Yasser Arafat's Life and Legacy
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Yasser Arafat's Life and Legacy
by David Hirst

MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 19 November: There are only a small handful of Western journalists who have the background, the credibility, and the conviction, to write with historical depth and considerable insight about the death of Yasser Arafat. David Hirst, still writing for The Guardian after all these years, the man who authored THE GUN AND THE OLIVE BRANCH, is right up there at the top of that list. This article was published in The Guardian last week just as Arafat's death was announced.

Yasser Arafat

David Hirst

Thursday November 11, 2004 The Guardian.

From an early age, Muhammad Abdul Raouf Arafat
al-Qudwa al-Husseini, the sixth child of a Palestinian
spice, incense and grocery merchant, sensed that a
high destiny awaited him. It did - but Yasser Arafat,
who has died aged 75, assuredly earned it by his own
endeavours too.

By the standard of lifelong, indefatigable, and for
him courageous dedication to a cause, he deserved the
title of Mr Palestine that he held for a whole
generation of his people's struggle. But by the
standards of ultimate achievement, he didn't; rarely
can a "liberator" have strayed further from the
original ideals of "liberation".

Arafat was born in Cairo, where his father had settled
for business reasons, but after the death of his
mother, the four-year-old was packed off to Jerusalem
to live with his uncle in a house by the Wailing Wall
and al-Aqsa mosque.

The Zionists' passionate struggle to have exclusive
control of the traditionally Muslim-administered Wall
made these holy places an emotionally charged arena
for the wider struggle for Palestine unfolding under
British mandatory rule. Arafat witnessed anguished
family debates about the country's future, and saw
something of the "great rebellion", the armed uprising
of a desperate and dispossessed peasantry which served
as an inspiration for the later, equally unavailing
"armed struggle" of his own making.

In 1937, on his father's second marriage, he returned
to Cairo, where middle class comforts were more than
offset by the emotional troubles which an unloved
stepmother spread about her. When his father married
yet again, his elder sister Inam was assigned the task
of bringing up her siblings.

The dominating role of women in Arafat's early life
probably contributed to a compulsive desire to
dominate and lead himself. Inam soon concluded that he
was "not like other children in playing or in his
feelings... He gathered the Arab kids of the district,
formed them into groups and made them march and drill.
He carried a stick and he used to beat those who did
not obey his commands."
Outside Palestine during "the catastrophe" - the 1948
imposing of Israel upon some 78% of the country - he
didn't directly suffer the terrors and humiliation of
mass flight and exile. But long before that he was
steeping himself in political and military affairs. By
1946, the 17-year-old Cairo schoolboy realised that,
with the Zionists pressing their armed violence, the
Palestinians would have to fight. He became a key,
intrepid figure in smuggling arms from Egypt into

But his adolescent exploits were wasted. As Arab
armies entered Palestine, "an Egyptian officer came to
my group and demanded that we hand over our weapons
... we protested ... but it was no good ... in that
moment I knew we had been betrayed by these regimes."

He plunged into preparation for the coming struggle -
convinced that if Palestinians relied on others to
decide for them, they would never recover their
homeland. They had no decision-making institutions, so
he set about creating them. He took over the stagnant
Cairo-based League Of Palestinian Students.

Tireless, wily, domineering, he exhibited another
vital trait which helped shape his career, and,
through it, the history of the Middle East. At a
congress in Prague, he suddenly donned the keffiyeh,
or traditional chequered head-dress, which, as well as
hiding his entirely bald pate, became his emblem. The
gesture sprang from his delight in surprise,
showmanship and the theatrical gesture. Style is often
the man, and there was surely an intrinsic affinity
between this and a remarkable ability to adapt himself
and his movement, suddenly, spectacularly, to new
goals and policies in a changing strategic and
political environment.

In Prague, the 26-year-old student was already
advertising his sense of destiny, referring to
himself, only half-jokingly perhaps, as "Mr
Palestine". And yet, like many contemporaries, he
might well have eschewed politics altogether, and
become a self-made man of a more conventional kind.
Armed with a Cairo university engineering degree, he
went to Kuwait in 1958, one of those stateless
Palestinians searching for work in the remote,
uncomfortable, undeveloped, but newly oil-rich
British-protected emirate. He began as a public works
department junior site engineer. Then he set up his
own company, subsequently claiming that he had been
"well on the way to becoming a millionaire".

