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Is Arafat Irrelevant

GUEST 17 Dec 01 - 09:11 AM
GUEST 17 Dec 01 - 09:13 AM
Auxiris 17 Dec 01 - 09:43 AM
Gervase 17 Dec 01 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,Bryan Bellamy 17 Dec 01 - 10:15 AM
Gervase 17 Dec 01 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 17 Dec 01 - 10:54 AM
mousethief 17 Dec 01 - 11:03 AM
Big Mick 17 Dec 01 - 11:12 AM
mousethief 17 Dec 01 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,Demos Cratos 17 Dec 01 - 11:24 AM
Gervase 17 Dec 01 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,Frank 17 Dec 01 - 11:51 AM
GUEST 17 Dec 01 - 12:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Dec 01 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 17 Dec 01 - 11:06 PM
Terry K 18 Dec 01 - 04:29 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 18 Dec 01 - 05:46 AM
Grab 18 Dec 01 - 09:02 AM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 01 - 11:34 AM
Sigma Alpha Rho 18 Dec 01 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,Fred Krantz 18 Dec 01 - 12:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 01 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,Irish lass 18 Dec 01 - 01:18 PM
Little Hawk 18 Dec 01 - 01:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 01 - 02:06 PM
GUEST 18 Dec 01 - 04:00 PM
Jack The Lad 18 Dec 01 - 04:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 01 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,Barbara Amiel 18 Dec 01 - 06:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 01 - 07:10 PM
Gervase 18 Dec 01 - 07:48 PM
Greg F. 18 Dec 01 - 09:31 PM
DougR 19 Dec 01 - 12:56 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Dec 01 - 07:31 AM
Gervase 19 Dec 01 - 07:59 AM
Barbara Amiel 19 Dec 01 - 12:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Dec 01 - 12:58 PM
Little Hawk 19 Dec 01 - 07:45 PM
Little Hawk 20 Dec 01 - 09:48 AM
Bennet Zurofsky 20 Dec 01 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,mg 20 Dec 01 - 03:17 PM
Little Hawk 20 Dec 01 - 04:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Dec 01 - 11:05 PM
GUEST,Yasir Arafat 20 Dec 01 - 11:24 PM
Little Hawk 21 Dec 01 - 12:07 AM
Jerry Dingleman: The Boy Wonder(inactve) 23 Dec 01 - 11:06 AM
Little Hawk 23 Dec 01 - 07:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Dec 01 - 08:40 PM
toadfrog 23 Dec 01 - 11:52 PM
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Subject: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 09:11 AM

Three days after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel declared him "irrelevant," Yasir Arafat hastened to try to recapture leadership of a coalition dominated by terrorists. After a spate of phony "crackdowns" on killers he then quickly released to murder again, Arafat insisted yesterday that next time would be different

But the inescapable fact is that the suicide-murders of Jewish civilians are organized and carried out not only by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, but also by Arafat's Force 17, his large police force and his personal Tanzim militia. They comprise a terror coalition, supplying one another with arms, money and suicidal killers. The notion that Palestinian bombers have been opposed by Arafat "moderates" is propaganda that not even Israel's enemies any longer believe.

Why is Arafat loudly proclaiming his new abhorrence of the murder of civilians? Not because of international pressure; on the contrary, the U.N. Security Council last week wanted to send observers to "protect" terrorists from Israel. Only a forceful veto ordered by President Bush, who has been a stalwart ally, stopped that hypocrisy cold.

The real reason for the latest Arafat oration "declaring illegal" the campaign he launched: his terrorists, having triggered open warfare, are losing that war. The Israeli military is now making the arrests and executing the killers, acts that an authoritative Palestinian Authority should have been doing.

Following Arafat's speech, William Safire of the New York Times called the Israeli prime minister.

"We are fed up with false promises and lies," Prime Minister Sharon said. "What is important is not declarations but deeds. Your General Zinni — a serious professional we hope to see again — provided to Arafat a list of terrorists we knew were plotting attacks. No steps were taken. Soon after, two of the names on that list bombed a bus killing 10 of our people. Therefore, because our government cannot trust Arafat, we will have no more contact with him. That is how he made himself irrelevant."

What is it about the concept of "relevance" that the Israelis emphasize and that so rattles Arafat? I figure it's his ability to deliver international backing. But when he double-crossed the would-be peacemakers Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak — and then joined with overtly terrorist groups to break Israel's spirit — Arafat lost his ability to deliver either the Israeli left or the American superpower. Result: personal irrelevance born of profound mistrust, at a moment when Palestinians whose practical goal is viable statehood most need a leader trusted by others.

