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

April 16, 2003

A Glimpse: Palestinians in the Post-Saddam Era

Yassir Arafat has not stopped to breath since America took Iraq with all the fury of a Democracy wronged. Not only has he quickly condemned the US for drawing a line in the sand vis-a-vis Syria, but he is looking to the day after Asad--or the day after the Ba'ath party disappears from the world-stage--thinking that he alone can be the new Arab leader.

This makes sense when taking into account Ambassador Martin Indyk's view of Arafat, nicely portrayed at his Columbia lecture in the Fall of 2002, whereas Arafat likes to call himself "the only undefeated Arab general."

So, unlike post-Gulf War I, where Israel and the Arabs went directly to the negotiating table still wearing their fatigues, this time Arafat has been emboldened. No matter that Saddam was defeated, no matter that the Palestinians were incredibly vocal about their support for the Ba'athist against the US, no matter that Arafat has rejected Abu Mazen's cabinet which the whole world thought would bring the PA one step closer to democracy--Arafat thinks the people of the world will still play according to his rules.

That is why he is demanding the freedom of the master-terrorist, Abu Abbas, who lead the hijacking of an Italian cruise ship in 1985 and, among other things, pushed a handicapped elderly American Jew off the deck to watch him drown before his eyes. That is why the PNA could reject any changes to the road-map that threaten the Palestinian "right to return." And that is why Asmi Bishara, Arafat's loyal lapdog, has written that the roadmap is no more than an exercise in Colonialism.

What is in store for the Palestinian people? If Arafat remains in power, a whole lot of nothing. Their only hope is that the PLC will over-ride Arafat and place Abu Mazen--who is slightly more pragmatic, though no less complicit--in power. Then, maybe, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.
[crossposted on Ariel Beery on the News]