Arafat: From Defender to Dictator by Said K. Aburish. Pub: Bloomsbury Paperbacks, London, UK, 1999. Pp: 360. Pbk: £7.99
In October, Crescent International (South Africa) issued a booklet called The Struggle for Al-Quds to mark Yaum al-Quds 1426AH. Here we publish an adaptation of the second part of this booklet, focusing on the evolution of the Palestinian liberation movement. The first part, focusing on the problem of Israel and the threat to al-Quds, was published in the last issue of Crescent International.
Yasser Arafat was not, by any stretch of the imagination, an Islamic leader. He was famously photographed meeting with Imam Khomeini in the early days of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, after the new Islamic state had renounced the Shah’s close relationship with Israel and declared its solidarity with the Palestinian struggle...
It is not without good reason that the world focused so intensely on the illness and death of Yasser Arafat, and on his multinational, multistage funeral...
The state of insecurity and political conflict that occurred in the Ghazzah Strip last July is regarded by most observers as a dangerous development in the Palestinian situation, and as a threat to the international and regional status of the Palestinian cause...
Yasser Arafat survived the latest, and perhaps greatest, challenge to his authority in Ghazzah last month, when Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qurei withdrew his resignation on July 27...
Hamas leader Shaikh Ahmad Yassin said on September 24 that Hamas, Palestine’s leading Islamic movement and the most popular political group among Palestinians, would not accept any suggestion that it should disarm or declare a truce.
Some news items remain fairly constant: while the world’s attention is turned to international politicking before the US’s almost-inevitable attack on Iraq
In his speech on June 24, which purported to chart a policy for the Middle East, US president George W Bush left no doubt that he wanted to see Yasser Arafat removed from the presidency of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
In a speech that appeared to have been written in Tel Aviv rather than in Washington, US president George Bush demanded that the Palestinian people find a leader to replace Yasser Arafat if they hope to have a state of their own in some distant future.
When on June 3 ‘president’ Yasser Arafat overruled a decision by the very court he had set up as an independent tribunal the previous month, he was not only caving in to American and Israeli pressure but also taking a leaf out of the book of fellow Arab dictators, such as Egypt’s Husni Mubarak.
Palestinian ‘president’ Yasser Arafat and Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres shook hands —briefly and sullenly — on a new agreement for a ceasefire and confidence-building measures towards a restoration of the ‘peace process’ at Ghazzah Airport on September 26, two days before Palestinians were planning massive protests to mark the first anniversary of the intifada.
‘President’ Yasser Arafat found his host cooler towards him when he flew to Kuala Lumpur late in August. In a change from the past, he was given a less-than-friendly welcome by the Malaysian regime, which was caught in the middle of a virtual war against Islamic militants, and had to downplay its reception to the Palestinian delegation.
Palestinian ‘president’ Yasser Arafat launched his expected crackdown on popular movements sustaining the Al-Aqsa Intifada last month. Dr Abdul Aziz al-Rantisi, the Hamas spokesman in Ghazzah, was arrested on April 28, reportedly for making ‘inflammatory’ statements.
The new agreement between Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian ‘president’ Yassir Arafat, signed at Sharm al-Shaikh, near Alexandria, on September 5, was widely greeted as a new start to the ‘peace process’ that had appeared on the verge of stalling during the premiership of Benyamin Netanyahu.
There was undoubtedly a certain satisfaction in watching the Israelis tearing into each other for a change, instead of tearing into Palestinians, Muslims and just about anybody else they don’t like. The election campaign which ended in Benyamin Netanyahu being conclusive defeated by Ehud Barak was vicious to say the least...
Yasir Arafat is perhaps the only person in the world who still clings to the fiction that there is a ‘peace process’ in the Middle East. The Oslo accords which he signed in September 1993 and September 1995 have been an unmitigated disaster for the Palestinian people.
Yasir Arafat, head of the Palestine National Authority (PNA), needed a grand camouflage for his final surrender to the Zionists to publicly eschew any thoughts of ever liberating Palestine. This was provided on December 14 by the presence in Ghazzah of US president Bill Clinton...
Hamas leader Shaikh Ahmad Yassin, whom Yasser Arafat was obliged by public pressure to greet as a hero when he returned to Ghazzah last year after eight years in an Israeli jail, was placed under house arrest by Palestinian police on October 29.
If the former treaty-prone PLO signed away Palestine to the Israelis, and if the surrounding Arab States have fallen prey to the economic and military mercy of Israel, the question arises, what is left to be lost by the Palestinians?