Sharon's point that Arafat no longer counts seems to be hitting home. To regain relevance — to become a player again — the man who in the past has been the embodiment of Palestinian hopes must first turn against members of the terror coalition he formed. That is the significance of Arafat's newsworthy line in yesterday's speech: "We will not accept more than one authority on this land."

Is this his declaration of civil war against the groups in his alliance that have grown more powerful than he planned? Such decisiveness would be un-Arafatlike; if true to form, he will patch things up as soon as outsiders intercede to take the heat off. But internecine strife is inevitable someday between the amalgam of terror groups (Hamas, Iran's Hezbollah, Arafat's presidential guard, his Tanzim, etc.) and the future Palestinian Authority headed by Arafat or his successor.

That's why, I surmise, Sharon does not challenge the legitimacy of the authority, to which Israel has transferred many powers over everyday Arab life. "We are not causing harm to Arafat physically. We are not escalating and we are not acting against the Palestinian Authority."

What about a time after Arafat — will the next Palestinian leader defeat the terrorists? "We do not interfere in others' decisions," says Sharon carefully. "Some Palestinian leaders understand that Arafat has brought them to disaster, and they know we do not respect him as a partner. Maybe one day somebody will rise up, and there is already heavy criticism of him from Palestinians. But before they can take responsible steps, it has to be widely understood that Arafat — by being responsible for creating this coalition of terror — has made himself irrelevant."


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 09:13 AM

No


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Auxiris
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 09:43 AM

I see that you still do not have the simple courage to sign your posts with a name. . .

Aux


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Gervase
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 09:48 AM

And the musical point is...? With ranting troll-bait like that, I do wonder if in this case the moyle threw away the wrong piece.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Bryan Bellamy
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 10:15 AM

Without commenting on the original post, I will make the observation that Gervase's comment is disgusting and anti-Semitic.

And to that, I sign my real, rather than my anonymous Mudcat name.

Bryan Bellamy


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Gervase
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 10:24 AM

No anti-semitism implied, Bryan, but if you find it offensive I apologise. It's an old joke first used by a Jewish friend of mine.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 10:54 AM

he is harmful and I hope he is gone forever as an official. I doubt he can control the terrorists. I think the solution over there will be imposed, and fairly quickly and will involve limits and heartbreak on both sides. Both sides will feel they have been done wrong to and will lose land that they either cherish or have their eyes on. But in the long run it will calm down and be much better for all. mg


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: mousethief
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 11:03 AM

Unfortunately he is also the duly-elected leader of the Palestinian people. We like to give lip-service to democracy, but when it's inconvenient, we pass it by.

To which I sign the name I was born with,
Alex


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Big Mick
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 11:12 AM

The problem with your post, Alex, is that it implies a functioning democracy, which would include a respect for the rule of law. Arafat, IMHO, has tried to play so many cards, tried to appease so many folks, that he has lost the mantle of leadership. Thus, again IMHO, he is not relevant to a solution. I am not advocating the removal of Arafat, because I think that the groups at work in this conflict will take care of this problem. But in answer to the question posed by this thread.......the answer is yes.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: mousethief
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 11:22 AM

Ah, but Mick, it's hard to engender a respect for the rule of law when your home is reduced to rubble. Electing one's ruler is a start. Being free from arbitrary attack from neighboring states (well, state) might help too.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Demos Cratos
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 11:24 AM

Big Mick is quite correct. There has never been a functioning democracy in the Palestinian Authority. In point of fact, there has never been a functioning democracy in any of the Arab countries.

Mousethief,

The implication I take from your post is that Arafat's authority should be respected because he is the "duly-elected leader of the Palestinian people." If that is the case, should our fathers and grandfathers also have respected the authority of the chancellor of Germany who was duly elected in a democratic election in 1933?


