Saturday, November 20, 2004

Regarding Margaret Shaida's letter to the editor "Remembering Arafat", IHT, November 18, 2004 ( published in the IHT, November 20-21, 2004 ):
First of all, Yitzhak Shamir is still alive, so writing articles on his death would be a bit premature. Second, certainly the scope, methods and targets of Jewish terrorism in mandatory Palestine were incomparably different from those of 'modern' Palestinian and Islamist terror, especially when one notices the fact that acts of terror by the Etzel and Lehi were vehemently denounced by a vast majority of the Jews living in Palestine before 1948. Third, the biggest difference between Menachem Begin and Yasser Arafat was that the former was able to make the transition from a terrorist to a statesman, whereas for the latter his being a terrorist was so much a part of his identity and of his self-definition that when he had the chance to become the founding father and first president of a Palestinian state - far from what he and his people dreamt of, but still much better than what they had ever had -, he was unable to serve what according to most experts was the common good of his people rather than his personal interests and those of his cronies. In my opinion Mr Jacoby's op-ed article offered some food for thought as a balance to all the canonizations of Yasser Arafat published in most media.

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