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Is Arafat Irrelevant

GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 01 Feb 02 - 12:32 AM
musicmick 31 Jan 02 - 12:44 AM
GUEST,Feder 30 Jan 02 - 08:49 AM
musicmick 25 Jan 02 - 12:48 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Jan 02 - 02:10 PM
musicmick 24 Jan 02 - 01:55 AM
GUEST,Boab 24 Jan 02 - 01:43 AM
GUEST,McGrath of Harlow 23 Jan 02 - 09:06 PM
musicmick 23 Jan 02 - 06:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Jan 02 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Boab 23 Jan 02 - 02:39 AM
musicmick 23 Jan 02 - 01:40 AM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Jan 02 - 09:48 PM
GUEST,I'm not Chomsky 22 Jan 02 - 09:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Jan 02 - 09:07 PM
musicmick 22 Jan 02 - 05:51 PM
musicmick 22 Jan 02 - 05:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Jan 02 - 04:33 PM
GUEST,Feder 22 Jan 02 - 02:36 PM
musicmick 14 Jan 02 - 03:30 AM
GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 13 Jan 02 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Feder 13 Jan 02 - 10:05 AM
robomatic 11 Jan 02 - 07:57 PM
Bennet Zurofsky 11 Jan 02 - 10:34 AM
Gervase 11 Jan 02 - 05:09 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jan 02 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,Feder 10 Jan 02 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,Feder 10 Jan 02 - 06:19 PM
DougR 10 Jan 02 - 05:49 PM
SharonA 10 Jan 02 - 04:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jan 02 - 04:44 PM
robomatic 10 Jan 02 - 04:34 PM
Bennet Zurofsky 10 Jan 02 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Bill in NY 10 Jan 02 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,colwyn dane 27 Dec 01 - 08:35 PM
GUEST,Bill in NY 27 Dec 01 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,Bill in NY 27 Dec 01 - 04:31 PM
robomatic 27 Dec 01 - 03:58 PM
Little Hawk 27 Dec 01 - 03:25 PM
GUEST, - Logged out, to remain anon 27 Dec 01 - 10:16 AM
musicmick 26 Dec 01 - 11:12 PM
GUEST, - Logged out, to remain anon 26 Dec 01 - 09:26 PM
robomatic 26 Dec 01 - 12:01 PM
musicmick 26 Dec 01 - 02:18 AM
GUEST, - Logged out, to remain anon 25 Dec 01 - 06:03 PM
musicmick 25 Dec 01 - 03:39 PM
GUEST 25 Dec 01 - 02:58 PM
Little Hawk 25 Dec 01 - 01:47 PM
robomatic 24 Dec 01 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 24 Dec 01 - 11:02 AM
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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 01 Feb 02 - 12:32 AM

I hope he goes as soon as possible. And I believe most people in both sides of the situation are caught up in history and culture and land and water rights, and are pretty much innocent of anything, except for terrorists. I am very sympathetic to the Ethopians and Ukranians etc. who come seeking refuge from tyranny and/or starvation. What makes me upset is the Americans who are not fleeing anything and who, if I understand it, are among the settlers, and causing great hard feelings among the Palestinians as they see further former family-owned olive groves etc. being torn down for people who have so much more than they can hope for. It's not right. If you love the land, especially land your family has owned for generations, you can understand their sorrow, which turns into rage. Someone said on a list for Vietnam veterans that rage is the guardian for grief. mg


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: musicmick
Date: 31 Jan 02 - 12:44 AM

Astute, indeed. No rational Jew wants a weakened Palestine. Only a strong Palestine can offer a promise of security. The tragedy is that Arafat is not the leader we hoped he would be. Perhaps, the times do not permit such a leader until the militant anti-Zionists are ousted from the area. By the time they are gone, Arafat will be a transient flyspeck on a page in a history book.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Feder
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 08:49 AM

In his column today in the New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman offers astute analysis. ***

Yasir Arafat is a dead man walking. Few American, Israeli or Arab leaders, not to mention Palestinians, really believe anymore that he will ever lead his people into a peace deal with Israel. The only thing keeping Mr. Arafat afloat today is that no one wants to own his demise — neither Israel nor America nor the Arabs nor his own aides wants responsibility for finishing him off. That's why this conflict has left the realm of diplomacy and entered the realm of biology — everyone is just waiting for Mr. Arafat to pass away. Too bad he eats yogurt and takes regular naps.

Mr. Arafat is a dead man walking because he shot himself — three times. First he spurned Bill Clinton's peace offer, which would have given the Palestinians a state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. And he spurned it primarily because he not only wanted a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank but he also wanted the right of return of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees to pre-1967 Israel.

"It turns out Arafat wanted two Palestinian states," notes the Middle East expert Stephen P. Cohen. "He wanted a Palestinian state for the West Bank and Gaza to be negotiated with Israel today. And he wanted a Palestinian state inside Israel that would be brought about by a return of Palestinian refugees and their soaring birth rate tomorrow. Israel was ready to give him one Palestinian state, but not two. And Arafat didn't have the courage to tell his people that."

Second, when Mr. Arafat couldn't get his two states at Camp David, he decided to give up the monopoly of force within the Palestinian areas. A monopoly of force is the definition of a state, or a "Palestinian Authority." Mr. Arafat gave up that monopoly so Hamas and Islamic Jihad could carry out suicide attacks against Israel to pressure Israel into accepting his terms — but in a way that he wouldn't have to take responsibility for. In doing so, Mr. Arafat undercut any notion that he could be a responsible sovereign for a Palestinian state. Who would trust a leader who gives up his authority whenever it suits him?

And finally, by importing the Ship of Fools — a boatload of advanced weapons from Iran while he was insisting that he was abiding by a cease-fire — Mr. Arafat destroyed a central argument of Israeli doves: that Israel could accept a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza, because it would be "demilitarized" and unable to threaten either Israel or Jordan. Says the Middle East writer David Makovsky, "Everyone hoped Arafat would be Nelson Mandela, but he turns out to be Robert Mugabe."

This leaves us with five options. Option one: The Arab leaders will get together and try to replace Mr. Arafat as the relevant negotiating partner with Israel and offer Israelis a pan-Arab comprehensive peace in return for total withdrawal. Option two: Palestine is Jordan — Israel will invite Jordan to replace Mr. Arafat and re-assume its sovereignty in the West Bank, as the only Arab party Israel could trust there. Option three: Jordan is Palestine — Ariel Sharon will reoccupy the West Bank and drive Palestinians into Jordan. Option four: the Palestinians will oust Mr. Arafat and replace him with a new leadership that will restore Palestinian credibility with Israel as a responsible peace partner and authority. Option five: NATO takes over the West Bank and Gaza.

In the meantime, Israeli and American Jews would be well advised not to get too smug. Yes, Mr. Arafat is now discredited and isolated. But let that not obscure the fact that he isn't the only one who wanted more than one state. Because what Mr. Sharon and the Jewish right have been doing by building so many settlements in the territories is saying to the Arabs: We also want two states — a Jewish state in Israel and a Jewish state in the West Bank and Gaza.

