy to a position which in fact grants him little authority and virtually no power. Legally, Fattouh, who was elected PLC Speaker barely eight months ago, is to head a caretaker government until presidential elections can be held 60 days after Arafat's death.
Sa'id Zeidani, a professor of political science
at Al-Kuds University in Jerusalem, warned that "nobody believes that
Fattouh is up to the job. This is the main problem the new government will have
to deal with." But that's just the way Arafat's likely successors,
Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qurei want it, said Hafiz Barghouti, editor-in-chief of
Al-Hayat al-Jadida. "Fattouh has never actually made it clear that he has
any aspirations for power and seems to have no intention of being a
leader," Barghouti added.
"He will do nothing to anger Abu Mazen [Abbas] and Abu Ala [Qurei]. He is a Fatah man and knows his place," said a senior PA official. Fattouh, say Palestinian politicians, will be little more than a figurehead. While Qurei will continue to control the various PA military and intelligence units, Abbas, the de-facto head of the PLO, continues to hold the reins of the Palestinians' chief political organization.
According to the PLO Covenant, only it, and not
the PA, has jurisdiction to engage in diplomatic negotiations. Fattouh could
not be reached for comment Wednesday evening. He was very much Arafat's man,
according to Bassem Barhoum, director of the media department of the PLC.
Arafat appointed Fattouh to the Revolutionary Council in the mid-1980s and had
always counted him as a loyalist, he said. "Fattouh is a man who knows his
place and above all knows the Fatah rules," he added.
Barhoum had first met Fattouh when he was a young activist in Lebanon's Fatah Student Union and Fattouh was Fatah's union coordinator. It was also Arafat who supported Fattouh's election as Speaker in March 2004. Since his appointment, Fattouh had some significant successes, notably being the first PLC Speaker to travel to Damascus on a state visit. (Damascus had previously refused to recognize any element of the Palestinian government connected to the Oslo Accords).
Born in Gaza City in 1949, Fattouh grew up in Rafah. In the 1960s, he attended Damascus University, where he studied English literature. In the late 1960s, he joined Fatah and climbed its ranks in Lebanon and Syria. By the mid-1970s, he was appointed coordinator of Fatah's unions. The Syrian government arrested him in the late 1970s for his activism and he languished in a Syrian jail for almost a year. Upon his release, he returned to Fatah, his lifelong home. In the mid-1980s he was appointed to the Fatah Revolutionary Council, the organization's second-highest body. After he moved back to Gaza in 1994, he moved up the ranks of Fatah and was elected to the PLC in 1996.
Many in Ramallah consider Fattouh perhaps the perfect caretaker. "He is just between the Fatah Old Guard and its New Guard and can balance between both," said Barhoum. The Old Guard consists of organization stalwarts, like Abbas and Qurei, while the New Guard consists or more ambitious reform-minded politicians in their 30s and 40s. "He is a man in the political middle; he has no real enemies because he is like vanilla, he has no real strong flavor," said one senior PA official. Over the past four years, Fattouh has served as one of the mediators between the PA and Islamic Jihad and Hamas, according to Gaza-based analyst Hisham Abu Shanab. More notably, he was apparently the key broker in the recent reconciliation between Muhammad Dahlan and Arafat.
Besides playing a key role as mediator, Fattouh made a name for himself through his diligence. Abu Shanab recalled that "he was so active in Fatah that he was known to sleep in the Fatah offices in Gaza City." Yet, Fattouh is not known for his polish. Barghouti categorized him as a "simple man, a bit naive, the kind of man who does not mind mingling with the people." Polished or not, if Fattouh can steer the PA toward a government which can "fit in a single photographer's frame, I will consider him successful," said Barghouti, referring to the giant and often ungainly governments Arafat constructed through political favors. Asked whether Fattouh is capable of pulling a political rabbit from his hat and holding on to the reins of government, the senior PA official answered, "In the Third World you never know." (Article)
Mahmoud Abbas Elected Chairman of PLO – November 11, 2004
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Mahmoud Abbas, a former prime minister and a veteran peace negotiator, was elected chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization on Thursday within hours of Yasser Arafat's death, putting him on a track to become the next overall leader of the Palestinians.
