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The Middle East Sting - Arafat Is On His Way

MER - Washington - 21 January:
Like in the classic Robert Redford movie, "The Sting", Washington is all set for Yasser Arafat tomorrow.

The stage is all set -- just like in the fake gambling parlor of the movie.  Arafat isn't bringing money to bet and loose however; he's bringing something far more important - history.

The Americans -- so they would like us to believe -- are trying so hard to befriend the Palestinians, to be an "honest, even-handed broker", to make the "peace process" work!  That the entire American Middle East negotiating team has "Approved by the Jewish lobby" stamped on them, few are willing to discuss.

The Israelis -- so they would like us to believe -- are being more reasonable than expected and considering "giving back" ("redeploying" that is) 10+ percent of the occupied territories (minus the whole of greater Jerusalem of course) if only the Palestinians will fulfill the conditions already agreed to!  That their army will surround all Palestinian areas in addition to controlling all Palestinian guns and the money in a repackaged double-occupation,  few are willing to comment upon.

The press is all in place, carefully manipulated and manicured of course, to play their role of recording the charade.  This kind of historical drama is all about political theatre these days -- just as in the movie.

As for Arafat, he and his largely discredited and corrupted entourage have been scammed before of course.  He's quite a mark.  He's already signed Oslo I and Oslo II and Hebron -- all essentially deceptive and duplicitous "agreements" brightly packaged to obscure their actual

In Washington for Oslo Arafat wanted to hand over his gun during the White House ceremony.  The Americans and Israelis gulped -- too graphic, too real, and they got Arafat's holster and unloaded revolver show canned.

In Cairo for Oslo II Arafat balked right there on stage with the cameras rolling!  The maps in the documents weren't the ones he agreed to he insisted!  The ceremony was halted, Nabil Shaath (functioning much as an American agent) came out of the wings to convince Yasser he simply had to put pen to paper, and after a 20-minute break and much sweating "the Chairman" did it again.

And then with Hebron a year ago now Arafat in effect agreed to a permanent Israeli settler and military presence in this still-99% Palestinian city; after months of insisting he would never do just such a thing.

Every year since the Gulf War and the Intifada has been downhill for the poor Palestinians.  They are being put on reservations, unable to travel even from one to the other without Israeli permission slips, their standard of living falling by the month, their freedoms diminishing by the day, their land and resources disappearing as the "negotiations" proceed.

Like in the days of old -- at Paris in 1919, in London in 1939, in Malta in 1948, and on into more modern-day history -- the Middle East Sting is coming again to Washington.  And everyone is waiting for Yasser Arafat and "the Arabs" to get taken to the cleaners one more time.


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