Right now there is no Palestinian partner to call this bluff. But be advised: These settlements are a cancer for the Jewish people; they threaten the entire Zionist enterprise. If Israel tries to retain them, it will end up either as a non-Jewish state, because it will be absorbing so many Palestinians, or a non-democratic apartheid state, because the only way to rule so many Palestinians will be à la the old South African model. So let us root for the rapid emergence of a real Palestinian peace partner. It is not only the Palestinians' future that rides on that, but also the Israelis'.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: musicmick
Date: 25 Jan 02 - 12:48 AM

Mr/Ms McGrath, I am not interested in trying to convince you of anything. Your view of history and the realities of the conflict are what they are. I will not attempt to understand why you have no compassion for a legitimate state, established, not by conquest, but by international fiat; a state founded to house the most victimized people. a people who had been expelled from their land, whose survival has always been linked to a return to their home. I will not waste time trying to make sense out of an argument that denies these people, my people, their right to their own home while championing the rights of another people to theirs. I will not wring my hands to understand how someone with enough smarts to operate a computer can equate the victims of terrorism with the perpetraters. I would understand your position if you were, yourself, Palestinian. Self interest is a powerful motive. I've been known to fall under its spell, haven't we all? Never mind, McGrath, I'm not going to convert you to sympathy for the big, bad Jews. Sorry I took up your time.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Jan 02 - 02:10 PM

We disagree, clearly about some things. Probably we agree about a lot of other things. No reason or need to get angry with each other.

It's possible to carry on a discussion without that kind of stuff, and that is why it is sometimes a good idea to discuss these kinds of issues in this kind of setting. It's a way of trying to understand how people with whom we disagree tick.

Whe it drifts into finger pinting at each other and name calling, there really isn't much point in it.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: musicmick
Date: 24 Jan 02 - 01:55 AM

Can we stop this "people on both sides" crap? The Jingoist Jews who believe that Israel should be the same as it was in biblical times (They refer to the adjacent Arab lands as Judea and Sumeria) have neither the means nor the licence to wage war on their "enemies". The most they have been able to do is occasionally expand the limits of settlement. They have not bombed Palestinian busses, they have not hijacked Arab planes. When they have harmed Palestinians or desicrated Islamic shrines, they have been jailed. Israel, for reasons of morality or for reasons of practicality, does not permit its lunatic fringe free rein. Neither, for that matter does Egypt or Jordan, which is why those nations are able to offer a secure peace with their traditional enemy. Mc Grath's empty solutions to Israel's struggle for survival are nothing more than a high handed "That's nice, dont fight". Well, that dont wash in this conflict. We are dealing with an enemy that is more than willing for everyone to die to appease its god. Perhaps, the only good thing to come out of the 9/11 murders, is that the world (with the possible exception of McGrath) understands who these nuts are and how important it is to fight them.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 24 Jan 02 - 01:43 AM

A thought provoking piece, Musicmic. Especially in view of the points you make regarding the attitudes from outside Palestine.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 09:06 PM

Retributive strikes are not just wrong in principle, they are self-defeating in practice, if their aim is to stop the killing. They just do not have that effect, short of virtual genocide.

No doubt there are people on both sides who have persuaded theselves that, if they rack up the violence high enough, the other side will be deterred, but it doesn't work. It's not a question so much of high moral ground, it's a matter of acting in a way that has some hope of achieving an end to violence.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: musicmick
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 06:08 PM

How involved must one be to understand that the conflict is not, and was not, between Jews and Palestinians. Had the two peoples been left to themselves, there would have been separate states from 1948. The Palestinians have not waged war on Israel, they have no army, no navy, no planes and no bombs. They are in as impoverished a state, today, as they have always been. Israel is not threatened by Palestine. The threat is from that section of the Arab world that sees a Jewish state as blasphemy. This faction is no more interested in a solution (outside of the destruction of Israel) than they have ever been in the rights of the Palestinians. That;s not just propoganda. The Palestinians have been, for centuries, the peons of the Arab world. There land was leased from absentee Egyptian and Syrian landlords, very much like feudal lords and vassals. I dont remember the Imams championing Palestinian rights before 1948. The shameful truth is that no one was championing the Palestinian cause before it escalated to an inconvenient war. In spite of its present Right Wing government, Israel is not the big, bad wolf she is painted by the radical chic. I oppose retributive strikes, as a matter of princlple, but, faced with an enemy who will accept nothing less than her dstruction, what would you have her do? It's easy to take the high moral ground, but, unless you have a viable alternative, your moral ground is just so much sophistry.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 05:31 AM

What sort of arrangement for living together is reacheed between the various peoples with a historical link to the Holy Land is of course a desperately important matter.

But even more important is a rejection of the attempt to impose a settlement on the other side by violence and counter-violence.

Responding to violence by violence is not the way forward for either side. That means someone has to stop doing it, and keep to that resolution in face of whatever provocation is thrown at them. I'd say that to Palestinians every bit as much as to Israelis. But I'd say it to Israelis every bit as much as Palestinians.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 02:39 AM

Arafat is indeed relevant, and mainly to the Israelis. He is about as effective as a powderpuff as far as benefit to the people of Palestine is concerned, but has been, in recent years, an almost essential punchbag for the Israelis, who know perfectly well that he has about as much control over events in Palestine as my Granny has. There is a [very] small glimmer of hope that an escalating tide of hate and violence won't lead inexorably to global conflict; ALL interference ---on behalf of, or against one side or the other---must be stopped. I know that the opinions expressed will be dismissed by many; this is inevitable, for the situation described is an extremely unlikely outcome. As I say, a VERY small glimmer of hope.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: musicmick
Date: 23 Jan 02 - 01:40 AM

McGrath can take some Kampfort in his protestations of peaceful objectivity, but the rest of us undeserving victims can spot his arguments for what they are. Just on the off chance that he isn't so one sided as he appears, I'll state this one more time, and real loud, so he can hear it without his glasses. THE ISSUE IS NOT, AND NEVER HAS BEEN, THE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIANS TO ESTABLISH THEIR OWN STATE. THE ISSUE IS, AS IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN, THE RIGHT OF THE JEWS TO ESTABLISH A STATE. IN POLL AFTER POLL, ISRAELIS HAVE EXPRESSED WIL:LINGNESS TO ACCEPT A SEPARATE PALESTINIAN STATE. WHAT THEY DEMAND IS SECURE BORDERS, NOT AN UNREASONABLE REQUEST IN LIGHT OF THE FIFTYTHREE YEAR HISTORY OF WAR AND TERRORISM LAUNCHED BY THOSE WHO DID NOT, DO NOT AND WILL NEVER ACCEPT A JEWISH STATE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. Was that legible?


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Jan 02 - 09:48 PM

I think this might be the quote that is referred to there (thanks to the magic of the Mudcat search engine when I asked it to look for non-violent resistance):

"Maybe somehow something fresh will come out of this.I dream of a Palestinian Gandhi, who can get his or her people to realise that non-violent resistance would be more effective than stone throwing, if carried through with the same degree of willingness to die before giving in that the stone throwers have demonstrated.

I dream of him or her emerging maybe from the group of people who haven't had a mention so far here, the Arabic Israelis, the ones who managed to stay in their homeland, at least nine of whom were shot by their fellow citizens in the Israeli army. And I am sure that if that were to happen, there would be some Jewish Israelis who would be willing to risk death beside them."

Not quite the same thing as our friend suggested, is it, musicmic? Regardless of whether you agree with it or not.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,I'm not Chomsky
Date: 22 Jan 02 - 09:39 PM

musicmic,

If you take the time to read through the dozens and dozens of postings that McGrath of Harlow has written about this conflict, you will quickly see that everything the Israelis have done since before 1948 has been an act of agression against the Palestinian people and every act of the Palestinians, from rock throwing to the worst terrorist deeds has been brought on by Israeli aggression.