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Gervase
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 11:35 AM

To get back to the point of the thread and to avoid outraging any more sensitive souls, Mick's right - Hamas, for most Palestinians, has far more validity than Arafat.
The Palestinian state that Arafat nominally heads is just about bankrupt, whereas Hamas (thanks to the bankrolling of 'our', erm, staunch allies the Saudis) is able to operate as a de facto welfare department for most people. Thus Arafat has become a busted flush, with little or no authority in his own land.
Nevertheless, I do wonder how Sharon can on the one hand hold Arafat personally responsible for all acts of terrorism against Israel, and on the other hand declare him irrelevant.
Whatever; the disingenuous tripe posted or cut and pasted by the anonymous guest above does little to help understanding of the issue. I'd guess s/he's not a big fan of Shimon Peres.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 11:51 AM

Someone needs to represent the Palestinian Authority. Arafat may not be effective here. If Hamas does, then it's in big trouble with the rest of the world. Thing is, they need representation in the UN for any of the mid-East problems to be resolved.

Hamas doesn't recognize Israel. I suspect that Arafat does. But if he doesn't have the support of the people, we are looking at another Iraq. The Intafada is futile. It can never acheive it's goal by violence. Peaceful protest is a possibility. At least it would make someone (UN?) sit up and notice. The US has it's own agenda which doesn't really address the issue of a sovereign Israel and Palestine. If this were really in our interests, we wouldn't be exporting weapons to Israel (and the rest of the world who we can control).

Frank


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 12:11 PM

Why don't we just give himand his cohorts the nobel peace prize again....


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 02:46 PM

"It was mid-October 1953. Within eight hours al-Badoui's home was rubble. By dawn the next morning Israeli special forces would have dynamited much of the village and killed 69 people. Their leader was Ariel Sharon, the man who, unless the polls are outrageously inaccurate, seems certain to be Israel's Prime Minister by the middle of this week." From an article in the Guardian earlier this year.

Well 69 dead bodies doesn't put Sharon in the top rank of terrorists in these terrible times. But it's a pretty sizeable toll for one nights work.

Maybe Sharon needs to have a Palestinian leader who is a terrorist to feel comfortable with. Arafat no longer qualifies. And if that's what Sharon wants, he's certainly going the right way about it. Well, it probably is what he wants - but do the people who support him really feel the same way?


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 11:06 PM

http://www.hcef.org/news/news/newsview.cfm?itemid=433&nType=News


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Terry K
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 04:29 AM

The Ariel Sharon thing is a classic example of "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter", by which means many "terrorists" become legit. I'm pretty sure we could come up with something similar for (inter alia) McGuinness, Mandela, Mugabe .......... make your own list, there are plenty of them to go for!


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 05:46 AM

I thought irrelevant had a big trunk, tusks and big ears. So being in the Middle East is he an african irrelevant


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Grab
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 09:02 AM

I seem to remember an incident at Omagh, after Gerry Adams had declared a ceasefire. How irrelevant is he? Not to thread-shift to NI, but you get the meaning - there's always nutters on the far wings who are just not reasonable.

Arafat doesn't have to represent _all_ the Palestinians, only a majority of them. If he can control the majority, the minority can be stepped on.

I'd be curious to see how enthusiastic the anonymous Guest would be for the Palestinians to enter Israel and assassinate the soldiers responsible for shooting Palestinian civilians. This would have _exactly_ the same mandate as the Israelis have for killing Palestinians.

Trouble is, Sharon and Hamas are too happy with the status quo. Everyone gets someone to blame, nothing gets settled, everyone loses loved ones, and the vendetta continues. Good deal all round.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 11:34 AM

"The Ariel Sharon thing is a classic example of "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" - hardly so.

Sharon wasn't involved in any kind of irregular army fighting an occupying force. He was part of the occupying force. Not the same as Begin blowing up the King David Hotel.

The analogy is closer to Lieutenant Callan.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Sigma Alpha Rho
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 11:49 AM

The best jokes always have a grain of truth to them.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon finally sits down with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to try to work out an agreement.

Sharon asks if he might first tell a story. Arafat tells him to go ahead.

"When Moses was in the desert for 40 years," Sharon begins, "the Jews got very thirsty and Moses asked the Lord for water and there appeared a beautiful lake.

"The Jews first drank and then bathed themselves. Moses did the same but when he came out of the water his clothes were gone.

"Moses shouted: 'Where are my clothes?' Someone answered: 'The Palestinians took them.' "

Arafat quickly interjected: "There were no Palestinians at that time!"

"Now," Sharon replied, "we can begin to negotiate."

