Yasser Arafat is dead. Somebody send flowers to the BBC, I'm not sure they'll take it well.
The President's statement on the matter doesn't express any kind of condolence for Arafat, but rather for the Palestinian people. This is both telling and encouraging. With Arafat gone, perhaps "progress toward...the ultimate goal of peace" can finally be made.
James Lileks had, I think, the best summarization of Arafat's role in the 'Peace Process' a few days ago, when the whole death-watch thing began:
All you need to know about Arafat was that he insisted on wearing a pistol when he addressed the UN General Assembly. And all you need to know about the UN, I suppose, is that they let him.Arafat's Intifada, initiated in 2000 (six years after he was awarded the Nobel "Peace" Prize), is his lasting legacy. Over four years, he sent 3,775 people (2,859 Palestinians and 916 Israelis) to their deaths, including 671 children. We are well quit of him, and whether they realize it or not, so are the Palestinian people.
I think history will judge him very harshly for not having seized the opportunity in the year 2000 to embrace the offer that was very courageously made by the then Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barack, which involved the Israelis agreeing to 90 per cent of what the Palestinians had wanted.Of course, for Arafat, 90 percent of what Palestinians wanted was unacceptable, as it excluded the total annihilation of the Jews.
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