At one point, McGrath referred to a terrorist murder as an act of "non-violent resistance."

Attempting to argue with him is pointless. He's less openminded than Osama bin Laden.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Jan 02 - 09:07 PM

I'm reminded of the way that so many English people over the years when it came to talking about Ireland, kept on falling back into attacks on Americans for sending money to the IRA, (or Gadaffi, or whoever), and turned their attention away from what was happening in Northern Ireland, and the process by which it kept happening, and kept on spilling over into England.

Not sending arms into a battle zone, especially to people who are armed to the teeth, indeed seems a good idea - but people are always going to be able to get them from somewhere, and cutting off the supply to either or both sides isn't going to end the bloodshed. (In the last resort, you don't need advanced weapons to kill large numnbers of people.)

In any conflict of this nature, in Ireland or the Holy Land, until the cycle of reprisal and counter reprisal can be broken, the mutual slaughter will go on and on for generations.

Concentrating on blaming the other side is concentrating on the wrong things. There are people on both sides who are totally innocent who have been slaughtered and maimed and had their lives destroyed. And there are people on both sides who are to blame and who, intentionally or not, are acting in a sort of nightmare partnership.

Objective? But surely, musicmic, you complained in your previous posts was about people who weren't involved personally talking about these things. Too objective, you might have said.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: musicmick
Date: 22 Jan 02 - 05:51 PM

i HOPE THAT McGrath of Harlow doesn't mind my questioning his or her objectivity. The Wealthy Arab nations have been supporting the Palestian cause since 1948. They have supplied arms, armies and almost unlimited funds to continue the hostilities. The Soviet Union supplied arms, planes, tanks and advisors to the Arab states involved in the wars since shortly after the Suez Canal war in 1956. The funding for the terrorists does not come from the impoverished Palestinian people. It is oil money and it originates in the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Yemen. When McGrath from Harlow starts condemning the fiftythree years of aggression against the Jewish state, I will pay a little more attention to his or her remarks. I am a life long leftist, but I am disturbed that my fellow travelers react, only when Israel retaliates for an attack. Being open minded is all well and good but not so open minded that your brains fall out.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: musicmick
Date: 22 Jan 02 - 05:47 PM

i HOPE THAT McGrath of Harlow doesn't mind my questioning his or her objectivity. The Wealthy Arab nations have been supporting the Palestian cause since 1948. They have supplied arms, armies and almost unlimited funds to continue the hostilities. The Soviet Union supplied arms, planes, tanks and advisors to the Arab states involved in the wars since shortly after the Suez Canal war in 1956. The funding for the terrorists does not come from the impoverished Palestinian people. It is oil money and it originates in the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Yemen. When McGrath from Harlow starts condemning the fiftythree years of aggression against the Jewish state, I will pay a little more attention to his or her remarks. I am a life long leftist, but I am disturbed that my fellow travelers react, only when Israel retaliates for an attack. Being open minded is all well and good but not so open minded that your brains fall out.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Jan 02 - 04:33 PM

"It doesn't take much strength of character to suggest that Israel stop its harsh retaliation for Palestinian based terrorist attacks, when the suggestion comes from the safety of distance and lack of familial or national kinship."

For those people in Israel who say this it does require enormous strength of character, as it does for those people in the Palestinian territories, or Arabs in Israel, or who say the same thing in reverse. And there are such people.

Those from outside have no right to express their support for such people? Maybe if that were also to apply to the people who declare their fervent support for those with the guns and the bombs and the gunships and the bulldozers, and who express that support in tangible form by supplying arms and assistance, that might be a good idea

For thirty years we had atrocities and reprisals in the country I live in, and the same justifications were given for carrying them on. I was working in a pacifist newspaper and I remember we had a bomb outside, and noone ever knew which side planted it.

And the reprisals always made things worse, and much of the time no doubt they were intended to. The purpose of the atrocity was to provoke the reprisal, and the purpose of the reprisal was to provoke the counter-reprisal. Talk about deterring the other side was a load of hooey, and everyone knew that.

And in the end for the most part we've got past that. Or at least I hope we have, because there's no certainty about it. Some day there will be peace in the Holy Land. Every reprisal, by either side puts that day further and further away.


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Subject: Clinton in the Middle East
From: GUEST,Feder
Date: 22 Jan 02 - 02:36 PM

On his current visit to the Middle East, former-President Bill Clinton has met with the leaders of Israel and Arab countries including Jordan and Egypt.

However, he has refused to meet with Arafat.

Love him or hate him for other reasons, it must be recognized that no American president ever did more than Clinton to bring Israel and the Palestinians to a peace settlement. His refusal to meet with Arafat is an obvious indicator of who Clinton blames for the failure of that effort.

Furthermore, it is yet more evidence that Arafat has, indeed, made himself irrelevant.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: musicmick
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 03:30 AM

It doesn't take much stregnth of charecter to suggest that Israel stop its harsh retaliation for Palestinian based terrorist attacks, when the suggestion comes from the safety of distance and lack of familial or national kinship. Israel has, on more than one occasion, proved itself able to destroy its enemies. That it has not done so, is evidence of its desire for coexistance with its neighbors, in spite of their recurring efforts to destroy the Jewish state. Israel has never opposed a Palestinian state. The opposition to that state was, and is, an Arab refusal to allow a seperate Jewish state. Israel is not a rogue state nor is it an outsider, colonizing monolith. It was founded by the same fiat that founded the same Palestinian state that pan-Arabism fought against and then accused Israel of subverting. The "underdogs" and "victims" that so many of you are championing are the very terrorists that you fear. If the attack on 9/11 did anything, it showed the world what the Israelis are dealing with. I am, still, resolved that the centuries old exploitation of the Palestinian peasents should cease and that these long time peons of the Arab world should have a state of their own (hopefully, with an egalitarian division of land). But, I am not altruistic enough to sacrifice my people's lives to accomplish that end. As I previously stated, unless you are offering to place yourself or your families in peril, I find your "solutions" alternately offensive and laughable.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 13 Jan 02 - 02:01 PM

Arafat must go. The PLO must go. A Palestinian state must be imposed. Israeli borders must be imposed. Jerusalem must be an international city and the capitol of both or neither. There will be a small "right of returns" as a token of goodwill or whatever. Many refugees must be accepted by other countries. Americans have to quit going to Israel and taking up space and water there. No one will like it. The alternative is for us all to get burned to a crisp. mg


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Feder
Date: 13 Jan 02 - 10:05 AM

I think this article, from Friday's Washington Post, sheds a lot of light on Arafat's duplicity and the true nature of his corrupt and repressive regime.

By Charles Krauthammer Friday, January 11, 2002; Page A21

What does it take for the world to acknowledge the obvious truth that Yasser Arafat has no intention of making real peace? How much incontrovertible evidence is required before one admits that the Oslo "peace" was a fraud and a deception? Are 50 tons of smuggled weaponry insufficient to demonstrate that the truce the United States is seeking to establish would be nothing more than a breathing space for Arafat and the terrorists he supports to rearm, regroup and prepare for the next, more explosive phase of the war he began on Sept. 28, 2000?