An exaggeration, perhaps, but his brief business foray
later consolidated a carefully cultivated, if genuine,
aspect of his personality. As the leader of his
people, he disposed of billions and made canny use of
them as an instrument of policy and patronage, but led
the most spartan of private lives. Similarly, for all
his reputed liaisons with women, he could claim that,
at great cost in contentment, his only marriage was to
his Revolution.

Helped by the funds which his dalliance with material
things procured him, he took the first, clandestine
steps that led to his emergence as one of the
household names of the age: the incarnation, however
flawed, of all their aspirations to most Palestinians;
of evil and the would-be destruction of their state to
most Israelis; of their most sacred, exasperating, and
unavoidable obligations to most Arab regimes; of a
gradual conversion from "terrorist" to politician,
even statesman, in the eyes of an outside world.

In Kuwait, in 1959, with his close friend Abu Jihad,
he began publishing a crudely edited magazine, Our
Palestine, which, with impetuous and uncouth vigour,
lamented the Palestinian refugees' plight and the
inaction of Arab regimes, and trumpeted the ideal of
the Return, with a full-scale "population liberation
war" as the only means of achieving it. Together they
formed the Fatah guerrilla organisation's first,
five-man underground cell. On January 1 1965,
ill-trained, pitifully short of both weapons and
funds, the Feyadeen (those who sacrifice themselves),
mounted their first trans-frontier raid into the
"Zionist gangster-state".

Arafat's guerrillas were always a much greater
challenge to the Arab regimes than they were to the
Israelis. In theory, the regimes too were preparing to
liberate Palestine - but by conventional military
means in their own good time. The first "martyr" fell
victim, characteristically, to the Jordanian army.
Upon his return from a raid, Arafat himself had a
spell in a Syrian jail, amid rumours that the new
Syrian defence minister, one Hafiz al-Assad, wanted to
hang him and all his comrades.

These early Arafat exploits, though mere pinpricks,
gave Israel another reason to fight a war that would
end with the country gaining the remaining 22% of
Palestine - East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza -
which had eluded it in its "war of independence". Even
after the shattering Arab defeat in the 1967 war, his
guerrillas never put down roots in the newly occupied
territories, let alone original Israel proper. Arafat
is said to have made his getaway across the Jordan
river disguised as a mother carrying a baby, a story
that reinforced his growing reputation for the narrow
escape and an uncanny sense of survival.

After the battle of Karameh, a small Jordanian town in
which, on March 21 1968, an ill-armed band of
guerrillas inflicted heavy casualties on a vastly
superior force of Israeli invaders, the Fedayeen
became the Arab world's darlings. Volunteers flocked
to join it and Fatah became a state within the
Jordanian state, with Arafat as its "spokesman". Soon
he became chairman of the Palestine Liberation
Organisation (PLO), that assembly of generally docile
notables which Egypt's President Nasser had
established in 1964 as a way of keeping in check just
such ardent young men as himself.

Too many fledgling "freedom-fighters" took to
swaggering around the Jordanian capital Amman,
advertising their ambition to replace the Hashemite
kingdom with their own revolutionary order - and
Arafat fell victim to his sudden, meteoric success.
His movement suffered from organic defects typical of
too-rapid growth - together with those of his
individualistic, haphazard leadership style. In "Black
September", 1970, King Hussein unleashed his Bedouin
soldiers against him - an Arab army dealing Arafat the
first of his great reverses.

In a new Lebanese exile, exploiting that country's
divisions, he built himself a stronger power base. Yet
he was now further from his natural Palestinian
environment and his goal of "complete liberation"
through "armed struggle". After the 1973 Arab-Israeli
war and the partial Arab military comeback that
engendered a serious bout of American peace-making, he
began edging away from "revolution till victory"
towards a "doctrine of stages". He sought what
immediate gains he could from a political settlement
without renouncing the historical right to all of
Palestine. It was the beginning of a moderation that
was to take further him than he could have imagined.

