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                    ARAFAT'S PICKLE

 "It really doesn't matter whether he declares a Palestinian
 state or not, because he'll have a state without real
 borders -- they're controlled by the Israelis -- no real
 sovereignty, no real country -- it will be cut up into
 cantons and he won't have east Jerusalem.  He won't be
 able to get rid of the settlers and won't have control over
 the water, air or sea. Aside from all that, he'll have a state
 of sorts...  [It's] a sign of both exasperation and weakness.''
   Professor Edward Said
   Columbia University

MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 7/6/00:

Now the bill is to be paid.  Having squandered decades of time, billions of dollars, and unprecedented worldwide support, Arafat and the carcass of his PLO are being told to pay up.  That's what Camp David II is really all about.  Arafat has been summoned.  His time has run out.  His CIA-lifeline has him naked.  Now he has to make good on being twisted into the "Palestinian Authority" by his former life-long enemies.  Now he has to do what his keepers actually want, to declare a rump Palestinian Statelet in what all combined is but a very small part of what once was Palestine.  Arafat's assignment is to legitimize this unprecedented hodge-podge in front of the world, a crazy arrangement that is much closer to the long-rejected "autonomy" formulations than to real and true independence.  Arafat comes to Camp David to help the Israelis find a way to declare the conflict finally at an end, even though further "negotiations" about various key matters will stretch on into the indefinite future.

The Palestinian people have waited and suffered so much that waiting and suffering a little more in order to achieve a real state and some semblance of historical justice would be the right thing to do at this point.  But Arafat specializes in doing the wrong things at the wrong time in the wrong way...while constantly pretending otherwise.  Arafat is the man for all seasons available to the highest bidder -- the very man Clinton and Barak want and need.  Hence it is Arafat they summon to Camp David II.

At this point in history it's not the Palestinians who can't wait, it's rather Clinton and Barak who must urgently press forward.  Clinton desperately wants history twisted in his favor.  Barak has spent a lifetime fighting and vanquishing the Palestinians and now smells historic victory of a kind he not long ago never imagined.

And so it's now Yasser Arafat, while still alive, whom they want to do the dirty deed.  Clinton will grasp for a Nobel Peace Price; and even share it with Yasser if he has to.  And Barak wants to fulfill Zionism's wildest dreams by having a Palestinian leader legitimize not only Israel's existence but also its conquests.  They, Clinton and Barak, are the real desperate men.  And they will ruthlessly twist, and bribe, and alternately charm, Arafat to their will behind the gates of Camp David; no matter how much sweet-talking goes on in front of the cameras in public.

The following analysis was distributed by Reuters just hours before the White House announcement of Camp David II Wednesday morning.  But little changes really.  Arafat has led his people into a corner from which there may be no short-term escape; whatever the longer-term historical turns yet ahead.

And so, Yasser Arafat has been told to present himself at the gates of Camp David.  There he will be told what to do; and more importantly at this juncture how.  And just as he has done so many times in recent years he will in fact probably comply, one way or another, regardless of whatever rhetorical flourishes he embellishes everything with.  For Arafat's fears of going down in history as a sell-out to his own people are now somewhat superceded by his fears of what can be done to him and his "Authority" by the heavy hand the U.S. and Israel wield together.

In all likelihood the Palestinian people will soon be told they are finally achieving Statehood and major efforts will be made to pretend this is actually the case; including promises of international aid totalling more than $100 billion over the next 20 years.  In reality it is a cunning and cruel joke.  In actuality the Palestinians are in the process of being permanently disenfranchised from most of their homeland.  In reality Yasser and his corrupt cronies, Prime Minister designate Nabil Sha'ath at the top of the list, are selling Palestine for their own gain.   Even those small parts which remain as "population centers" will be burdened with such restrictions and regulations that true Palestinian independence and real Palestinian Statehood will actually become considerably more difficult in the years ahead.


CAIRO, July 5 (Reuters - by Alistair Lyon) - If Yasser Arafat unilaterally
proclaims a Palestinian state this year, he can expect swift recognition from
his Arab allies, anger from Israel and the United States, and indecision from Europe.

The Palestinian leader, under mounting pressure at the approach of a
September 13 deadline for a final peace with Israel, has few cards left in a
dwindling stack.

The Palestinian Central Council, the PLO's mini-parliament, on Monday
endorsed his promise to declare statehood after the deadline, with or without
an agreement with the Jewish state.