The weapons were on the ship Israel intercepted en route from Iran to Gaza. The ship's captain has been a member of Arafat's Fatah for 25 years. He is an officer in the Palestinian navy. His ship was purchased by the Palestinian Authority. His instructions came from Arafat's arms paymaster.

Arafat is shocked -- shocked! -- by these revelations. Comically, he has ordered an investigation. This will rival Hitler's investigation of the Reichstag fire. Palestine is a nasty police state where, if you make a sideways crack about Arafat in the men's room of the local cafe, you find yourself arrested within hours by one of Arafat's eight separate security forces. To believe that a $100 million arms shipment could have been made on anything less than Arafat's orders is to know nothing about the Palestinian revolution.

The ship's cargo is a candy store of terror. Two tons of explosives. Countless machine guns. Fourteen-hundred mortars. And dozens of Katyusha rockets, the quintessential weapon of terror: They go 12 miles and have no accuracy, perfect for random killing in Tel Aviv.

Arafat's strategy is crystal clear. After Sept. 11, after the American rout of the Taliban, after the Dec. 1-2 terror bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa, he came under enormous international pressure to restrain the violence.

So, he orders his terrorist allies to cool it. Temporarily. (Hamas announced it was suspending suicide bombing "until further notice.") He lies low, plays nice, tries to sucker the Americans with a few low-level arrests. Meanwhile, he leaves the entire Hamas infrastructure intact and orders $100 million worth of weapons -- obvious preparation for war, later.

This is plain as day. Yet the State Department professes puzzlement. "We have told him [Arafat] we need a full explanation."

Need a full explanation? I can save State the time and the translator's fees. Arafat is embarked on a strategy of war -- and has been ever since he signed the September 1993 Oslo "peace" accords on the White House lawn. Don't take it from me. Take it from the mouth of one of the leading Palestinian moderates, Faisal Husseini. Shortly before his fatal heart attack last year, he openly admitted that Oslo was "a Trojan Horse . . . just a temporary procedure . . . just a step towards something bigger."

That something bigger is "Palestine from the river to the sea," Husseini said, i.e., from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. That means eradicating Israel. Oslo? Just a way of "ambushing the Israelis and cheating them." How? Oslo gave the PLO an army, autonomy, money and territory -- the perfect base from which to fight for the ultimate eradication of Israel.

There is nothing new here. This strategy has been the declared PLO position ever since it adopted the "Phased Plan" in Cairo in 1974. Phase 1: Accept any territory offered of whatever size within Palestine. Phase 2: Make it the forward base for the war to destroy Israel.

Our refusal to acknowledge this overwhelmingly obvious strategy is one of the great acts of self-delusion in diplomatic history. European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana says that he hopes the weapons ship incident will not scuttle peace talks. The peace efforts, says a U.S. official, will not be derailed. "The Zinni mission will continue, ship or no ship."

This is madness. The ship is not an incident. The ship is not an accident. The ship is an announcement, inadvertent and therefore indisputable, of Arafat's duplicitous intentions: a temporary truce -- as he girds for war, a far wider, deadlier, more explosive war.

What to do? Dare to face the truth. Arafat is not a peace partner. Any truce Gen. Anthony Zinni gets him to sign will have the same durability as the dozens of truces Arafat signed while destroying Lebanon in the 1970s.

If we want peace, Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have to go. They must be de-legitimized, de-recognized, de-funded by the United States. And by Europe. And if that does not bring them down, Israel should be allowed to go in and do the job itself.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: robomatic
Date: 11 Jan 02 - 07:57 PM

I repeat what I said before Bill in NY occluded the space:

There IS a Palestinian State now in existence. It is called Jordan.

Setting aside an additional chunk of land in the West Bank with no access to the Med and scant and diminishing water resources and limiting the width of Israel to Rhode-Island dimensions is a recipe for future disaster.

There were Christian and Muslim Arabs living in Israel for years, since the beginning of Israel. All they had to do was become Israeli citizens and vote like everyone else. The Palestinians who are under occupation should be given the choice of doing the same or being relocated somewhere else, like JORDAN. Many thousands of Jews originally living in Middle Eastern and African countries have already made the move, losing everything they owned.

The Arab powers have cynically denied Palestinians the same options since 1948. It's time to break this issue open and get it done.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Bennet Zurofsky
Date: 11 Jan 02 - 10:34 AM

Arafat's history as a murderous terrorist is well-known. It nevertheless remains true that one can only make peace by negotiating with one's enemies. Unless Israel is going to permanently turn itself into a completely undemocratic state which either ethnically cleanses itself of its Palestinian population, or imposes an apartheid-like system of oppression upon that population, it must sooner or later come to terms with the Palestinians regarding the creation of an independent, economically-viable state with internationally recognized borders. In order to do that Israel must negotiate with someone and no one other than Arafat seems able to even pretend to be the appropriate person.

The recent Hamas action does, indeed, demonstrate that Hamas either does not listen to Ararfat or is getting a clandestine green light from him. Similarly, the captured arms shipment seems strong evidence that Arafat's word cannot be trusted.

I have grave reservations about Israel's response to recent events, which seems to have included, among other things, the bulldozing of fifty Palestinian homes and the destruction of the only operating Palestinian airport, but I am frankly unable to state what I believe they should do (although I cannot understand how destroying civilian homes helps their cause).

Sharon's strategy, giving him the benefit of the doubt as to whether he has any desire for peace himself, continues to strike me as being intended to put the squeeze on the Palestinians so that they will have no choice but to somehow bring the Hamas people under control and on-board in negotiations. Arafat may or may not be able to do this. It is more than coincidence that relative calm had reigned for several weeks after he called for it and took some other actions to prevent continued attacks upon Israel. It is also no coincidence, however, that the latest Hamas attacks occured just when the American mediator thought he might be able to make some progress.

If Arafat cannot do it, then perhaps the continuing pressure upon all of the Paliestinians will bring some other leader to the fore who can. In any event, I believe that is the Israeli hope.

However, the strength and nature of Israel's pressures upon the Palestinians, and the continuation of its settlement policies in occupied territory, may simply backfire, hardening Palestinian resistance and transforming Israel into a State that only a zealot could love. I pray that doesn't happen.

There can only be Peace if both sides are willing to make an agreement that will permit Peace. We have been tantalizingly close several times over the last few years, but since the Clinton-led negotiations broke down in the summer of 1990, it often looks like the Palestinians have agreed to commit national suicide in martyr's garb and that the inevitable reaction of Israel may cause it to join that suicide pact.

The question is not really whether Arafat is irrelevant. The real question is: What should Israel do? Unfortunately, I have not heard any good answers to that question in a long time.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Gervase
Date: 11 Jan 02 - 05:09 AM

Careful there, Kevin!


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jan 02 - 08:09 PM

Who supplies the arms to the people doing most of the killing in this horrible conflict?


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Feder
Date: 10 Jan 02 - 06:25 PM

This article is from the Wall Street Journal. Sorry, I don't know how to do the links.

THE ARAFAT I KNOW Ion Mihai Pacepa Wall Street Journal, January 10, 2002

(Gen. Pacepa was the highest ranking intelligence officer ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc. He is author of Red Horizons [1987], a memoir.)