The 69-year-old Abbas, better known as Abu Mazen and who long worked in Arafat's shadow as the PLO's No. 2 official, takes the most powerful of the three titles Arafat held — president of the Palestinian Authority, leader of the Fatah movement and head of the PLO.
The PLO executive committee vote was unanimous, said Palestinian Cabinet minister Ibrahim Abu Najah. "That means no one will compete with him in the election for president." Palestinian officials moved quickly Thursday to fill the leadership gap left by the death of Arafat, who held the unruly Palestinian political factions together during the four decades of his rule.
Rauhi Fattouh, a virtual unknown, was to be sworn in Thursday as temporary president of the Palestinian Authority, inheriting the title but not the power held by Arafat. Under law, Fattouh will serve as caretaker president until elections are held within 60 days. Ahmed Qureia, the Palestinian prime minister, heads day-to-day government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He is a key figure in what some Palestinians said would be a collective leadership. Marwan Barghouti, a powerful figure in Fatah who has the popularity to inherit Arafat's mantle, is in an Israeli jail, sentenced to multiple life terms after being convicted of sponsoring terrorism.
In moving within hours of Arafat's death to fill the void, Palestinian leaders signaled their determination to ensure a smooth transition and allay concerns that the lack of a single strong leader could touch off factional fighting. "We can be certain transition will be smooth, and the Palestinian people deserve to have free and fair elections," Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat told The Associated Press. Abbas was one of the first top PLO officials to recognize Israel and distanced himself from terror activities. He led Palestinian negotiators in peace talks in the 1990s and has met with Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister.
Abbas has also been a critic of the armed conflict that emerged from the Palestinian uprising that began in September 2000. He said what happened "is a complete destruction of everything we built." Abbas was born in 1935 in the hilltop town of Safed, now in northern Israel. He is married and has two sons, both businessmen. Abbas and his family fled to Syria during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that led to Israel's creation. After helping found Arafat's Fatah party in 1965, Abbas managed finances for the movement and distanced himself from terror activities. In a meeting with Fatah officials last year, Abbas said the outbreak of the uprising in September 2000 was understandable but should not have been allowed to deteriorate into an armed conflict.
Fattouh, 55, grew up in the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza. He left Gaza for studies abroad in the 1960s, joined Fatah in 1968 and returned from exile in 1994, along with Arafat and other Palestinian officials. In the first Palestinian general elections in 1996, he was elected to the parliament on a Fatah slate. In 2003, he was appointed agriculture minister, and a year later was chosen speaker, replacing Qureia who became prime minister. Fattouh is a mid-level Fatah activist, and was chosen as speaker after being offered as a compromise candidate during a power struggle between Arafat and his parliament. Arafat managed to depose the previous speaker, Rafik Natche, who wanted to investigate corruption allegations in the Palestinian leadership, and hand-picked the loyalist Fattouh. (Entire Article)
Pro-Arafat Gunmen to Abbas: Next Time We’ll Shoot to Kill – November 15, 2004
DEBKAfile Special Report - Some 40 gunmen opened automatic fire in the Arafat mourning tent in Gaza City Sunday night, November 14, shaking up the assembled gathering only two days after Yasser Arafat was buried in Ramallah. Bursting into the tent shortly after the arrival of Mahmoud Abbas, the man Fatah had just nominated to run for Palestinian president, they could easily have killed him and gunned down all the mourners packed in the tent. As it turned out he was unhurt. Two security men were killed and four injured.
DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources reports that this was a deliberate ambush. It was set up by the dead leader’s adherents in the Gaza branch of the al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. Their actions were programmed with almost ritual precision to convey certain messages to Arafat’s would-be successor. The key one was: no one can replace Yasser Arafat. Another: we can get close to you any time we choose. Next time, we won’t fire over your head, but shoot to kill. Above all, take care to choose the right associates. Stay away from Mohammed Dahlan and Ahmed Qureia!
Mohammed Dahlan, former Gaza strongman and enemy of the Arafat clan, had organized security for Abu Mazen’s visit to the mourning tent. Already campaigning for election, Abu Mazen had planned some quiet lobbying and base-touching while he was there. The assailants surrounded the two men firing their A-47s in the air to show Abbas the futility of relying on Dahlan and his security arrangements. As a further gesture of contempt, they killed two of Dahlan’s bodyguards – and no one else.
