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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 07, 2003

In your dreams

Gwynne Dyer: Ageing Arafat his own worst enemy Op-ed piece in New Zealand Herald

You idiot.

Terrorism isn't about killing innocent people; that's just a means to an end. Terrorism is about goading a stronger opponent into behaving in ways that will benefit your cause.

That doesn't make it acceptable.

On Sunday, for the first time since November, a couple of Palestinian suicide-bombers got through and blew themselves up in central Tel Aviv. At least 23 people were killed, most of them foreign workers from Africa and Asia who came to Israel to do the low-wage jobs that were once filled by Palestinians.

With wearisome predictability, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's spokesman blamed Yasser Arafat: "This terrorist attack has earned the Palestinian Authority's stamp of approval. It is a direct result of persistent incitement coming out of the Palestinian Authority and its refusal to rein in the terrorists in its midst."

And here I thought that the continuation of the terror was "with wearisome predictability". Of course Arafat is responsible.

Sorry, could you run that by me again? You're talking about Yasser Arafat, the man whose whole career was dedicated to the goal of getting his people recognised as Palestinians (with rights to at least some of the land of what used to be called Palestine), rather than mere refugees with a right only to a tent and daily rations?

Wrong again. Arafat's career has been dedicated to destroying Israel. Look at his record; he doesn't give a damn about the Palestinians and when he started there were no people recognized as Palestinian. And if he really wanted rights to "some of the land of what used to be called Palestine", he would have accepted Barak's offer.

The man who then risked assassination by his own hard-liners by renouncing terrorism, signing the Oslo accords with Yitzhak Rabin, and then, after Mr Rabin was assassinated, waiting patiently while Binyamin Netanyahu stalled for three years on fulfilling the terms of the accords?

No. I am talking about the man who never renounced terrorism except when talking to the western media or when signing agreements. I am talking about the man who from the day Oslo was signed preceeded to violate the agreement by building a culture of hate and violence. I am talking about the man who considered Oslo as a phase leading to the destruction of Israel.

You reckon he sent the bombers?

You gotta believe it. Don't forget as the leader of the people, elected or otherwise, he is responsible. The only buck that stops with him is the one that ends up in his pocket.

Mr Sharon's spokesman doesn't really believe that Mr Arafat sent the bombers. He's just "on message" - the message being that we must discredit Mr Arafat because he's still the really dangerous Palestinian, the one who wants to make a deal. Mr Sharon isn't interested in making any deal that gives the Palestinians a viable country in what remains of their original territory because that would block his purpose of incorporating much of that land into Israel.

Your ignorance astounds me. That you would believe that Sharon, who has only been in power two years is responsible, whereas Arafat, the father of modern day terrorism, is well meaning and a lamb, is beyond belief.

So his goal is to paint all Palestinians who want to make a deal as unreasonable terrorists who have no interest in a deal.

Not quite. There may be Palestinians who want to make a deal but they are either mute or dead. Sharon is not accusing Palestinians in general,but Arafat and his followers as "unreasonable terrorists who have no interest in a permanent deal".

Mr Arafat is his own worst enemy, of course.

You assume that Arafat's actions work against the achievment of a state rather then work for the destruction of Israel which is his true objective.

He was a brilliant guerrilla/terrorist leader, cunning, long-sighted and staunch in adversity, but he is an inept negotiator and a dreadful administrator.

The reason everybody has all but given up on the Palestinian Authority is that Mr Arafat never graduated from being a guerrilla leader: he maintains control over his Administration by appointing three, or four, or five men to do the same job, setting them against one another so that only he can adjudicate the disputes.

When you finally get in to see him, five or six hours after the agreed time, you are likely to find him personally signing cheques for only a few hundred dollars: Mr Arafat is a bandit chieftain who never managed the transition to real power.

The last and greatest service he could have done for the Palestinian people would have been to die in the siege of Beirut 20 years ago, leaving it to a younger, better-educated generation of Palestinians to negotiate a land-and-peace agreement with a triumphant but still vulnerable Israel. Alas, he didnt

You should make your living telling fairy tales or lies. But you're right to refer to him as a "terrorist", a person who "never graduated from being a guerilla leader" and a "bandit chieftan". And lastly I agree that "The last and greatest service he could have done for the Palestinian people would have been to die in the siege of Beirut 20 years ago".

Terrorism is never "blind"; it is politics by other means.

True. But that doesn't make it moral or acceptable. Terrorism is a crime against humanity regardless if it is for a cause.