Last week, Israel seized a boat carrying 50 tons of Iranian-made mortars, long-range missiles and anti-tank rockets destined for the Palestinian Authority. The vessel, Karine A., is owned by the Palestinian Authority and its captain and several crew are members of the Palestinian naval police. 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…when he was being financed and manipulated by the KGB. In the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel humiliated two of the Soviet Union's Arab client states, Egypt and Syria. A couple of months later, the head of Soviet foreign intelligence, Gen. Aleksandr Sakharovsky, landed in Bucharest. According to him, the Kremlin had charged the KGB to "repair the prestige" of "our Arab friends" by helping them organize terrorist operations that would humiliate Israel. The main KGB asset in this joint venture was a "devoted Marxist-Leninist": Yasser Arafat, co-founder of Fatah, the Palestinian military force.

Gen. Sakharovsky asked us…to help the KGB bringing Arafat and some of his fedayeen fighters secretly to the Soviet Union…to be indoctrinated and trained. During that same year, the Soviets maneuvered to have Arafat named chairman of the PLO… 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!" In the years when Gen. Sakharovsky was the chief Soviet intelligence adviser in Romania, he used to preach…that "the bourgeoisie" was the "rabid dog of imperialism," adding that there was "just one way to deal with a rabid dog: Shoot it!" He was responsible for killing 50,000 Romanians.

In 1972, the Kremlin established a "socialist division of labor" for supporting international terrorism…A year later, a Romanian intelligence adviser…in Beirut reported that 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.

"St-stop th-them!" Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu yelled in his nervous stutter… 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, and Ceausescu had become deathly afraid that his name might be implicated… It was already too late to stop the Abu Jihad commandos. After a couple of hours we learned they had seized the participants at a diplomatic reception organized by the Saudi embassy in Khartoum and were asking for Sirhan's release. 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…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.

In January 1978, the PLO representative in London was assassinated…evidence [showed] that the crime was committed by the infamous terrorist Abu Nidal, who had recently broken with Arafat… "That wasn't a Nidal operation. It was ours," I was told by Ali Hassan Salameh, Arafat's liaison officer for Romania. Even Ceausescu's adviser to Arafat…was taken by surprise. "Why kill your own people?" Col. Constantin Olcescu asked. "We want to mount some spectacular operations against the PLO, making it look as if they had been organized by Palestinian extremist groups that accuse the chairman of becoming too conciliatory and moderate," Salameh explained. According to him, Arafat even asked the PLO Executive Committee to sentence Nidal to death for assassinating the PLO representative in London.

Arafat has made a political career by pretending that he has not been involved in his own terrorist acts… James Welsh, a former intelligence analyst for the National Security Agency, has told a number of 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…

For over 30 years the U.S. government has considered Arafat a key to achieving peace in the Middle East. But for over 20 years, Washington also believed that Ceausescu was the only Communist ruler who could open a breech in the Iron Curtain. During the Cold War era, two American presidents went to Bucharest to pay him tribute. In November 1989, when the Romanian Communist Party re-elected Ceausescu, he was congratulated by the United States. Three weeks later, he was accused of genocide and executed, dying as a symbol of communist tyranny.

It is high time the U.S. end the Arafat fetish as well. President Bush's current war on international terrorism provides an excellent opportunity.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Feder
Date: 10 Jan 02 - 06:19 PM

Bill in NY may not be the real William Saffire. Then again, you're here at Mudcat.

In any case, Saffire's article is excellent.

And today's news that Hamas has murdered four Israelis, inside of Israel proper, and will no longer respect the ceasefire called for by Arafat would seem to indicate that Arafat is, indeed, irrelevant.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: DougR
Date: 10 Jan 02 - 05:49 PM

That's an interesting article. I agree with Bennett and robomatic though.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: SharonA
Date: 10 Jan 02 - 04:59 PM

"Is Arafat irrelevant?"

No, he is not my elephant.

;^)


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jan 02 - 04:44 PM

Another twist by this odd sort of troll. No telling where this kind of thing might end up.

Thanks for pointing it out Bennett Z, those of us who don't read the American papers much might have been taken in, which was of course the intention.

The silly thing is, this sort of thing stops the issues involved from being explored. I suppose that is very likely the intention too.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: robomatic
Date: 10 Jan 02 - 04:34 PM

Second that, Bennet. The points in the articles might be relevant, but it would be more honest to refer people to the article with a link, and at least appear to be responsive to original posters on the thread.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Bennet Zurofsky
Date: 10 Jan 02 - 02:59 PM

Has William Safire really joined our discussion under the nom de plume GUEST,Bill in NY, or is the above posting simple plagiarism?

If William Safire has decided to become a Mudcatter, then welcome, I am sure you can offer a lot to many discussions.

People who simply post articles from the New York Times without further comment or even an acknowledgement of the source are most unwelcome in my book. I suspect that the latter is responsible for the posting above, which is nothing more than a copy of today's column by the estimable Mr. Saffire.

-Bennet


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Bill in NY
Date: 10 Jan 02 - 02:46 PM

The radical Islamic ayatollahs of Iran were responsible for dispatching the shipload of 62 rockets and antitank missiles, along with 1,400 mortar shells, to their proxy warriors in the Middle East. Included were 3,000 pounds of powerful new C-4 explosives to be used by suicide bombers against civilians.

The clear purpose of the 50 tons of Iranian arms, intercepted by Israeli commandos last week, was to help Yasir Arafat's coalition of terror win Iran's undeclared war on Israel. While the U.S. and Israel have for a decade been deluding themselves with a "peace process," Iran and its Palestinian proxies have been gaining ground in their war process.

Caught red-handed, Arafat is denying any knowledge of what his chief lieutenants and other terror partners have been doing. His pretense of innocence calls to mind Chico Marx's line to a husband when caught in bed with the man's wife: "Who you gonna believe — me or your own eyes?"

The arms were marked in the Iranian language, Farsi, loaded aboard just off Iran's shoreline, packed in watertight containers to be transferred to small boats and floated ashore in Gaza. The ship, the Karine A, was purchased by the Palestinian Authority's chief arms buyer for $400,000 14 months ago, just after Arafat rejected President Bill Clinton's Camp David offer and launched his terror campaign.

The Karine A's captain, Omar Akawi, a loyal officer in Arafat's naval smuggling operation, promptly confessed the damning details of the purchase and transport of the weaponry, giving the lie to the terrorists' initial denials. He told reporters he thought the mission would be aborted after Sept. 11, especially after Arafat's "order" last month to end bloody bombings, but when his Palestinian boss last spoke to him from Greece, no such change of orders came.

This proves to all but the most determinedly blind that the Iran-Arab terror coalition, even with Osama bin Laden's operation routed, has every intention of winning its war.

What brought the radical Persians and Palestinians together? After all, Arafat sided with Saddam Hussein in the long Iran-Iraq war in the 80's, and was Iraq's cheerleader in the short U.S.-Iraq war a decade ago.

Following Saddam's Persian Gulf war defeat, Arafat switched his allegiance to Iran. The ayatollahs then armed Arafat's Hezbollah allies in Lebanon and became what the U.S. State Department last year labeled the most active state sponsor of worldwide terrorism.

European leaders are embarrassed because they recently gave Palestinians millions to feed the starving — and now find that their money went for C-4 explosive to kill the innocent. (Actually, Europe's diverted funds went a long way; thanks to Iranian subsidy, for only $10 million Arafat received arms valued at nearly five times that.)

More central to America's security, however, is the strategic reality revealed by the capture of the Karine A: Tehran has again shown itself to be the world arsenal of terror. Iran's ayatollahs have been escalating their sponsorship of terrorist war — yesterday on the "Great Satan" of America, today on Israeli Jews, tomorrow on the whole non-Islamic world.

