on 14 June 2011
Arafat was an interesting character, and unlike many of those around him not corrupt. His weakness was in not knowing when it was time to call a halt to death and destruction that.
He signed up to making peace with the Israelis but then could not face giving up the right, as he saw it, to destroy Israel, unleashing the terrible suicide bombings that killed and injured thousands of Israelis in 2002. This was in response to the israeli prime minister of the time having offered 95% of the lands taken in the 1967 war to Arafat ( Recently Olmert offered 100% including splitting Jerusalem with the palestinians, and that was still rejected because it didn't allow for the 'right of return' of millions of descendants of those who had made war on Israel, to go to live in Israel rather than a palestinian state).
Rubin recounts the early history of Arafat and goes on to recount how he not only sowed mayhem and destruction in Israel, but everywhere he went in the arab world, in the disputed lands of Judea and Samaria to Jordan (king Hussein kicked Arafat out and killed 10,000 of his men) and to Beirut. After years of provocation, terror and missile attacks on its cities, Israel allowed Arafat to leave Beirut in 1982 rather than be killed. Sharon regretted the decision not to kill Arafat later on, considering the thousands of lives that decision was later to cost.
Rubin recounts that the Tunisians were so worried when Arafat descended there that they more or less kept Arafat and his men prisoner in a ghetto of their own.
Arafat had great charisma and was respected by his people. If he had decided to call a halt to the terrorism and shared the land between himself and the Israelis there would be peace in Israel and Palestine now. But Arafat could not do it. And Abbas who followed him has been to weak to sign up to peace even if he wants to.
The tragedy of the palestinians is their leaders.
on 6 February 2006
This book is useful only in highlighting the sorry state of ignorance and intellectual dishonesty among many of America's so called Middle East 'experts'. Relying frequently on Israeli versions of key events alone, at the expense of conflicting accounts which fail to fit with their revision of history, the authors resort to shallow and unconvincing caricatures of Arafat and many on the Palestinian side. If you're looking for a balanced critique of Arafat, look elsewhere.