Monday, November 15, 2004

This morning two letters to the editor of Ha'Aretz dealt with ( the death of ) Yasser Arafat. Although their authors appear to be from opposite sides of the pro-this or pro-that spectrum, both letters contained much truth. Arafat was much more a terrorist than a statesman ( although comparisons with Bin Laden or Hitler are totally wrong ), but on the other hand, now that Yasser A. is not around anymore Sharon will have to prove that the head of the PLO/PA - and not anybody else, hint, hint - was personally and almost exclusively an obstacle to peace, something which I think the Israeli PM and his government will have a hard time proving.
Many obituaries abroad turned Arafat almost into a saint. Yesterday the International Herald Tribune reprinted an op-ed article - which I liked, although I get angry and sick every time someone mentions the Third Reich and Palestinian terrorism in one and the same piece or sentence - from the Boston Globe by Jeff Jacoby, which reminded readers of one of the most notorious crimes for which Arafat bears responsibility: the kidnapping and murder of 21 schoolchildren and several adults at a school in the northern Israeli town of Ma'alot, a little more than 30 years before we followed the horrific events in Beslan. The author of the Out of Step Jew-weblog gives us one of many reasons that might or might not explain the success of Yasser Arafat when it comes to getting international attention and sympathy, as opposed to the leaders of less known but probably not less just religious-nationalist-humanitarian causes.
In today's IHT Thomas Friedman writes about the void of achievement left by Arafat, a void which will have to be filled by more responsible Palestinian, American and Israeli leaders.
Finally - and then I will try to let Mr A. rest - an article that I saved in my Favorites' file some days ago. Taken from the IHT and provided by the Associated Press, it is one of many articles published these weeks about the mysterious millions of the late Ra'is.

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