Iran's Hashemi Rafsanjani reminded us recently of the glorious day "when the Islamic world acquires atomic weapons." He acknowledged that in a nuclear exchange the nations of Islam would suffer damage, but only one great nuclear blast "would destroy Israel completely."

Two terrorist-sponsoring nations are racing to acquire nuclear weapons. One is Iraq, whose scientists already have the know-how. The other is Iran, whose nuclear development is being recklessly aided by President Vladimir Putin of Russia, despite feeble American protests.

Both Iran and Iraq have restive populations longing for freedom from political and religious repression. In conversations over the years, the Israeli leaders Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon have said they thought radical Iran would be the greater danger; Americans like me consider Saddam's threat more immediate.

Iranians and Iraqis require liberation before their dictators gain nuclear superpower. Target practice against terrorists in Yemen or Somalia may buy Washington time, but George Bush's big decisions are (1) how quickly we pre-empt before being forced to retaliate, and (2) which major terrorist sponsor comes first.

Saddam is in the lead, but the militant ayatollahs are closing fast.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,colwyn dane
Date: 27 Dec 01 - 08:35 PM

Ariel Sharon won the office of prime minister 6 February 2001, with the largest vote margin ever in Israeli politics:
62.6% to 37.2%.

The last Germany election before Hitler came to power was On 6 November 1932,
the voters of Germany gave the Nazis 11,737,000 votes,(33%),
and 196 seats in the Reichstag out of a total of 559.

Hitler was never elected as Chancellor,he was appointed by President Hindenburg on 30 January 1933.

My 2percent for today.
CD.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Bill in NY
Date: 27 Dec 01 - 04:36 PM

One more thing, Little Hawk's noble essay does not negate the fact that his earlier post did infer that Israelis, by electing Sharon, were on a par with the Germans who elected Hitler and his Nazis. A despicable implication.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,Bill in NY
Date: 27 Dec 01 - 04:31 PM

Yasser Arafat is destined for the history books as the man who squandered Palestine. And far from being the passing conventional wisdom of the day, the viewpoint that a Palestinian nation was fumbled not for principle but for Arafat's refusal to be a serious leader is growing more permanent with each moment that Arafat and the Palestinian Authority punt on the tough choices. It is disheartening to realize now that the faith placed in Arafat and the patience shown him by the international community have amounted to little and that we are closer to permanently writing Arafat off than redeeming him.

Still, in all likelihood, there will be a Palestinian state. It will consist of the Gaza Strip and a majority of the land of the West Bank. It will happen when Palestinians realize that the State of Israel is a permanent and just fixture in the Middle East and the world, that it will hold Jerusalem as its capital, and that it has earned these rights not simply through military force but by historic reality and embracing the ideals of democracy and plurality that create open, prosperous, and stable nations.

Whether Yasser Arafat and the PLO play a role in this state remains to be seen, depending solely on their willingness to fight extremism within their own community and declare unequivocally their siding with the West against Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist forces in the Middle East.

Until this moment of clarity dawns upon the Palestinian people, though, talk of a Palestinian nation is dead in the water. The Bush administration's forward leaning policy pronouncements on supporting Palestinian statehood and open reference to Palestine while addressing the United Nations are now all past tense as the president and his team find themselves backtracking away from Arafat and with little choice but to be at least sympathetic to Israel's own war against terrorism that may now include Arafat's Palestinian Authority.

The painful, uncomfortable truth is that Arafat has been playing both sides for years. In English he is a willing partner in peace, a statesman protecting his people and hoping to end bloodshed; but when speaking to Arab audiences, Arafat is the pistol-wearing guerrilla of old, filled with venom for Israel and fuelling the worst of Palestinian blood libel against the Jewish state. When the cameras are on, Arafat is saddened and bewildered by the terror committed in his people's name - whether a suicide bombing in a Tel Aviv disco or Jerusalem pizzeria, or the Sept. 11 attack on US targets - but he seems quite unwilling, privately, to choke off the Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Fatah Hawk terrorists who work within Palestinian-controlled land, and he praises suicide attacks as a heroic deed to turn one's body into a bomb. The same Arafat who paid a shiva call to Yitzhak Rabin's widow after his assassination by extremist Jews also lets Palestinian university students build shrines celebrating suicide bombings in Jerusalem, threatens international news organizations that report Palestinian revelry after the Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, and within three weeks of the terror attacks issued a joint statement with Hamas calling for (continued) intifada and resistance to Israel.

In short, statehood would reward someone who has yet to demonstrate absolute, genuine, lasting, eager, and public commitments to peace, tolerance, and compromise.

The Palestinian arguments are well known. They have publicly accepted Israel and seek only to return to their own land and to regain Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. But the Middle East is littered with empty words and gestures - on all sides - and the only currency in pursuit of peace and statehood are deeds and action. When, in early August, the Palestinian Authority invited Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Palestinian Liberation Front-Abu Abbas Faction, Abu Nidal and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command - all designated as foreign terrorist organizations by the United States - to potentially join the Palestinian government, it spoke volumes about vacuous entreaties to peace.

When Arafat ignores intelligence about coming terror attacks aimed at Israel or turns the arrest and detention of terrorists into no more than a 72-hour inconvenience - which has become the Palestinian Authority's standard procedure - he forfeits all credibility as a peace partner and responsible leader. And when an Israeli demand for seven consecutive days of peace before serious negotiations can begin - a week without suicide attacks, car bombs, or snipers targeting Jewish citizens - is dismissed by the Palestinian Authority with some weak equivocation about Israeli troops remaining in areas vital to the nation's security, as if soldiers at checkpoints and confrontations with bombers at work share any parallel with Palestinians blowing up 15-year-old girls or shooting commuters on buses, it is clear evidence that Arafat and his advisers remain hostage to propaganda rather than determined peacemakers.

Thankfully the White House has shifted gear from calling for and recognizing a Palestinian state to understanding that statehood comes as a follow-on to calm in the streets, open acceptance of Israeli security rights, and a real peace. If the events of the past three months have taught the United States anything it should be that cutting short-term deals - in this case Palestinian statehood to demonstrate US bona fides to the Arab world - does little long-term good. In 1991 we embraced Syria as part of an anti-Saddam Hussein coalition; earlier this year Syria hosted a gathering of radical Palestinian groups who agreed to resist and undo any peace agreement with Israel. In the 1980s we supplied Saddam Hussein's military for the nation's war against Iran, only to see him first invade Kuwait and later use his army to crush a post-Gulf War, US-encouraged uprising. And between 1979 and 1989 we armed a ragtag group of Muslim mujahideen, successfully liberating Afghanistan and accelerating the collapse of the Soviet Union, only to agree to disengage from Afghanistan to appease the Soviets and in the process loose the chaotic, ignorant forces that birthed Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban. Deals of convenience have an alarming way of coming back to haunt us - in intelligence circles it's called blowback - and supporting the creation of a Palestinian state under current circumstances falls squarely into this category.