For a while his diplomatic successes overshadowed his
military ones. In 1974, King Hussein, his historic
Arab rival, recognised the PLO as "the sole legitimate
spokesman of the Palestinian people". Two weeks later,
he addressed the United Nations general assembly at
its first full-dress debate on the "Palestine
question" since 1952, becoming the first leader of a
"national liberation movement" to be so honoured.

That triumph was followed by a dreary period of
diplomatic stagnation - and more military-strategic
reverses, inflicted first by Arabs, then Israelis,
then Arabs again. He took sides in the Lebanese civil
war. When his proteges, the Muslim-leftists, were
getting the upper hand, Syria's President Assad
switched sides, sending in his army to help the
right-wing Christian Phalangists. The civil war's
first phase ended in 1976 with the atrocious siege and
fall of the Palestinian refugee camp of Tal al-Zaatar.
At an emergency summit, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait
rescued Arafat from Syrian onslaughts.

In 1982 it was the Israelis who invaded Lebanon. In
the three-month siege of Beirut, they hunted the PLO
leader in person, using F15s as flying assassination
squads while their quarry slept on the beach and in
parks to evade them. Two hundred people died when,
with a laser-guided vacuum bomb, they flattened an
apartment block he had left moments before.

With the loss of his last Lebanese politico-military
power base, Tunis became his headquarters. Though the
Phalangist pogrom of defenceless refugees in the camps
of Sabra and Shatila followed his exile, these were
not his personally bleakest moments. They came 15
months later after he had slipped back into the
Syrian-controlled part of Lebanon, where Assad had
helped foment a rebellion against him in the ranks of
what was left of the Fatah guerrillas.

Arafat's bold stroke failed: bombarded by Israel from
the sea, besieged by Syria, he sailed from Tripoli
under a European-arranged safe passage. "Such,"
prematurely declared the New York Times, "is the
bizarre ending of a movement that, for all its daring,
never found a political vision."

Three years of seemingly growing irrelevance did
indeed lie ahead. And in 1985 Israeli F15s killed 73
people at his seafront Tunis headquarters. His nose
for danger had supposedly saved him yet again: he had
been out "jogging" at the time. But his political
fortunes were sinking to their lowest ebb - at Arab
hands. At a 1987 summit, to his fury, Arab leaders for
the first time put something other than Palestine -
the Iraq-Iran war - at the top of their agenda.

But within weeks the great survivor was savouring a
sweet recovery. With the spontaneous, non-armed
intifada as his new asset, he found himself in a
stronger position than the long, costly "armed
struggle" ever conferred on him; the stones that
youngsters hurled at Israeli soldiers were more potent
than Kalashnikovs. In 1988, he solemnly proclaimed his
adherence to the "two-state" solution, involving the
Palestinians' renunciation of 78% of their original
homeland. He recognised Israel's right to exist. There
began a long dreamt of US-PLO dialogue; he called it
the Palestinians' "passport to the world".

His historic offer was a delusion, a failed gamble,
such was the continuing weakness of Palestinians - and
Arabs. For Israel, he was the unregenerate terrorist;
and Washington would not gainsay its protege.

To enhance his bargaining power he looked more to a
militarily powerful, increasingly militant Iraq. And
when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, he backed him, a
fatuous miscalculation. In American eyes he forfeited
much of the moral and diplomatic respectability he had
slowly garnered. If he had taken the other side, he
would have been better placed to secure Palestine's
place in the "new world order" the US sought to bring
into being.

Still, it was a measure of his personal ascendancy
that he persuaded the Palestinians to go to the 1991
Madrid peace conference, the first time Israel and its
Arab neighbours had talked to each other across a
table. But they did so at the price of historic
concessions. The Israelis chose which Palestinians
they talked to: there was no place for PLO members,
let alone Arafat, in the Palestinian delegation. They
also largely set the agenda; the Americans backed
their refusal to discuss anything suggesting the
Palestinians might benefit from such a fundamental
20th-century right as "self-determination".