Abu Mazen found himself without protection for the second time in three days. There was nothing between him and a bullet on both occasions. The first time was on Friday, November 12, when he landed in Ramallah aboard one of the Egyptian helicopters carrying Arafat’s coffin from Cairo. Then, the mourning party led by himself and dignitaries come to pay their respects and the coffin itself could not disembark for more than an hour because it was hemmed in by a hysterical Palestinian mob. Abbas understands that the messages the late Arafat’s heavies conveyed to him in Gaza will have registered also in Washington, Cairo and Jerusalem. They will realize that his own Fatah is incapable of looking after the safety of Arafat’s would-be successors. The two-month election campaign could well degenerate from a controlled democratic process to factional warfare. ..
Our Palestinian sources report that, earlier in the day, Dahlan had sought to place the Gaza-based Presidential guard, Force 17, in charge of overall security for the mourners’ tent and the Palestinian dignitaries gathering there that evening. He was snubbed by the chiefs of all the local security, intelligence and terrorist groups, including Hamas, Jihad Islami and the Popular Resistance Committees, the umbrella for Gaza’s al Aqsa Brigades. Each chief insisted on his personal bodyguards accompanying him into the tent, with no coordination among them. Mussa Arafat, for instance, is never seen without his 60-70 bodyguards; Gaza Strip general intelligence chief Mohammed Hindi employs between 40 and 50… Palestinian sources agree that this brazen demonstration of strength and clean escape could not have been carried off without the connivance of most of the faction chiefs present – which bodes ill for Abu Mazen’s chances of gaining Gaza Strip support for his bid for the presidency. He seems to be so unpopular in Gaza that its faction chiefs were willing to chance his not coming out of the episode alive…
To some Palestinian circles, Abu Mazen seems to be moving too fast, considering that he has never had a broad following in the Palestinian street. He is criticized, for example, for occupying Arafat’s seat at the head of the cabinet table on Sunday, only two days into the mourning period. Setting the election date for January 9 is too soon given the weighty tasks ahead of the presidential nominee. He has left himself no more than 55 days to campaign for election and bring off three important feats: to get elected, arrange a temporary unilateral ceasefire declaration by 13 PLO factions as well as Hamas and Jihad Islami, with the help of Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, and prevent Ariel Sharon’s unilateral disengagement plan from taking off. (Read Entire Article)
Boston Globe – Yasser Arafat died at age 75, lying in bed surrounded by familiar faces. He left this world peacefully, unlike the thousands of victims he sent to early graves. In a better world, the PLO chief would have met his end on a gallows, hanged for mass murder much as the Nazi chiefs were hanged at Nuremberg. In a better world, the French president would not have paid a visit to the bedside of such a monster. In a better world, George Bush would not have said, on hearing the first reports that Arafat had died, "God bless his soul."
God bless his soul? What a grotesque idea! Bless the soul of the man who brought modern terrorism to the world? Who sent his agents to slaughter athletes at the Olympics, blow airliners out of the sky, bomb schools and pizzerias, machine-gun passengers in airline terminals? Who lied, cheated, and stole without compunction? Who inculcated the vilest culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich? Human beings might stoop to bless a creature so evil -- as indeed Arafat was blessed, with money, deference, even a Nobel Prize -- but God, I am quite sure, will damn him for eternity.
Arafat always inspired flights of nonsense from Western journalists, and his last two weeks were no exception. Derek Brown wrote in The Guardian that Arafat's "undisputed courage as a guerrilla leader" was exceeded only "by his extraordinary courage" as a peace negotiator. But it is an odd kind of courage that expresses itself in shooting unarmed victims -- or in signing peace accords and then flagrantly violating their terms. Another commentator, columnist Gwynne Dyer, asked, "So what did Arafat do right?" The answer: He drew worldwide attention to the Palestinian cause, "for the most part by successful acts of terror." In other words, butchering innocent human beings was "right," since it served an ulterior political motive. No doubt that thought brings daily comfort to all those who were forced to bury a child, parent, or spouse because of Arafat's "successful" terrorism.