SAR


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Fred Krantz
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 12:21 PM

Like all fascists, the terrorists cannot be appeased. They must be defeated. This struggle will not end in a truce or a treaty…[The terrorists] celebrate death, making a mission of murder and suicide... --George W. Bush, Dec. 7, 2000

President George W. Bush, commemorating Pearl Harbor on the deck of the aircraft carrier Enterprise, just returned from the Arabian Sea and action against Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban, put his finger on a rarely noted aspect of the terrorism problem facing not only America, but Israel. The terrorists are, as he noted, not "idealists", but fascists, people in love with death and power and committed to a radical politics of nihilistic violence against the innocent.

They cannot and will not "compromise". They may mouth various left-wing ideologies and use humanistic-sounding "socialist" vocabulary (see the Ba'ath parties in Iraq and Syria, the various PLO factions, including Arafat's Fatah, and recall Nasser's "Arab socialism"). But they are really fascists, little different, in fact, in their vicious antisemitism and vision of the annihilation of "the Jews" and the "Zionist entity", from the Nazis and neo-Nazis, whose hateful Der Stuermer propaganda and Holocaust revisionism are parroted daily in the state-supported Arab media and schools.

This truth has direct bearing on Israel's current situation, and on the unending agony of violence, murder and suicide bombings Israelis have suffered since the inception not only of the current intifada in September, 2000, but of the Oslo Accords eight years ago.

Despite his support from the social-democratic Left in Europe (itself a sad tale of political and moral hypocrisy), Arafat too is a fascist. This is evident not only in his own terrorist career (his PLO literally invented modern terrorism in the 1960's) and current winking at Hamas and Islamic Jihad murder, but also in his ruthless suppression of democracy and dissent in his own "Palestinian Authority". Various human rights organizations, including courageous Palestinian groups, have clearly chronicled Arafat's use of arbitrary imprisonment and torture, and numerous unexplained deaths in his prisons.

The Palestinian Authority has already demonstrated-- politically, economically, humanly--that "Palestine" would be a disaster for the Palestinians. It is not the much-trumpeted and hoped-for anomaly in the Arab world, a basically democratic state with individual rights grounded in a real civil society. "Arafatistan", a thugocracy repressing its own people, and concerned only with protecting its corrupt, self-aggrandizing leadership, is just another tawdry Arab dictatorship.

Arafat rejected Israel's radically-generous Camp David and Taba peace offers over a year ago, without making a counter-proposal. To respond in kind would have meant that he would, truly and finally, have had to recognize Israel's permanent legitimacy. He would have had to give up the old PLO dream of destroying the Jewish state, either by sparking a pan-Arab war of annihilation, or by erasing it through forced acceptance of the so-called "right of return", overwhelming Israel with millions of hostile Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants.

Instead, Arafat's campaign of murder and violence sparked a war which has cost almost a thousand lives. All these victims, including the children, would be alive today if Arafat, instead of supporting a new, armed "intifada", had not spurned Israel's peace plan as the basis for a conclusive negotiation.

Oslo's "land for peace" accords have already given Arafat--this despite his complete lack of compliance with its provisions--direct control over almost 50% of the disputed territory and over 90% of the area's population. Yet Israel today is, clearly, further from peace than she was in 1993. Hence it should by now be abundantly clear that an Arafat-led sovereign state along Israel's borders would not only not ensure peace, but would be a de-stabilizing dagger aimed at the Jewish state's exposed heart.

It is time, then, to recognize that there is nothing "inevitable" about a Palestinian state. Real peace, as George W. Bush said, cannot be made with fascists, with death-enthralled fanatical Jew-haters whose "politics" embrace only one goal: Israel's ultimate destruction. Such thugs have to be defeated, not rewarded, and replaced—when, and if, they emerge—with more suitable, and truly moderate, interlocutors.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 12:35 PM

And in all this Sharon is, of course, completely blameless.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Irish lass
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 01:18 PM

I don't understand people who look alike fighting about something not provable. Now maybe we could get the IRA to fight the Palestinians, then we would know who was fighting who and which side each was on.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 01:19 PM

Is Arafat irrelevant? Well, not to Arafat. If he was irrelevant we wouldn't be discussing him here. I suggest that he is probably more relevant than any of the individuals who have yet posted on this thread, myself included. Tough, isn't it? A thread like this will no more change the minds of zealouts on either side of issues in the Middle East than will the passing overhead of a migrant Canada goose...or the death of a fruit fly.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 02:06 PM

"zealouts" may be a typo, but if so it's an inspired one. True enough, nothing we say changes anything, including the minds of the people we find ourselves arguing with, whichever side of an argument we find ourselves.