Madrid got nowhere. It became tempting to speculate
that he was tiring of his devotion to the revolution,
when, at 62, and to the often disapproving surprise of
his people, he took a 28-year-old Palestinian
Christian wife, Suha Tawil. Tempting, but wrong. He
kept up his endlessly airborne routine. In 1992, his
aircraft crash-landed during a Libyan sandstorm. The
crew sacrificed themselves to save him - testimony to
the loyalty he inspired.

One Jerusalem newspaper called his escape a "heavenly
referendum"; for many Palestinians, the relief and joy
was genuine enough. Yet before long it was the
Israelis who, though they could never love him,
re-cast him as an enemy who gave them much more than
they had dared to hope.

He began the secret talks that astonished the world as
the Oslo agreement. Some of his officials whispered
that the crash, the shock it caused to faculties
already going awry, had pushed him into this last
extremity of "moderation". Weaknesses in Arafat the
man now impinged, as never before, on the cause he
embodied. Individualism, vanity, deviousness,
authoritarianism, a mystical belief in his
infallibility had long been apparent. But now it
became clear just how primary a concern to Mr
Palestine was the destiny of - Mr Palestine. What he
wanted, and was ready to pay almost any price to
secure, was to come back into the game from which the
terms of the Madrid conference, the rise of the
"insider" leadership, and the appeal of Hamas
fundamentalists, threatened to exclude him.

In one stroke, he did come back. On September 13 1993
he won his accolade as a world statesman. In the
signing ceremony on the White House lawn, the
64-year-old former "terrorist" chieftain shook hands
with Yitzhak Rabin, prime minister of the Jewish state
which he had once made it his mission to remove from
the earth.

The price was immense. He claimed that, with Oslo, he
had set in train a momentum inexorably leading to
Israel's withdrawal from all the occupied territories;
the Palestinians were on the road to statehood; he saw
the beckoning spires and minarets of its capital, East

Nine months later he did at least achieve a strictly
physical proximity to them. He returned "home". But
the self-governing areas he returned to were the
merest fragments, in Jericho and Gaza, not merely of
original 1948 Palestine, but of the post-1967 22% of
it on which he was to build his state. And he came as
collaborator as much as liberator.

Oslo provided for a series of "interim" agreements
leading to "final-status" talks. An Israeli
commentator said of the first of them: "when one looks
through all the lofty phraseology, all the deliberate
disinformation, the hundreds of pettifogging sections,
sub-sections, appendices and protocols, one clearly
recognises that the Israeli victory was absolute and
Palestine defeat abject."

It went on like this for six years, long after it had
become obvious that his "momentum" was working
against, not for him. It had been bound to do so,
because, in this dispensation that outlawed violence,
spurned UN jurisprudence on the conflict, and
consecrated a congenitally pro-Israeli US as sole
arbiter of the peace process, the balance of power was
more overwhelmingly in Israel's favour than ever. The
"interim" agreements which should have advanced his
conception of "final status" only advanced the
Israelis' conception.

Meanwhile he was grievously wanting in that other
great, complementary task - the building of his state
in the making. His vaunted Palestinian "democracy" was
no different from the Arab regimes he had so
excoriated for the abuse of his own people and their
own. More people were then dying, under torture and
maltreatment, in Palestinian jails than in Israeli
ones. His unofficial economic "advisers" threw up a
ramshackle, nepotistic edifice of monopoly,
racketeering and naked extortion which enriched them
as it further impoverished society at large, and -
being so inefficient - reduced the economic base for
all. In 1999, unprecedentedly, 20 leading citizens
denounced not just high officials and their business
cronies, but the "president", who had "opened the
doors to the opportunists to spread their rottenness
through the Palestinian street".

With his fortunes again at such a dangerous low ebb,
he was approaching another critical point: persist in
policies and methods which were slowly undoing him, or
revert, to some form of a strategy of militancy and
confrontation - and rely anew on the support of his
people, rather than the favour of the US, to carry it
off. But it was less he, than Israeli prime minister
Ehud Barak, who imposed this choice.