Some journalists couldn't wait for Arafat's actual death to begin weeping for him. Take the BBC's Barbara Plett, who burst into tears on the day he was airlifted out of the West Bank. "When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound," Plett reported from Ramallah, "I started to cry." Normal people don't weep for brutal murderers, but Plett made it clear that her empathy for Arafat -- whom she praised as "a symbol of Palestinian unity, steadfastness, and resistance" -- was heartfelt: "I remember well when the Israelis re-conquered the West Bank more than two years ago, how they drove their tanks and bulldozers into Mr. Arafat's headquarters, trapping him in a few rooms, and throwing a military curtain around Ramallah. I remember how Palestinians admired his refusal to flee under fire. They told me: `Our leader is sharing our pain, we are all under the same siege.' And so was I." Such is the state of journalism at the BBC, whose reporters do not seem to have any trouble reporting, dry-eyed, on the plight of Arafat's victims. (That is, when they mention them -- which Plett's teary bon voyage to Arafat did not.)
And what about those victims? Why were they scarcely remembered in this Arafat death watch? How is it possible to reflect on Arafat's most enduring legacy -- the rise of modern terrorism -- without recalling the legions of men, women, and children whose lives he and his followers destroyed? If Osama bin Laden were on his deathbed, would we neglect to mention all those he murdered on 9/11? It would take an encyclopedia to catalog all of the evil Arafat committed. But that is no excuse for not trying to recall at least some of it.
Perhaps his signal contribution to the practice of political terror was the introduction of warfare against children. On one black date in May 1974, three PLO terrorists slipped from Lebanon into the northern Israeli town of Ma'alot. They murdered two parents and a child whom they found at home, then seized a local school, taking more than 100 boys and girls hostage and threatening to kill them unless a number of imprisoned terrorists were released. When Israeli troops attempted a rescue, the terrorists exploded hand grenades and opened fire on the students. By the time the horror ended, 25 people were dead; 21 of them were children.
Thirty years later, no one speaks of Ma'alot anymore. The dead children have been forgotten. Everyone knows Arafat's name, but who ever recalls the names of his victims?
So let us recall them: Ilana Turgeman. Rachel Aputa. Yocheved Mazoz. Sarah Ben-Shim'on. Yona Sabag. Yafa Cohen. Shoshana Cohen. Michal Sitrok. Malka Amrosy. Aviva Saada. Yocheved Diyi. Yaakov Levi. Yaakov Kabla. Rina Cohen. Ilana Ne'eman. Sarah Madar. Tamar Dahan. Sarah Soper. Lili Morad. David Madar. Yehudit Madar. The 21 dead children of Ma'alot -- 21 of the thousands of who died at Arafat's command. (Poignant Article)
Jerusalem World News - Now Arafat is dead in the land of quiche, mousse, croissant, vichysoisse, and Jew-hatred, consulting with Generalissimo Francisco Franco. And it is not a time for Israel or her friends to celebrate. The irony for Israel and her supporters is that Arafat always has provided a clarity that many others around him obfuscate because the others wear business suits and ties rather than kaffiyehs and gun-holsters. They speak more cleverly, in the manner of Hanan Ashrawi and Saeb Erekat, than Arafat ever has. In his absence, extraordinary pressure will mount against Israel, even from her friends, who will insist: "We stood with you for all the Arafat Years and refused to meet with Arafat and turned a blind eye to your military actions in Jenin and throughout Gaza, even your targeted elimination-hits aimed at removing the schemers of terror and the "ticking bombs." We backed you — overtly or through our silence — as you acted to offset and counter Arafat's terror. Now, with him gone, we expect you to reciprocate and 'make overtures' to the Palestinian Authority and 'take risks for peace' so that his successor(s) can bring 'hope' that a new day is dawning."
