ARAFAT: The Destroyer
supreme irony has emerged:
The Palestinians will elect a Legislative council on Wednesday, January 25.
(VIRUS DANGER NOTED AT END OF THIS COLUMN)
How Yasser Arafat Destroyed the State
In a Ruined Country
by David Samuels
was the father of the Palestinian nation, and the
successor to the Muslim conquerors of
Unlike his Hero’s he did not conquer
much as any other man, Arafat was responsible for
the making of the modern
took Arafat more than an hour each morning to arrange
the tail of his kaffiya in the shape of
Inside the pockets of his jacket were the small black notebooks in which he wrote about money. When he was in doubt about a particular sum, he would withdraw a notebook with a flourish, cite a specific figure, and then put the notebook back in his pocket. Inside the notebooks were the codes that unlocked the secret bank accounts to which only he had access.
At his death in November 11, 2004 the idea that Arafat might have expired from natural causes was deemed too farfetched for serious consideration.
Ross noted "The first time I went to
complain to him about the bombing—the first set of bombings were, I
April '94, in Hadera and Afula—and I'm with him, and he leans over like
and he whispers, 'You know, it's Barak. He's got this group, the
the most visible representative of the
United Nations in the
Al Masri, a leading Palestinian financier, who in his home has what he claimed is the oldest mirror in the world was an associate of Arafat. "Yes, the Palestinians missed a lot of opportunities, but don't blame us," he tells me. "We were a million people in this land, and the Israelis were less than a hundred thousand people. But they came here very determined, and they worked very hard. Then they committed a few massacres that made people afraid, and then our stupid leaders told the people to leave. We always tend to say it's a Zionist plot with the British. What we call a plot, they call a plan."
"No doubt Arafat was a great man," al-Masri says. "No doubt he had vision. Most of the people that you see now being very important, I see them wanting the grace of Yasir Arafat. They want to be in his grace. Ah, he thought money was power," al-Masri adds, with a wistful glance around his study. The money he spent to buy the loyalty of his court, al-Masri gently suggests, could easily have paid for a functioning Palestinian state instead.
three hundred, four hundred million
dollars we could have built
For those at the top of the heap the rewards were much larger and more systematic. The amounts of money stolen from the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people through the corrupt practices of Arafat's inner circle are so staggeringly large that they may exceed one half of the total of $7 billion in foreign aid contributed to the Palestinian Authority. The biggest thief was Arafat himself. His corruption was of a sober-minded type. He was a connoisseur of power, who used the money that he stole to buy influence, to provoke or defuse conspiracies, to pay gunmen, and to collect hangers-on the way other men collect stamps or butterflies. Arafat had several advisers who oversaw the system of patronage and theft, which was convincingly outlined in a series of investigative articles by Ronen Bergman that appeared during the late 1990s in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz.
Fatah cadres in the West Bank and
"Arafat's great secret is patience," Yasir Abd Rabbo explains, of the man he served for more than three decades. "He does not cut even a thread to a fly. He keeps lines open with everybody. He is Arafat the progressive, Arafat the Islamist, Arafat the conservative, and Arafat the enlightened. So he was with the Saudi kings and with the kings of the Kremlin at the same time, with Fidel Castro and all kinds of imams and the pope. The one main issue he did not compromise in his life was the independence of the Palestinian movement. He believed since the beginning that if he did not preserve the independence of the Palestinian movement from the other Arab regimes, he will be doomed."
Ramduh Nofal says that the impetus for the violence was the statement by the newly elected Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that he would not speak to Arafat directly. Arafat was furious at the slight. "I was with him in his office," Nofal recalls. "He got up and walked around the desk. He was very, very angry. Finally he calmed down a bit and he pointed to the phone on his desk. He said, 'I will make Netanyahu call me on this phone.'"
Arafat ordered demonstrators into the streets, and told them to provoke the Israelis. When violence erupted, the Israelis were blamed. "I was sitting with him again when the phone on his desk rang, and he looked at me and said, 'It's Netanyahu.' And it was him."
The second intifada also began with the intention of provoking the Israelis and subjecting them to diplomatic pressure. Only this time Arafat went for broke. As a member of the High Security Council of Fatah, the key decision-making and organizational body that dealt with military questions at the beginning of the intifada, Nofal has firsthand knowledge of Arafat's intentions and decisions during the months before and after Camp David. "He told us, 'Now we are going to the fight, so we must be ready,'" Nofal remembers. Nofal says that when Barak did not prevent Ariel Sharon from making his controversial visit to the plaza in front of al-Aqsa, the mosque that was built on the site of the ancient Jewish temples, Arafat said, "Okay, it's time to work."
When it became clear that Ariel Sharon, then the Israeli opposition leader, would win the Israeli elections in February of 2001, Nofal went to Arafat and urged him to call off the intifada. "There were a lot of people sitting around, including Saeb Erekat and Yasir Abd Rabbo," Nofal remembers.
"I told him, 'Abu Ammar, I need the security to speak openly.' The Bedouin say, 'Give me the security to speak freely.' He said to me, 'Speak.'
said to him, 'Abu Ammar, Barak will lose,
who were sitting around Arafat, they
said, 'Ah, you are afraid of
I think Saudi Arabia also played a role in
Arafat's decision to keep the intifada going," Nofal says, agreeing
similar analysis presented to me by Abd Rabbo. "
Iyad Sarraj, a human-rights activist and the director of the leading mental-health organization in Gaza; when he complained about the poor state of civil liberties under President Arafat, he was jailed three times, beaten, and tortured. A handsome secularist in his forties stated:
"Palestinians have lost the battle because of their lack of organization and because they have been captives of rhetoric and sloganeering rather than actual work," he says. "I believe that the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians in one way or the other is between development and underdevelopment, civilization and backwardness. Israel was established on the rule of law, on democratization, and certain principles that would advance Israel, while the Arabs and the Palestinians were waiting always for the prophet, for the rescuer, for the savior, the mahdi. Arafat came, and everyone hung their hats on him without realizing that there is a big gap between the rescuer and the actual work that needs to be done. This is where the Palestinians lost again the battle. They lost it in '48 because of their backwardness, ignorance, and lack of organization in how to confront the Zionist enemy. They lost it when they had the chance to build a state, because the PA was absolutely corrupt and disorganized."
on in the
Copyright © 2005 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; September 2005; In a Ruined Country; Volume 296, No. 2; 60-91
NEW VIRUS DANGER!
A new virus has just been discovered that has been classified by Microsoft
as the most destructive ever. This virus was discovered recently. This virus destroys Sector Zero from the hard disk, where vital information for its functioning are stored.
This virus acts in the following manner:
It sends itself automatically to all contacts on your list with the title:
"A Card for You".
soon as the supposed virtual card is opened the computer
freezes so that the user has to reboot. When the ctrl+alt+