Barak conceived the fantastically overweening notion
of telescoping everything - the "interim" stages which
had fallen hopelessly behind schedule as well as the
"final status" ones which had been left to the end
precisely because they were so intractable - into one
climactic conclave. This would "end the 100-year
conflict" at a stroke. In July 2000, at President
Clinton's Camp David retreat, he laid before Arafat
his take-it-or-leave-it historic compromise. In return
for his solemnly abjuring all further claims on
Israel, Israel would acquiesce in the emergence of a
Palestine state. Or at least the pathetic travesty of
one, covering even less than the 22% of the original
homeland to which he had already agreed to confine it;
without real sovereignty, East Jerusalem as its
capital, or the return of refugees. Most of the
detested, illegal settlements would remain.

After 15 days the conference collapsed. Arafat had
stood firm, evidently deciding that it had been bad
enough, and tactically ruinous, to cede historic goals
temporarily; but quite another to cede them for all
time, in the context of a final settlement. He might
be Mr Palestine, but he had no Palestinian, Arab or
Islamic mandate for ceding Jerusalem's sovereignty or
abandoning the rights of four million refugees.

From this collapse grew the second intifada,
essentially a popular revolt, first against the
Israeli occupation and the realisation that the Oslo
peace process would never bring it to an end, and,
potentially, against Arafat and the Palestine
Authority (PA) which had so long connived in the
fiction that it could.

It took on its own life and momentum. Arafat was at
best in nominal control; its true leaders were men of
a younger generation such as Marwan Barghouti. As a
member of the secular, mainstream Fatah organisation,
he owed him formal allegiance, but his growing
popularity, partly stemming from the decline in his
boss's, gave him a measure of autonomy. His objective
was confined to ending the occupation of the West Bank
and Gaza and that being so, he confined his followers'
attacks to the soldiers and settlers who were the
symbols and instruments of it.

The intifada's other activists were the
fundamentalists of Hamas and Islamic jihad. They did
not oppose Arafat, but nor did they owe any allegiance
to him. Their suicide exploits inside Israel proper
betokened the much larger meaning which the intifada
carried for them: "complete liberation" to which, in
his early years, Arafat had subscribed.

The death toll mounted beneath the overwhelmingly
superior firepower the Israelis could bring to bear:
from small-scale attrition of sniper and small arms
fire, through systematic assassinations, to tanks,
helicopter gunships and F16s unleashed on targets in
densely populated civilian neighbourhoods. Poverty,
hatred and despair mounted too.

Most Israelis saw the intifada as an existential
threat. And they all blamed Arafat. For the
peace-seeking left he had betrayed them and all their
strivings, with a resort to violence just when a
historic breakthrough seemed within grasp.

For the right, he had revealed himself once more as
the unregenerate killer they always held him to be.
This consensus led, in February 2001, to the rise of
Ariel Sharon, the "hero" of Sabra and Shatila, at the
head of Israel's most extreme, bellicose government in

Sharon had one ambition: to suppress the intifada by
as much brute force as he could risk without
antagonising the Americans or his Labour coalition
partners beyond endurance. And he did not mind if in
the process he was to bring Arafat and the PA down; he
would escape from any obligation to pursue the peace
process by eliminating the only party with whom he
could pursue it.

Like Saddam's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the events of
September 11 2001 were another of those unforeseeable
cataclysms that impinged on the Palestinian arena.
This time Arafat was determined to put himself on the
side of the angels. Endorsing America's "war on
terror", he sought to end the intifada. His police
arrested militants who broke the ceasefire and shot
and killed demonstrators who protested against the
Anglo-American assault on Afghanistan.

But it did not yield the tangible gain from the
Americans in the shape of a serious, impartial peace
initiative at last, on which he was banking. On the
contrary, after a brief and humiliating attempt, under
Arab pressure, to rein Sharon in, George Bush II, the
most pro-Israeli president ever, did little more than
look on as he re-conquered much of the West Bank,
wreaked havoc on the infrastructure of the PA, and
subjected Arafat himself to a humiliating siege in his
headquarters in Ramallah. Only Arafat's office was
left standing amid mounds of rubble.

In the summer of 2002, Bush pronounced Arafat unfit to
rule - as "irrelevant", in other words, as Sharon said
he was - and a prime target, along with Saddam
Hussein, for those "regime changes" which Bush now
envisaged across much of the Middle East.