What can be said for it is that, on the Mudcat it is possible to carry on arguments about this kind of thing in which we can try to at least understand the views of people with whom we are in disagreement. That can mean sometimes identifying shared values, and that is important. In fact that is the most important thing there is, in some ways.

And we can maybe work out more clearly what it is we believe. And also learn sometimes things that maybe we didn't know before.

Maybe if we only talked about things we could change it would be better. But that applies in all our lives, not just here. It'd be a much more silent world. Which might be good in some ways. But there is that about identifying the shared values that underly the disagreements. That's what the Oslo Peace accords were all about. Or closer to home to where I live, the Good Friday agreement.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 04:00 PM

Is Arafat irrelevant? He certainly is to the Palestinian terrorists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and his own Fatah Tanzim who have ignored his calls for a ceasefire.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Jack The Lad
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 04:21 PM

(Original)Guest's article is an obvious attempt at trolling. Personally I'm just as fed up with this kind of propaganda as I am with habitual Israel bashers. Nothing is going to be solved by people who believe they have a God given right not to consider other peoples' rights. People in this area will have to resolve their differences,and learn to live together. If "Guest" doesn't live here ( as I suspect) , it isn't going to be his/her sons killing each other- it's going to be my son and Ahmed's son. No amount of propaganda or trolling is going to make that right. If guest does live in the region I can probably guess where.

As to McGrath's posting of the article from the Guardian- that article was referring to 1953- when Sharon was not an occupier- and the infant Israel was suffering from marauders everyday, committing the same unspeakable acts of terror, murder and mayhem that some people are committing today- Israel was not occupying the West Bank then.

Irish Lass- You cant understand how people who look alike fighting........ It has always intrigued me how the Protestant Irish and the Catholic Irish can tell each other apart- seriously- how can they? Some Jews and some Arabs look alike- but mostly its a question of geography, accent, dress and customs- as I suspect it is in the case of the Irish, except perhaps dress.

Jack The Lad- In Israel


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 06:25 PM

I know that Israel wasn't occupying the West Bank in 1953. But it wasn't engaged in an insurrection against an occupying power either.

The term "freedom fighter" when it is juxtaposed with "terrorist" as an alternative label, normally refers to some kind of insurrectionary situation. The implication is that when you are on the run, so to speak, you may have no choice but to fight dirty. Maybe that's true - at any rate it's the way a lot of people in those situations see the choices. But that wasn't the situation Sharon was in in 1953 any more than it is today.

Whatever, what happened in Qibya was an atrocity - one of those "unspeakable acts of terror, murder and mayhem that some people are committing today", and the analogy with Lieutenant Calley seems apt enough.

Pretending that one side is clean and the other side is dirty in its methods, or that one side has leaders that are honourable and peaceful and the other has not is grossly oversimplifying. If Sharon had been born a Palestinian, he'd very likely be in Hamas, and denouncing Arafat as a sell-out.

Peace can only come when someone stops the killing and stops the reprisals which follow on previous reprisals - and the side which has done most of the killing and has most of the power is the side which can best do that.

In the present situation two bunches of extremists are in effect cooperating in keeping the killing going, round after round. On one side the extremists are in opposition, under an ineffectual administration, and on the other side they are in control of the government.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Barbara Amiel
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 06:55 PM

In a column in last week's Spectator, Petronella Wyatt noted that "since September 11 anti-Semitism and its open expression has become respectable at London dinner tables." This is an accurate observation and cannot be avoided by simply staying at home.

Recently, the ambassador of a major EU country politely told a gathering at my home that the current troubles in the world were all because of "that shitty little country Israel."

"Why," he asked, "should the world be in danger of World War Three because of those people?"

For years, I said that Jews were out of fashion and I understood why. The world was sick of the Middle East problem: Why should it be inconvenienced by the cost and the ripple effect of terrorism?

The West defeated the Third Reich and we Jews were no longer in need of a lifeboat: Indeed, today we would probably be safer just about anywhere rather than the Middle East. But events in the past year or so changed the equation and our rehabilitation has begun. The Arab/Muslim world overplayed its hand.

Their first wrong move was the rejection of prime minister Ehud Barak's offer in 2000. Even if you looked at that proposal from an Arab point of view and believed that a Palestinian state comprising 95% of the West Bank and a shared Jerusalem was not sufficient, you couldn't possibly argue that such a deal should be rejected out of hand.