Israel will be posed with The Global Test. Thus, Arafat's departure to better French cuisine — well, they may not be serving mousse where he is going, although he may recognize Napoleon — is going to make it much harder for Israel to explain her cognition that, beneath their suits and ties, Arafat's successors bring the same agenda to destroy Israel. The children's textbooks of "Palestine" will continue to teach hate against Jews. Look to see whether they are withdrawn. The children's television programs of "Palestine" will continue to encourage them to blow themselves up and murder Jews. Look to see whether they are canceled from the Fall TV line-up. The children's summer camps of "Palestine" will continue training them to murder. Look to see whether the camp offerings are changed to arts and crafts. Well, maybe leave it at arts. The newspapers of "Palestine" will continue running crossword puzzles that define Israel out of existence. Look to see whether they change the clues. Town Squares of "Palestine" will retain their names in honor of suicide bombers. Look to see whether they are re-named for peace advocates.
Nothing will change in "Palestine" during the transition from kaffiyehs and holsters to suits and ties. Even with British Prime Minister Tony Blair congratulating President George W. Bush by welcoming his reelection, pledging continued support for the War in Iraq — and then reminding President Bush that Blair's agenda calls for moving full-speed on "Mideast Peace" as soon as the War in Iraq resolves itself. So Israel is in for some profoundly rough riding after the calm. Presumably that is why Israeli prime Minister Ariel Sharon wanted his questionable "Half-the-loaf is-better-than-nothing" solution on the table — securing President Bush's full blessing for that plan to retreat from Gaza but to hold high-density Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria — while Arafat still is/was around. So Mr. Sharon got his plan on the table to fill the vacuum opened when the Bush "Roadmap" got blown up — just as had the Zinni Plan before it, and all the many, many plans that preceded that one dating back forty years to the Rogers Plan.
Now Arafat is dead in the land of quiche, mousse, croissant, vichysoisse, and Jew-hatred, consulting with Generalissimo Francisco Franco. And it is not a time for Israel or her friends to celebrate. Those fine folks from Hamas, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Islamic Jihad, Force 17, the Palestine Authority, Tanzim, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades, and all the other candidates are sharpening their knives and donning their suicide belts — while the Hanan Ashrawis and Saeb Erekats prepare their endorsements — for the new season of primaries, "Palestine-style." The "Blow Up the Vote" drives in Ramallah and Jenin are coming — not sure who will be doing the concerts, but Michael Moore can't be far behind.
After they finish with each other, the survivors will turn their attention on Israel. Israel will have to be very, very strong. We know what the Global Test from France, Germany, and Russia will try to impose, and we know what Kofi Annan's United Nations will demand of Israel. But what will Israel's friends in Washington demand? Israel will have to be very, very strong — because help is not on the way. (Thoughtful Article)
Life After Arafat
Bush, Sharon, Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) Start Marching in Step – November 14, 2004
DEBKAfile Special Strategic Analysis - The penultimate stage of the US-Iraqi Fallujah offensive and the final laying to rest of Yasser Arafat – though not necessarily of Palestinian terrorism - occurred on the same day, Friday, November 12. The two events prefaced democratic elections in Iraq - and now also for the Palestinians - both in January.
Palestinian voters go the polls on January 9; Iraqis elect a general assembly on January 27.
In between the two, on January 20, President George W. Bush is to be sworn in for his second term – that is provided the first two events take place on schedule. The apparent assassination attempt staged against Arafat’s designated successor Mahmoud Abbas aka Abu Mazen in Gaza two days after the burial does not promise a smooth transition.
If elections do go off as planned, Iraq will attain a parliament with a Shiite majority that will select a government dominated by moderate Shiites. Both institutions will rule under the rod of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani of Najef, America’s foremost ally and its strategic planner in the powerful Iraqi Shiite clergy or – as Bush would put it – the architect of the Iraqi settlement. It has been tacitly agreed that the first after-effect of a Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad will be a separate Kurdish administration in Irbil, a stepping stone to an independent Kurdish authority in northern Iraq. The two entities will preserve a measure of collaboration. Iraq will thus be effectively partitioned between the two, while the Sunni Muslims pressed between them will live under US military control until they are subdued. After the Fallujah operation ends this week, Sunni leaders will have to decide whether to stick by their decision to boycott the January election and leave their community behind the onward march towards the post-Saddam regime, or claim a role in government.