In 2003, after overthrowing Saddam through full-scale
war, he sought to oust Arafat by diplomatic, less
dramatic means. He secured the appointment of a docile
prime minister, Abu Mazin, who he hoped was ready to
do what Arafat was not - go to war against the Islamic
militants without any assurance that in return the
Israelis would make any worthwhile concessions in the

But Arafat, with his continued grip on the levers of
power, joined Sharon, with his intransigence and
continued "targeted killings", and drove the hapless
and unpopular appointee to despair and resignation.
With the total breakdown of the ceasefire that had
come with the latest "road map", and a resumption of
the suicide bombings, the Israeli government announced
its intention to "remove" Arafat, this "absolute
obstacle to any attempt at reconciliation between
Palestinians and Israelis."

"Removal" to a new exile or removal to "the other
world" - that was the question. But this time the
great survivor survived only to be carried off by what
for him was the most extraordinary, because ordinary,
of deaths.

Yasser Arafat (Muhammad Abdul Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa
al-Husseini), politician, born August 4 1929; died
November 11 2004

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November 2004


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Please read and contribute this weekend
(November 20, 2004)
If MER is to move forward and have the kind of impact we can and should now have, independent financial support is crucial. After all the steps we have taken in recent years to reorganize and improve MER, financial support is now the key missing ingredient if we are to be able to take the steps we now could. We are now positioned to reach far more persons worldwide and to have far greater impact including on radio and TV programs. But this can happen only with your serious financial support. So please contribute this weekend making your check to MER and sending to: MER - P.O. Box 4918 - Washington, DC 20008

Yasser Arafat's Life and Legacy
(November 19, 2004)
There are only a small handful of Western journalists who have the background, the credibility, and the conviction, to write with historical depth and considerable insight about the death of Yasser Arafat. David Hirst, still writing for The Guardian after all these years, the man who authored THE GUN AND THE OLIVE BRANCH, is right up there at the top of that list. This article was published in The Guardian last week just as Arafat's death was announced.

Nuke Attack on U.S. 'all but inevitable' warns top CIA official
(November 19, 2004)
As the new historic purge of non-neocons roles over Washington, firing, resignations, and fear have the CIA, the State Department, and lesser known sometimes secret U.S. Government agencies in a tizzy. One of those now forced out at the CIA is the man who has headed up the great manhunt for Osama Bin-Laden. He spoke up last year in a book written by 'Anonymous' titled "Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror." Just days after leaving the Agency he spoke up on the popular CBS News Program Sixty Minutes.

U.S. and ISRAELI Deceptions...over and over again
(November 18, 2004)
Even as Yasser Arafat was being buried last Friday the American President and the British Prime Minister purposefully tried to immediately dim his memory and twist the headlines by holding an unusual joint press conference at the White House. What Bush and Blair spewed forth grabbing TV time that evening from Arafat's Cairo funeral and Ramallah burial twisted and distorted history further beyond recognition. This extraordinary and urgently needed corrective was published by Robert Fisk earlier this week in The Independent.

More on the Arafat 'Stealth Assassination' and Cover Up
(November 17, 2004)
With the 'Stealth Assassination' of Yasser Arafat, following a campaign to kill or imprison most of the popular Palestinian leaders that was greatly stepped up when Ariel Sharon became Israeli Prime Minister, the Arab-Israeli conflict does indeed enter a new phase. But the political cancer has already considerably metastacized region-wide and the 'two-state' cure is not really any longer possible.

The Great Sharon Deception
(November 16, 2004)
"Deception and lies have been a corner stone in Israeli policy, brought to a new level of perfection since Oslo. While the world believed that Rabin promised to eventually end the occupation and dismantle the settlements, the number of Israeli settlers actually doubled during his rule. At the same time that Barak declared he intends to dismantle the Golan Heights settlements, in 1999, he actually poured money into their expansion. As Sharon promised to dismantle at least the illegal settlement posts in the West Bank, their number kept increasing. Still, none of this is ever remembered. Each new lie is received with welcome cheers by the Israeli peace camp, and by European governments. Since Oslo, every Israeli government knows that all it takes, to ease diplomatic pressure, is to come up with a new 'peace plan'."