The second mistake was launching the Al-Aqsa intifada after rejecting that deal. Eventually, the world saw that it was not Ariel Sharon's walk on the Temple Mount that caused the new intifada (a walk pre-cleared with the Muslim authorities) but Yasser Arafat's decision to escalate violence for tactical reasons.

The greatest error of all was when Osama bin Laden, acting in the name of the Arab/Muslim world, decided -- with a total incomprehension of what this would entail -- to blow up Lower Manhattan and blow it up at a time when the American administration was in the hands of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and not Clinton and Gore.

The Arab street remained silent at best or cheered the WTC bombing even as some of their leaders made ritual condemnations of it. Almost overnight, a blindfold fell off America's eyes. Appeasement didn't work.

The problem was not Israel's intransigence, nor even the conflict that comes from Israel's existence: The problem is Islamism.

Islam itself is split between Islam as a religion that can be essentially peaceful -- endorsing the qualities of charity and mercy -- and militant Islam (Islamism), which is intolerant and expansionist. Islam periodically goes into this expansionary phase and is now in one.

That is why in the past few years some mosques in the West have seen violent incidents, including murders, as radical mullahs fight moderates for supremacy. Militant Islam wants to be the dominant force in the world.

Its crusade has Muslims fighting Christians in Indonesia, Sudan and Pakistan. Christians in Lebanon have largely fled. Muslim fights Muslim in Algeria. Islamism has been on the move all right, but it hasn't a chance now, because it finally woke up America.

It took the blowing up of three planes on an airstrip outside Jordan by Palestinian terrorists in 1970 to turn the world's attention to the Palestinian question. One regrets to say that it has taken a lot more violence to get the world to focus on the true nature of Islamism.

Powerful as the truth may be, it needs a nudge from 16,000-lb daisy-cutter bombs once in a while. The Arab/Muslim world's intransigence comes into sharper focus when we see the Americans liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban in six weeks and a cornered Arafat unable to go to the bathroom without the risk of being blown into the next world.

Nothing succeeds like powerful bombs, as bin Laden explained in his latest video release. "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse," he said.

"Some of the media said that in Holland, in one of the centres, the number of people who accepted Islam during the days that followed the operations [attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon] were more than the people who accepted Islam in the past 11 years."

Bin Laden understands the power of a successful show of force all right, though he seems slow to grasp that America's horses are stronger than his.

Don't worry, Petronella. It is both sad and true that the consequences of super-liberalism led to suicide bombers and intifadas in Israel and to the attacks in America. But the United States has shown it is no paper tiger.

All those people bad-mouthing the Jews and Israel will quieten down. You are looking at the tail end of the train but the engine has already turned a corner and is going in the opposite direction.

Nothing succeeds like success. America is driving this train and the world will get on board -- though the last carriage may be those London dinner parties.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 07:10 PM

I really do wish that people who come across an article they like would put a link to it, or maybe post it here in a thread, and put their name to it - or even just GUEST for that matter - and not post in the name of the person who wrote the article.

I think Barbara Amiel would probably be pissed off at being wheeled on in disguise like that. (Though anyone who thinks that Petronella Wyatt is a source worth quoting...)


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Gervase
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 07:48 PM

...or her bloody father!


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Greg F.
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 09:31 PM

Anti extreme right-wing Zionism is not anti-Semitism. A significant proportion of the Israeli population opposes Sharon and his tactics- are they to be dubbed "anti Semites" as well?

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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: DougR
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 12:56 AM

If not Arafat? Who?

DougR


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 07:31 AM

"In the impossible relationship between Israel and the Palestinians, both sides have for years suffered from almost complete blindness to reality's complexity. Each is certain that the other side is ceaselessly deceiving it; that the other side does not want peace at all; that any compromise move by the other side is camouflage for an intrigue designed to bring the other side's victory and the elimination of its own existence."

That's from an article reprinted in today's Guardian by Israeli peace activist David Grossman. Rather than copy it inthe thread, pretending that David Grossman posted it himself, here is a link to it.