For the Palestinians, Arafat’s death has opened the way for regime change by the ballot after four years of crippling, suicidal terror which hurt Israel but left them in a hopeless mire of poverty and despair. Arafat was no sooner interred in Ramallah, when Mahmoud Abbas was informally designated Fatah candidate to succeed him in a general election. If this process goes through and Abu Mazen is able to form a stable, normally-functioning government after long years of corruption and mayhem, Israelis and Palestinians can start talking peace the basis of Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan and President Bush’s roadmap. The outcome of this process, Palestinian statehood will partition historic Palestine yet again – this time between Israelis and Palestinians.
In 1947, the United Nations partitioned the country when established state of Israel. In the intervening years, war, armistices and peace agreements have moved the boundaries around. Now a Palestinian state is set to rise in eastern Palestine and the Gaza Strip, with the state of Israel situated in the west and the center.
No seasoned observer in Washington, Baghdad, Jerusalem or Ramallah expects these seismic geopolitical changes to cut off terrorism on the spot – certainly not before they are fully onstream. The difference will be that whereas the terrorists will not longer be allowed to dictate events in Iraq or enjoy free rein from Palestinian territory. After January, democratic-elected institutions will stand at the helm and hopefully bend all their efforts to exercise full control. Palestinians and Israelis fervently believe that America’s full military, intelligence, economic weight, if thrown behind the post-Arafat regime as it was in Iraq will eventually bring the level terrorism down dramatically.
Bush was therefore taken very seriously when he declared at his joint news conference with British premier Tony Blair at the White House on that same action-packed Friday, November 11:”I think it is fair to say that I believe we’ve got a great chance to establish a Palestinian state, and I intend to use the next four years to spend the capital of the Unite States on such a state.” (Long but Insightful Article)
Daniel Pipes.org - "I think it's very important for our friends, the Israelis, to have a peaceful Palestinian state living on their border. And it's very important for the Palestinian people to have a peaceful, hopeful future." So spoke President Bush just two days after his re-election, just exactly as news reports were leaking Yasser Arafat's demise.
The combination of Mr. Bush's stunning new mandate and Mr. Arafat's near-death condition will lead, I predict, to a quick revival of Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy after months of relative doldrums and to massive dangers to Israel.
The doldrums will cease because the Bush administration views Mr. Arafat as the main impediment to achieving its vision - articulated above by the president - of achieving a "Palestine" living in harmony side-by-side with Israel. As Mr. Arafat exits the political stage, taking with him his stench of terrorism, corruption, extremism, and tyranny, Washington will jump to make its vision a reality, perhaps as soon as this Thursday, when the British prime minister ("I have long argued that the need to revitalize the Middle East peace process is the single most pressing political challenge in our world today") comes to town. This observer expects that the president's efforts will not just fail but - like so much prior Arab-Israeli diplomacy - have a counterproductive effect. I say this for two reasons, one having to do with his own understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the other having to do with the situation on the ground in the Palestinian territories.
Mr. Bush's understanding: The president's major statement of June 2002 remains the guideline to his goals vis-à-vis this conflict. In it, he outlined his vision for a "provisional" Palestinian state and called on Israel to end what he called its "settlement activity in the occupied territories." As these two steps make up the heart of the Palestinian Arab program, the president was effectively inviting the Palestinian Arabs to behave themselves for an interval, long enough to collect these rewards, and then go back on the warpath. Instead, the president should have told the Palestinian Arabs that they need unequivocally and permanently to accept that Israel is now and will always remain a Jewish state; in addition, they need to renounce violence against it. Furthermore, this change of heart must be visible in the schools, press, mosques, and political rhetoric before any discussion of benefits can begin.
But Mr. Bush did not make these demands, so, as Eli Lake has reported in The New York Sun, his approach translates into likely pressure on Israel. Situation on the ground: There will be no successor to Mr. Arafat - he made sure of that through his endless manipulations, tricks, and schemes. Instead, this is the moment of the gunmen. Whether they fight for criminal gangs, warlords, security services, or ideological groups like Hamas, militiamen grasping for land and treasure will dominate the Palestinian scene for months or years ahead. The sort of persons familiar from past diplomacy or from TV commentaries - Mahmoud Abbas, Ahmed Qurei, et al. - lack gunmen, and so will have limited relevance going forward. The Palestinian territories have already descended into a hellish anarchy and circumstances will probably worsen as the strongmen struggle for power. Eventually, two of them will emerge with the ability to negotiate with the Israelis and Americans. Note, two of them. The geographic division of the West Bank and Gaza, of only minor import until now, looms large upon Mr. Arafat's passing. As Jonathan Schanzer has suggested, whoever rules in the one unit is unlikely to gain traction in the other, making the notion of a "Palestine" that much more difficult to promote. Two Palestines, anyone?