Arafat, heeding U.S., Arab and European pressure, deferred such a declaration
in May last year after months of threatening one-sided action, narrowing his
room for manoeuvre this time.

Israel has derided the idea of a unilateral declaration and vowed to stymie it.

``I can tell them that a Palestinian state will not be created as long as
Israel does not recognise it,'' said Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, an
architect of the 1993 Oslo peace accords, on Tuesday. ``It will stay on paper
even if the entire world recognises a unilateral Palestinian state.''

He recalled Arafat's 1988 declaration of a state that never materialised --
for Palestinians a bitter, as well as triumphal, moment with its implied
recognition of Israel's right to exist.

One of Arafat's sternest Palestinian critics broadly agreed.

``It really doesn't matter whether he declares a Palestinian state or not,
because he'll have a state without real borders -- they're controlled by the
Israelis -- no real sovereignty, no real country -- it will be cut up into
cantons and he won't have east Jerusalem,'' Edward Said told Reuters in

``He won't be able to get rid of the settlers and won't have control over the
water, air or sea. Aside from all that, he'll have a state of sorts,'' the
Palestinian writer said, describing Arafat's move as ``a sign of both
exasperation and weakness.''


What the former guerrilla chief can count on is immediate recognition from
the Moslem world, with China and many other countries he has long cultivated
likely to follow suit.

``If a Palestinian state is announced we will recognise it...Under any
circumstances we will recognise it,'' Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said
last month.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said China wanted the
Palestinians to recover their rights, including the the right to a state, but
advocated a negotiated solution.

In March, 1999, the European Union upheld the ``unqualified Palestinian right
to self-determination including the option of a state'' but said this would
be best achieved via negotiations.

It is unclear whether the EU would risk Washington's ire by recognising a
unilaterally declared state, even under its current president France, long
sympathetic to Arafat's cause.

Palestinian analyst Ghassan al-Khatib said the recognition of Arab and Third
World countries was not that important.

``There are three or four countries that have a negative stand like America,
and of course Israel, that would take a strong position to abort the
declaration of a state,'' he said.

Arafat's statehood pledge was a tactic designed to build world pressure for
concessions from Israel that the PLO leader could then use to justify
deferring the declaration, he said.

But other Arab commentators argued that Arafat could not keep playing the
same dog-eared card without paying a price.

``Maybe Arafat feels he can create a crisis that could give a positive
outcome to his negotiations,'' wrote Sahar al-Baasiri, foreign editor of
Lebanon's An-Nahar newspaper.

``But what may appear as diplomatic pressure by Arafat on the Americans and
the international community has a negative side vis-a-vis the Palestinians
and the Arabs because postponement and throwing numerous dates will increase
the erosion of what is left of his credibility,'' she wrote.


As the clock ticks towards September 13, Israel and the Palestinians remain
far apart on intractable issues such as borders, Jerusalem, Jewish settlers
and Palestinian refugees.

The parties have yet to agree on a U.S. plan for a three-way summit between
President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Arafat in a
last-gasp effort to bridge the gaps.

Failure would call Arafat's bluff and he might then have to face all the
uncertain consequences of claiming statehood on whatever bits of the West
Bank and Gaza are under his control.

In Jordan, ad-Dustour newspaper warned of a surge of violence if the Jewish
state rejected the Palestinian state.

``Any explosion in the near future could ignite fires that would spread to
areas outside occupied Palestinian land and would send the peace process back
to square one,'' it said.

An Arab diplomat in Rabat said there were many ways for the United States and
Israel to choke any nascent state.

``I am talking of Washington not recognising this state and stopping economic
support, of Israel imposing all sorts of restrictions. I don't rule out the
possibility of Israeli troops redeploying into areas vacated under previous
negotiations,'' he said.

The United States has yet to comment on Arafat's gambit, but has in the past
strongly opposed any such unilateral action.

Most Gulf Arab newspapers supported the Palestinian decision and criticised
the United States. ``The Israeli and American threats have no value if Arafat
insists on his decision and receives the support of all the Palestinian
factions and his Arab brothers,'' Qatar's al-Raya daily said on Wednesday.

But Lebanese commentator Rajeh al-Khoury scathingly described Arafat's threat
as a ``bubble which is produced every once in a while, at appropriate and
inappropriate times.

``Arafat, it's time you grabbed a rock and started pelting the Israelis,'' he
wrote in an-Nahar.

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