And I suggest that anybody who is interested enough in this topic to consider posting to this thread should take the trouble to click on the blue clicky and read it. It doesn't have any clever new solutions to present, but it does eloquently remind us what a complicated business this is.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Gervase
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 07:59 AM

Thank you, GregF.
I do find the extremism of the kind advicated by Rabbi Kehane to be quite repugnant, but I admire and respect those Israelis who are working toward some form of peace and reconciliation and who acknowledge that each side has valid arguments and rights to live in peace and prosperity. The statement that opened this thread was typical of some of the more intolerant material that threatens to drown the voice of the reasonable people.
The situation is too complex and tragic to be muddied with absurd allegations of anti-Semitism. I plead guilty to a lapse of taste - but those who know me know that taste and diplomacy aren't my strongest suits!


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Subject: Dear McGrath of Harlow
From: Barbara Amiel
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 12:41 PM

Dear McGrath of Harlow,

Are you suggesting that I do not have the right to post my writing here? I was reading this forum and thought that my column was relevant to the debate. That, my friend, is what free speech is all about.

Sincerely,

Barbara Amiel

London


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 12:58 PM

I imagine that last post was from the same joker and not from the actual lady in question. In which case it's a new twist in the fake posting technique - sign in under a false name belonging to someone else, using one of the e-mail addresses you can pick up for free anywhere. No doubt Bob Dylan, George Bush and Pope John Paul II will be turning up soon enough.

Of course I could be wrong. In which case Barbara Amiel should blame the fakers we've had around here for muddying the water and generating an excess of scepticism and paranoia. It's nothing personal.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 07:45 PM

Well, Barbara, if that really was you...I have a couple of things to say.

1. I generally totally disagree with your political opinions (while never faulting your effectiveness in presenting them)...and...

2. I read your autobiography and have to admit that despite (1) above I can't help but admire your intelligence and general strength of character, as shown throughout your life.

I suspect you would be a very interesting person to know, and to talk with.

I also think you married Canada's very own version of Darth Vader, incarnate...but that's just my opinion, and like all people I have subjective opinions, based on my own limited experience of life, and my own prejudices and preconceptions...so that's the way it goes.

And if it wasn't you, well, what the heck...

- LH


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 09:48 AM

Come on, Barbara, let's have a little repartee here! :-)

I know I'm not famous or anything, but I did like your book. And I put a humorous verse about you in a Talkin' Blues song once, about 10 years ago...

(sigh)...must have just been another anonymous GUEST, I suppose.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Bennet Zurofsky
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 12:33 PM

The basic eventual solution to the Israel/Palestine mess if sensible leadership prevails is apparent to almost everyone who seriously studies the question. There will be two states. Holy sites will be controlled by religious authorities. Some Palestinians will live in Israel, and be subject to its laws, and some Jews will live in Palestine and be subject to its laws. Where exactly the borders are drawn will only come from difficult negotiation.

This type of solution is what was proposed by Barak in the summer of 2000 and, by rejecting it without making a counter-proposal along similar lines, Arafat set the cause of Peace back many years. The violence that has followed has only made things worse. I despair of seeing a solution any time soon, unless it is imposed upon the parties by an International US/EU military occupation.

The basic problem is that the "refuseniks" on both sides, although they do not speak for a majority, have enough power to enrage those who would otherwise be more moderate, and to assasinate those who challenge their power. Right now, I believe the Palestinians have more of these refuseniks exercising more power than is the case in Israel, but Israel certainly has its share (as evidenced by the assasination of its Prime Minister by an "orthodox" Jewish student).

I believe the real reason that Arafat responded as he did to Barak's offer is that he was scared that he would be assassinated by the refuseniks in his camp, and he wants to live. A real leader would have had the necessary courage. The real point of Sharon's current campaign is to force Arafat to choose his path. In effect Sharon is threatening to have the Israeli's assasinate Arafat unless he begins to display the courage necessary to put him in legitimate fear of being assasinated by Hamas, et al.

Hamas does not want peace. Nor is it willing to tolerate Israel as a Jewish state in Palestine. That is why the pace of suicide bombings picked up just when Powell and Bush were pushing for peace by calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state. The suiciders were turned loose just when Sharon was in the US to be given a tough talk from Bush about why there had to be a settlement. Instead, the suiciders exploded and Bush told Sharon to do whatever he thought he had to do and to join the war on terrorism with the Palestinians (including Ararfat) as the enemy.

The problem is that no one other than Arafat seems to be in a position to negotiate the sensible solution for the Palestinians and, if he also is unwilling to do it, then there is little hope. If he is unwilling to stand up to his own refuseniks he is irrelevant because he cannot bring about Peace.