That said, Israel is not without fault and should not consider its moral high ground all that lofty. For starters, building and expanding settlements in the West Bank even while claiming to want a peace agreement with the Palestinians is disingenuous and unhelpful - the criticism of Yasser Arafat playing two sides of the same coin should come to mind. Using US-supplied F-16 jets and artillery to respond to bombings and snipers seems disproportionate, and surely the Israeli Defense Force has tactics that are effective without being politically inflammatory. Though not completely responsible for current violence, Ariel Sharon's visit last year to the Temple Mount area housing the Dome of the Rock has to be one of the more ill-advised and boneheadedly self-centered political acts of modern times, the equivalent of putting out a fire with gasoline. The general failure of peace negotiations resides with many players, and Israel should accept its share of responsibility, though multiple suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa during the past weeks surely obscures any wider failures.

Worth remembering is that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak placed on the table at Wye Plantation last year a plan that would have given Palestinians the Gaza Strip, almost total control over the West Bank, territorial concessions to connect the two areas, a reasonable role in the life of Jerusalem, and unquestioned statehood. Arafat wanted more, suddenly making the return of thousands, perhaps millions, of Palestinians to Israel-proper his ''ne plus ultra.'' It finally dawned on Barak that, for Arafat, Israeli concessions would never be enough and, in fact, what the Palestinian chairman was aiming for was a way to diplomatically or militarily weaken the Jewish state's security and viability.

Since then, Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have done little to reestablish their place as partners in a peace process, and the State Department's PLO Commitments Compliance Act Report now finds the PLO failed to call consistently on Palestinians to refrain from violence and did not make an effort to discipline Palestinian Authority or PLO officials who instigated or engaged in violence.

At a time when the United States is asking nations around the world to be principled and to take a stand against terrorism in their midst, Arafat has continued to pursue the path of least resistance, avoiding hard choices and confrontations that would necessitate taking Hamas and Islamic Jihad head on.

Ten years ago, Arafat may have chosen the political course to statehood, but he has lacked either the sincerity or will to hew to it and by avoiding tough decisions he has imperiled his people's hope for nationhood. The path is still open to the Palestinians - when Hamas and Islamic Jihad are completely shut down, from their militant operations to the clinics and charities used for political cover, when peace and coexistence are pledged in both English and Arabic, and when Israel is assured it has a partner and not a modern-day Trojan horse to share a border with - but following it may come without Arafat. Having lost five wars and been propagandized throughout the Middle East, the Palestinian people now have to commit to a homeland that coexists with Israel as their ultimate goal and then voice that ideal above all other calls for violence, obstinacy, or delay.

The good news for Arafat and the Palestinians, who now risk a Hamas-led rebellion within their own ranks, is that the current state of world affairs offers them a real opportunity. A series of steps from a firm cease-fire, dialogue with Israel, the decapitation of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorists, demonstrable support for the antiterrorism coalition closing in on the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, and the Arab world's acceptance of Israel's legitimacy will put a Palestinian homeland at the top of the international community's priorities. Then the Bush administration, the United Nations, the European Union, and the world in general can dust off a plan for Palestinian statehood. But not until then.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: robomatic
Date: 27 Dec 01 - 03:58 PM

Little Hawk - Seems to me you have your own geo/cultural/economic agenda which is fine, but that observation could've been posted to any BS thread in the mud demesne.

If you sit in your little spaceship 10 million miles out from Earth you can damn 'em all and let God sort 'em out. Rhyming democracy with hypocrisy was not your shining hour (or maybe it was).

GUEST, LO to RA: I am not going to back every Israeli action regardless of consequences. But overall, Israel has practised restraint and proportionate response, the trappings of a democratic society. I too am concerned with the Irish situation, and while there are similarities, I don't think they are point for point the same. Nowhere is Ireland being asked to accept borders that make it a dozen miles wide in its center with long term problems for a proposed Palestinian State which has no coastline and inadequate long term water supply.

And there has been a Palestinian state in the Middle East for some time now. It is called Jordan.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Dec 01 - 03:25 PM

Well...

To criticize and condemn Naziism (which I do!) is not to be anti-German.

To criticize and condemn exessively aggressive policies by the present Israeli government is not to be anti-Jewish or even anti-Israeli.

To criticize and condemn terrorist attacks is not to be anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian.

It is the systematic use of violence, the belief that "might makes right", the assured certainty of one's own cultural superiority over one's neighbours, and the general lack of goodwill toward one's neighbours that I am objecting to.

It's clear to me that both Israel and its Palestinian and Arab opponents have erred in all these respects, and continue to do so.

There are simple solutions to all these problems, but they are so radical that people will not even give them consideration...at least those in power will not. Too much money and control would be lost to them.

Thus, the ordinary public everywhere continues to live in a dangerous, violent, insecure, and corrupt world...when we could live in equality, tolerance, and peace...and cultural diversity without prejudice.

I will not cheerlead the murderous efforts of either Israel or its opponents to annihilate each other. They are both caught up in a dispute that ought never to have arisen in the first place.

If wealth were not distributed in a horrendously unequal fashion in this world today, you would not see these conflicts arising and dragging on endlessly.

My problem is not with Jews, Arabs, Germans, or any other identifiable cultural group. It is with institutionalized violence, organized murder, and the facade of patriotism that it proudly wears to justify its ends.

My comments about democracy were merely cautionary ones...in that one cannot simply rest on his laurels and assume that the superficial outward mechanics of democracy will guarantee social justice. Not when the system chooses and controls the candidates! Not when the people who are running the great game (worldwide) own and control the mass media. How difficult can it really be for them to manipulate the public, control the elections, and pursue their hidden agenda?...which has nothing whatsoever to do with either human rights or true democracy.

It has to do with money, power and control. "Lord of the Rings" actually isn't too far off, folks. The One Ring is military/financial power...and we are all presently living under the hand of Mordor.

Turn on your TV and gaze into the eye of Sauron. Recognize it for what it is...madness. Madness at the top (nuclear missiles) spawns madness at the bottom (suicide pilots). When the ones at the bottom commit some insane act like the attack on the WTC, then it gives the ones at the top a good excuse to tighten the chains they already have you and me bound in...and further reduce our civil liberties, and further extend their control over our lives.

The Arab-Israeli dispute is just a local symptom of a much greater worldwide program of domination and inequality, and ordinary Israelis and Palestinians pay the price for it every day of their lives...as do we all.

So don't waste your breath by trying to cast me as an anti-Semite. I am simply anti-totalitarian, and you are in the same boat I am. You are a victim of the same giant machine. It is so big that only a worldwide catastrophe of dimensions or circumstances as yet unseen could possibly bring it down. Its policies tend to lead inevitably in that direction anyway, so we may yet live (or die) to see it.

In the meantime, I try to be as good a human being as I can, and not harm anyone. The only thing I have jurisdiction over is my own life, and that's as it was meant to be. A pity that those in power can't see fit to do the same, and serve instead of dominate.

Now, depending on how much you take the status quo for granted...you will either write me off as "crazy" or you will get what I'm talking about. Either way...you live in chains...whether or not you choose to see them.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST, - Logged out, to remain anon
Date: 27 Dec 01 - 10:16 AM

That then, is fair enough..I now see where youre coming from.

However, I must say that though I do suppost Israels right to defend itself, & condemn attacks against her at least as strongly as I do her actions, the perception of many, INCLUDING myself, is that emploting a 21st century military agaonst a civilian-based terrorist organisation is VERY heavy-handed.