To Readers of MER
(November 16, 2004)
If MER is to move forward and have the kind of impact we now can and should have financial support making it possible to do so is now the key missing ingredient. We have done so much in recent years. And now we are positioned to reach far more persons worldwide and have far greater impact including on radio and TV programs. Please contribute today making your check to MER and sending to: MER - P.O. Box 4918 - Washington, DC 20008

Powell Out, CIA Purging, Iraq Exploding, Palestinians Erupting
(November 15, 2004)
Just hours after once again fronting for U.S. Middle East policies as today's article in The Guardian points out; just hours, after proclaming about the 'new Palestinian leaders' "We know these gentlemen well, and I hope to be able to see them..."; just hours after the extent of the historic purge of the CIA has flashed into the headlines...; Colin Powell has cashed in his chips in a combination of being pushed and walking away while he still can without even further damage to his once considerable reputation.

ARAFAT - The Assassination and The Cover Up
(November 13, 2004)
Five critical days before it was officially announced that Yasser Arafat was actually dead -- even as leading media organizations were repeatedly parroting officials to the contrary -- MER not only reported the real news that Arafat was all but legally dead but the important news that he had been 'Stealth Assassinated' by blood poisoning by the Israelis. Below are links to MER articles published from 4 to 12 November about the assassination of Yasser Arafat and the cover up that followed.

Israel's Public Threats Against Arafat Telegraphed the Assassination
(November 13, 2004)
These are some of the public threats in the past few years. One can only imagine what has been said when the cameras and microphones were not present.

Sharon's Lethal Words and Cartoons Foretold what was to come
(November 13, 2004)
"Speaking of the Palestinians, they were dealt a lethal blow... It will bring their dreams to an end." -- Ariel Sharon upon returning from his ninth and last meeting at the White House with George W. Bush - 16 April 2004

Public Israeli Threats from top officials to Kill Yasser Arafat
(November 12, 2004)
Public Israeli Threats from top officials to Kill Yasser Arafat escalated in recent months. In any murder investigation, or death under suspicious circumstances, an autopsy is done and those who have threatened the person are investigated. But in the case of Yasser Arafat even though his personal doctor of over 20 years 'demanded' an 'official death investigation' and 'autopsy' those in charge worked feverishly to bury Arafat quickly and prevent any serious independent investigation.

NYTimes Articles on Arafat - 1 to 12 Nov 2004
(November 12, 2004)
New York Times Articles on Yasser Arafat 1 to 12 November 2004

ARAFAT Assassination Coverup as quick and limited funeral and burial take place
(November 12, 2004)
They are racing now to get the funeral over with very quickly and with no real opportunity for the public outpouring of grief and anger that would result if everything were not so closed and controlled by the military. And they are racing as well to get him quickly buried in a rock tomb. His 'wife' has received a huge payoff, $22 million yearly, for her silence. The top 'new leadership' of the Palestinians that has approved these arrangements are all known to be persons closely connected with the Israelis and supported by the U.S. -- Nabil Sha'ath, Abu Mazen, and Abu Ala -- and all known themselves to be politically and financially corrupt.

ARAFAT ASSASSINATION - Article links, Media Interviews
(November 12, 2004)
The personal physician of Yasser Arafat called for an inquiry into the cause of the veteran Palestinian leader's death on Thursday. "I demand an official inquiry and an autopsy ... so the Palestinian people can learn in all transparency what caused the death" of their leader, Dr Ashraf al-Kurdi said on Al-Jazeera television only hours before Arafat was due to be buried... Kurdi, who was Arafat's personal physician for more than 20 years, said he had been surprised by the actions of some members of the veteran leader's office... Yasser Arafat's 'wife' Suha will receive $22 million a year out of the Palestinian Authority budget. Abu Mazen is said to have personally approved this extraordinary arrangement, and it appears to have silenced Suha Tawil from the 'conspiracy' charges she publicly made Monday.

MER on KTSA San Antonio
(November 11, 2004)
Listen to MER on KTSA San Antonio about Arafat's Death; and check links to the past week's MER articles about Arafat.