I wish I knew what could.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 03:17 PM

Bennett..I think you are absolutely right, based on my admittedly ignorant knowledge of all the problems. I do hope to go there some day to see for myself and to understand it better. I don't see how things can be negotiated..only imposed, with threats of cutting of financial aid to each side. Many people have said the solution is security for Israel, an independent Palestinian state and joint and international control of Jersulem as some sort of world holy city. Probably peacekeepers would be needed for some time. Other countries, particularly in Arab states, but I believe all countries of the former British empire, plus US, need to take care of many many refugees through immigration. International teams need to supply vocational training to youth. Strict strict laws against terrorism. Lots of those small loans to women (and men) to get the Palestinian economy growing. Replanting of olive orchards wherever they can. No one will be truly happy but then how could they be.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 04:42 PM

That's a well thought out explanation, Bennet, and I think you may well be quite right in what you say. It is indeed the "refuse-niks" who are the problem, and they are the problem when it comes to bad relations between India and Pakistan as well. Gandhi had the courage to take them on, and he ended up being assassinated by a Hindu fanatic of the refuse-nik variety. It is always the merciless few who cause suffering for the great majority of ordinary people, who may not be without prejudice...or perfect in their intentions, but who mainly just want to live a quiet, peaceful and prosperous life...if the militant few would only let them.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 11:05 PM

It's a tragedy the negotiations last year failed. But putting all the blame on the one side distorts what happened. And talking in terms of accusations of personal cowardice doesn't help. I imagine Arafat is no more keen on the idea of getting murdered than any Israeli politician would be. But I know of no evidence that he is any less willing than any Israeli politician to risk his life if need be.

I'd think that a more likely reason for the inability of Arafat to accept the deal offered last year was that he thought it likely that most Palestinians would see it as unacceptible. If an equivalent deal had been offered to the Israelis, including the ending of any right of return, and the fragmentation of Israeli terrierory, I suspect that they wouldn't have thought it such a good deal.

A deal like that would have to have been eased into acceptance, with time to think about it and discuss it and get used to the implications. The politics of the time mean that it had to be rushed at in a hectic and hectoring way, because of electoral timetables, and so forth.

And in the background Hamas and Sharon resolved to do what they could to make any agreement impossible, and succeeding.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Yasir Arafat
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 11:24 PM

I know that my lack of leadership has made me irrelevant to the zionists, to the americans, and to my own people.

However, I take great pride that I'm still a great hero to deep thinkers like McGrath of Harlow.

Mr. McGrath,

Next time you're in Ramallah, please stop by. We'll have lunch.

Yasir Arafat


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 12:07 AM

Mr. Arafat is obviously suffering fatigue, as he has forgotten how to spell his own first name...

His failure to capitalize the word "Americans", however, may have been a deliberate slight to the USA! Should be worth a "daisy-cutter" or two ta slap that sucker inta line, right, Bubba?

- LH


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Jerry Dingleman: The Boy Wonder(inactve)
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 11:06 AM

A few days ago, Arafat finally ordered a stop to the terrorism and other violence against Israel.

If Arafat's order is obeyed, why did he not give the order many months ago. Think of all of Israeli victims of terrorism and all of the Palestinian victims of Israeli retalitation whose lives could have been saved and the peace process that could have progressed had Arafat shown such leadership.

If the order is not obeyed by the Palestinians, then yes, he is irrelevant.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 07:44 PM

And if this thread fails utterly to improve the situation in the Middle East, it is irrelevant!

I would hate to be expected to get all angry Palestinians and Arabs within reach of Israel to just lay down their arms on my say-so, even if I was Yasser Arafat. Talk about a thankless job.

Guerrilla fighters and terrorists are not under a single, unified command. Many of them act on their own initiative due to their own personal anger and according to their own vendettas. It's much harder to order them all to stop and get that order obeyed than it is to command an national army in uniform to cease fire.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 08:40 PM

The British Government, the Irish Government and the IRA haven't managed to shut down the dissident republicans, and they are all three in a stronger position than Arafat is relative to Hamas, and with more firepower.

Thank God there isn't someone like Sharon in power in London or Dublin.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: toadfrog
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 11:52 PM

You tell 'em, McGrath!

So far as I can see, Arafat rejected that agreement because Sharon was about to be elected, and Arafat was on notice that if he made a deal, Sharon would welsh on it. How could he have made serious concessions, when he knew they would be thrown back in his face?


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