As someone with more than a passing interest in the Irish question, I suggest that situation there would not be at the stage it is now if the Brits had been seen to use a similar degree of firepower against the Republicans.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: musicmick
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 11:12 PM

The point that I am making is that Israeli reaction to an everpresent threat of terrorist attack has been, all things considered, rather guarded. The citizenry has not broken with the promise of a separate Palestine. The government has been draconian with Jews who desicrate Islamic shrines or who kill or harm Palestinian civilians. (Atroceties do occur but, when they do, the reaction of the government is swift and sure, which is not always a popular action to a people whose children are, regularly, endangered by Arab extremists) I dont know what steps you would take, were you under the gun. I suspect that you, like everyone else, would react to attacks with whatever steps were needed. The U.S. was attacked and responded by decimating a country because that country may have housed the financier of the attack. Israeli attacks have been on those exact areas that train their attackers. The IDF targets in response. Think Entebe. No one, outside of the radical right, wants this conflict unresolved. The Palestinians should have a state. They are a people who have never had their own nation. Their position, in the Arab world, has always been one of landless servitude. As a leftist, my sympathies are with the poor, the exploited, the traditionally downtrodden. But, I will not sacrifice my family so that their ends might be accomplished and, dear GUEST, unless you are prepared to sacrifice yours, I resent your suggestion that we let down our guard in such a hostile environment as a 53 year old war that shows no sign of ending. I wish you shalom as I wish it for my friends and, God knows, for my enemies. Mike


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST, - Logged out, to remain anon
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 09:26 PM

Musicmic...I'd be interested to hear what 'stand' you think I'm making? In what was do me, & the people you regard as being like me, 'ostriches of convenience'?

Your other comments I cant take issue with, but what you SEEM to be saying by both your words & the tone in which you put them (both posts), is that anyone who doesnt agree with Apache Gunships taking out Palestinian settlements, presumably in the hope of taking out the NEXT would be suicide bomber are "anti-zionists who disguise (them)selves as human rights activists"

Over to you...


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: robomatic
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 12:01 PM

I suspect that GUEST was merely taking Little Hawk's post to its logical conclusion. I did not take it at face value.

Neither did anything to address my original post, which was factually relevant, and I think those who know history will be able to say better than either Little Hawk or myself in what manner Hitler was elected and ruled, as if it mattered.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: musicmick
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 02:18 AM

Hey, GUEST (logged out to remain anon) History is no so convenient when it is contrary to your stand, aint it? Those others "at fault now or in the past" are precisely the stumbling blocks to a peaceful settlement. As soon as you and your fellow ostriches of convenience realize that the Islamic fundimentalists are no more interested in Palestinian rights than George Bush is in healthcare, we can begin a serious conversation on the fifty-three year old conflict. First, the fundimentalists' agenda is minimal. Their stated goal is the destruction of the Jewish state. Second, the conflict has raged all these years because the Arab world would not accept a Jewish state. Third, now, that there are Arab nations that are prepared to accept a Jewish state, the conflict continues because, to a sizeable number of Pan-Arabists the war will, and must, continue until the Jewish state is destroyed. Well, old buddy, we are not prepared to allow unanswered raids upon our civilian populace. I have no sympathy for those who target children for political statement. Wars have victims, of course, but these bastards actually go after the innocent and helpless. That you can equate their action with the retaliation to those actions, speaks volumes about your objectivity. Good Yontof. Mike Miller


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST, - Logged out, to remain anon
Date: 25 Dec 01 - 06:03 PM

Well, how wonderful to see that even on Christmas Day, of all days, there are people still willing to twist others words, indulge in name-calling, & criticise for not holding the same opinions as themselves...

Guest, I really can't believe thats an OPINION you hold, youre just a typical bloody troll....

& Musicmic, sorry, but just because there are others who are at fault now or have been in the past, doesnt excuse the fact that the Israelis are being EXTREMELY heavy-handed & recalcitrant now...


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: musicmick
Date: 25 Dec 01 - 03:39 PM

I am not a disinterested observer of the morass in Palestine. I was, for three years, a member of a kibbutz near Afula (about halfway between Haifa and Jerusalem). I am a supporter of the Jewish state. I believe that the Jewish people have a righteous claim to this land on grounds of original ownership (as defined historically), legality (as ordained by the United Nations in 1948, when the formation of a Palestinian state was opposed by the Arab League and the Palestinians, themselves) and morality in having produced the only democracy, civil rights, women's rights and organized workers' rights that area has ever known. I am proud to be a Jew and a Zionist. That said, I must add that I have never opposed a neighboring Palestinian state. For many reasons, some more altruistic than others, the vast majority of Israelis do not oppose an independent Palestine. Israelis do not want to be in a constant state of war. What the hell do you people think we are, nuts? What we do oppose is a state under the control of those sworn to end our existance. Egypt, today, is not such a state, nor is Jordan or, even Syria. Those Arab states are strong enough to control their borders and their fruitcakes (as we contain our merry band of zealots). Arafat is just not able to offer the security that Israel has a right to require of a recent enemy. If you anti-zionists who disguise yourselves as human rights activists want to end the conflict, why dont you urge the UN to guarantee the security of a region whose map they drew fifty three years ago? (Come to think of it, where were you Palestinian rights advocates all those years they were being exploited by Egyptian, Lebonese and Syrian absetee landlords, or is it only Jewish behavior that sticks in your craw?) Mike Miller musicmic@rcn.com


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Dec 01 - 02:58 PM

Thank you Little Hawk.

It's about time that someone recognized that Sharon and the Israelis are the equivalent of Hitler and the Germans.

Everyone knows, but is too afraid to say, that Jews are no different from Nazis.

You've made this a very happy Christmas day.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Dec 01 - 01:47 PM

So was Hitler.

"Democracy" is not necessarily a guarantee of decency or even of sanity, although it is still preferable to most (or all?) of the available alternatives. If a population is not morally or emotionally mature enough to make proper use of the possibilities that democracy puts in front of them, then grave trouble lies ahead. That is why we must all strive to raise our consciousness enough so that we can learn to live with and share with people whose cultural ideas may differ from our own...rather than live merely by survival of the most well-armed, rich, and ruthless over the rest...even when it is clothed in the name of "democracy"...which rhymes fairly nicely with "hypocrisy".

Blessed are the peacemakers. Merry Christmas.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: robomatic
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 07:04 PM

One of the other factors which is of great importance and is underweighted in this and other venues is the non-democratic organization and deep corruption of the Palestinian political structure (and other Arab-ruled countries). There is a plug in the effort to achieve peaceful change at the expense of so many of the current 'leadership' who would lose their nice living quarters and travel benefits.

The Arab world has long tolerated a controlled media which says far more terrible (and not related to truth) things about the West than the most jingoistic of Western reporters. And Arab youth has been raised on hatred of Israel, virulent anti-Semitism(at least the JEWISH semites) and falsification of history, right up to Arafat himself.

Whatever you may believe about Sharon, he was elected by a democratic society who knew what they were getting. PATTON! <=I owe that to Thomas Friedman.


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Subject: RE: Is Arafat Irrelevant
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 11:02 AM

I think he should be put out to pasture permanently, and US should also insist on his retirement. At the same time, I think he should not be prevented from attending Christmas Eve services in Bethlehem. We are pouring a lot of money into the area, and could very well get sucked into a war there. Yes, our sons and daughters, and ourselves, could very well be killed. We should insist on certain conditions of our military, political and financial support. One is frowning mightily on acts of provocation and incitement. Arafat is a terrorist and Sharon is a thug. Probably if I was either of them I would do what they are doing and think I was right and absolutely justified. That is why others have to intervene. mg


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