In conclusion, Israel has been spared from unremitting American pressure during the past three years only because Mr. Arafat continued to deploy the terrorism weapon, thereby alienating the American president and aborting his diplomacy. Thanks to growing anarchy in the Palestinian Arab territories, Israel will probably remain "lucky" for some time to come. But this grace period will come to an end once clever and powerful Palestinian Arab leaders realize that by holding off the violence for a decent interval, they can rely on Israel's only major ally pressuring the Jewish state into making unprecedented concessions. I doubt this will happen on Mr. Bush's watch, but if it does, I foresee potentially the most severe crisis ever in U.S.-Israel relations. (Article)
Peace Suddenly Break Out Amongst Israel’s Arab Enemies – December 4, 2004
Cutting Edge - As Sharon's Unilateral Disengagement plan forges forward at renewed speed, peace suddenly seemed to be breaking out amongst Israel's historic, implacable Arab enemies. Traditionally, a feigned push toward "Peace" is commonplace just before the outbreak of war.
NEWS BRIEF: "Hamas official: We will agree to two states, peace with Israel" - December 4, 2004
The Jerusalem Post - "In an apparent change in long-standing policy, a top Hamas leader in the West Bank said Friday the group would accept the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as a long-term truce with Israel. 'Hamas has announced that it accepts a Palestinian independent state within the 1967 borders with a long-term truce', Sheik Hassan Yousef told The Associated Press, referring to lands Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day war."
Now, this is news, indeed! After decades of violently opposing Israel's basic right to exist and expending much blood to achieve this goal, this top Hamas leader is actually saying that Hamas wants peace with Israel and will recognize her right to exist! Of course, no one in their right mind will ever believe this to be true, but this dramatic and unprecedented announcement simply confirms our analysis in the past that, once Arafat died, tremendous pressure began to be exerted against Palestinian leaders to "not blow it", i.e., not take action which will prevent Israel from withdrawing her troops. This is the light in which this bold assertion must be interpreted. Jordan is now also getting into the act of promoting "peace" in the region.
NEWS BRIEF: "Jordan willing to mediate talks" - November 29, 2004
The Jerusalem Post - "Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in his first public comments on recent diplomatic overtures coming from Damascus, said Thursday he would be willing to meet Syrian President Bashar Assad if 'certain conditions are met' ... enumerated a number of actions Damascus could take to show that it is serious. These include closing the headquarters of terrorist organizations operating in Damascus that provide financing and directions for attacks inside Israel; closing down terrorist training bases on Syrian soil; kicking the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which serve as a pipeline between Hizbullah and Iran, out of Lebanon; and allowing the Lebanese to deploy their troops in southern Lebanon."
Sharon noted that the Syrian government had not yet taken even one action which would indicate that it was serious about genuinely wanting peace. Syria immediately responded to Sharon's comments of caution:
NEWS BRIEF: "Syrian official: Damascus has no preconditions for talks” - December 3, 2004
Haaretz - "Syria wants to renew peace talks with Israel without preconditions and no longer insists that talks should resume exactly where they left off in 2000, its ambassador to London said on Friday. We are speaking of building on what has been achieved, but we will not ask the Israelis to start exactly where we have stopped," Sami Khiyami told Reuters in a telephone interview. "We are saying we have no preconditions." Khiyami said it would waste time if the two sides re launched talks from scratch. "We should go into this as two mature states wishing to achieve peace and prosperity in the Middle East."
However, one Israeli news source was not deceived as to how genuine Syria truly is about wanting peace.
NEWS BRIEF: "Syria’s idea of ‘peace’ remains all or nothing", Jerusalem News Wire, December 3, 2004
Jerusalem (Jerusalem Post) - “Syrian leaders on Tuesday confirmed they had no interest in resuming peace talks with Israel unless Jerusalem first acquiesced fully to their demand to fully withdraw from 100 percent of the Golan Heights."
As always, the devil is in the details. Egypt jumped into the fray, promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
NEWS BRIEF: "Mubarak: Sharon can make peace" - December 2, 2004
The Jerusalem Post - "Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday described Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as the Palestinians' best chance for peace. Mubarak's comments echoed those of his foreign minister, who returned the day before from a rare trip to Israel, that were strikingly upbeat and could mean warming relations between the Jewish state and an important Middle East peace mediator at a crucial time."
Don't you feel reassured to know that the stage is now set for a "warming" of relations between Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinians? As we reported last week, all the major Western powers suddenly descended upon Israel right after Arafat's death, pushing President Bush's "Road Map" for the creation of a Palestinian State, a vision which includes an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and portions of the West Bank. This push was so determined and so forceful that Sharon was able to state again and again -- as we quoted above -- that the Unilateral Withdrawal was going to occur -- even if Arafat was dead. As part of this sudden movement toward "peace", Israel's arch enemy, Hamas, recently declared its willingness to participate in a ceasefire -- a "hudna" ceasefire.
NEWS BRIEF: "Sheikh Yusef: Hamas ready for 'hudna' " - The Jerusalem Post, November 29, 2004
The Jerusalem Post - "Sheikh Hassan Yusef, head of the Hamas political bureau in Ramallah said Monday that Hamas is willing to declare a 10 year hudna, or ceasefire. In an interview with Israel Radio, the senior Hamas leader said that the Islamic movement would consider committing to a ceasefire in order to ultimately join a national unity government with the Palestinian leadership, as Hamas is interested in playing an active role in the new Palestinian government and participating in national decisions. a truce with Israel, Yusef said, would be dependant on an end of the Israeli occupation of the territories, release of security prisoners and "elimination of Israeli violence." When asked which borders "occupation" was referring to, he said the borders of 1967, not 1948."
What is a "hudna"? The Prophet Mohammed set forth a certain military strategy of a practical ceasefire which he called 'hudna'. This is a temporary and deceitful ceasefire agreement into which Muslims may enter if they are facing a vastly superior foe. Muslims are allowed to make a "peace agreement" with this superior foe, an agreement which will allow them the time to rebuild their armed forces, while they are lulling their enemy to sleep; at the right moment, Muslim fighters are to strike hard and without warning, in order to destroy their enemy which had originally been too strong for them. This is a "hudna", a deceitful strategy. You can rest assured that a real "peace" will never occur in the Middle East, as prophetic passages like Joel 2 and 3 clearly foretells. However, the Bible does have two warnings related to "peace initiatives" at the End of the Age. Please listen carefully:
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 - "For you yourselves know perfectly well that the day of the return of the Lord will come as unexpectedly and suddenly as a thief in the night. When people are saying, All is well and secure, and, There is peace and safety, then in a moment unforeseen destruction (ruin and death) will come upon them as suddenly as labor pains come upon a woman with child; and they shall by no means escape, for there will be no escape." (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary]
Daniel 8:25 - "And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many"
"By peace he (Antichrist) shall destroy many".
this verse during these difficult times which lie ahead. Read Entire
Message from BibleSearchers
BibleSearchers scans the world for information that has relevance on the time of the end. It is our prayer that this will allow the believers in the Almighty One of Israel to “watch and be ready”. Our readiness has nothing to do trying to halt the progression of evil on our planet earth. In our readiness, we seek to be prepared for the coming of the Messiah of Israel so that goodness and evil will be manifested in its fullest. Our preparation is a pathway of spiritual readiness for a world of peace. Our defender is the Lord of hosts. The time of the end suggests that the Eternal One of Israel’s intent is to close out this chapter of earth’s history so that the perpetrators of evil, those that seek power, greed and control, will be eliminated from this planet earth. The wars of the heavens are being played out on this planet earth and humans will live through it to testify of the might, power, justice and the love of the God of Israel. In a world of corruption and disinformation, we cannot always know what the historical truth is and who is promoting evil or mis-information. We cannot guarantee our sources but we will always seek to portray trends that can be validated in the Torah and the testimony of the prophets of the Old and the New Testament.
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