MER and Media Articles about Arafat on day of his death
(November 11, 2004)
"I demand an official inquiry and an autopsy ... so the Palestinian people can learn in all transparency what caused the death" of their leader, Dr Ashraf al-Kurdi said on Al-Jazeera television only hours before Arafat was due to be buried... Kurdi, who was Arafat's personal physician for more than 20 years, said he had been surprised by the actions of some members of the veteran leader's office.

Sharon Kills Arafat? Assassination Coverup Succeeds?
(November 11, 2004)
The message is rather clear: "You Arab and Palestinian 'leaders' have much more to fear from us (Israel and the U.S.) if you don't play ball than you do from your own people. On top of all the other leaders we have killed off or imprisoned one way or another, we can even pull off a 'Stealth Assassination' of Nobel Peace Prize winner, former most frequent foreign guest to the White House, and international famed Yasser Arafat because he refused to do as we told him he must. So beware: COMPLY, RESISTANCE IS FUTILE."

ARAFAT - Assassination Covered Up As Death Announced
(November 11, 2004)
**MER was first, was right, was most insightful** Days before it was finally officially announced early this morning in the Middle East MER reported that Yasser Arafat was all but legally dead. Even as leading media organizations were parroting contrary and purposefully deceptive information MER not only reported the real news but the important realities. In this case that Yasser Arafat had been 'Stealth Assassinated' by the Israelis with help from as yet undisclosed Palestinians and an American OK.

ARAFAT - How and Where to Properly Bury Him
(November 10, 2004)
And when Arafat's body is flown from Cairo to Ramallah representatives of the Arab League, of all the Arab countries, and of all the countries who have long recognized the PLO and long called for a free and independent Palestinian State, should accompany the body whether the Israelis give their 'permission' or not. They should in this way not only show their respects for Arafat the symbolic man but for the imprisoned and all-too-forgotten people he leaves behind, half in refugee camps, half increasingly behind walls and fences in ghettos and concentration camps.

(November 10, 2004)
Yasser Arafat has been all but legally dead for many days now. He has been kept 'between life and death' in a very 'complex situation' (to use the crafty words that have come from key officials) for financial and political reasons rather than for medical reasons. By a preponderance of the circumstances and the evidence Yasser Arafat has effectively been stealth assassinated by the Israelis as MER first reported and explained last Saturday.

China Rocks the Geopolitical Middle East
(November 10, 2004)
As the Americans expend their power, their money, their blood, and their credibility both Europe and China are on the march. Europe is more often discussed, but the Chinese have been taking important steps into Africa in recent years, and now they are doing so into the Middle East in a bigger way than ever via Iran.

Arafat's Death Announced
(November 9, 2004)
MER reported and explained Arafat's death -- indeed his assassination by blood poisoning -- many days ago, in fact last week. This story from Reuters has just moved on the international wires this morning at 9am EST:

Poor Poor People of Palestine
(November 9, 2004)
This is hardly the first time MER has commented harshly and candidly about Nabil Shaa'th, or Abu Mazen, or Abu Ala. We have in fact done so for years now as upcoming FlashBack articles will serve to remind. As for Suha Tawil, Arafat's "wife", she has proven time and again what a self-serving extortionist and political witch she has truly been -- taking after her mother Ramonda who managed to steal and embezzle more limited millions from the PLO in her own days before introducing her dumpy daughter to Yasser and moving from Palestine to her luxury-life in exile.

MiddleEast.Org on ARAFAT LIFE and DEATH
(November 8, 2004)

Arafat is Dead - Frantic struggles underway
(November 7, 2004)
Yasser Arafat is Dead; likely assassinated by blood poisoning by the Israelis. Frantic struggles and manuevers are underway for power, money, and the symbolism of how and where Arafat will be buried. Arafat's long-time cronies neither of whom has any real popular support but who are trying to take total control of the PLO and the PA with Israeli and U.S. assistance -- Abu Mazen and Abu Ala -- are on the way to Paris.

ARAFAT - How and Where to Bury Him
(November 7, 2004)
Far better symbolism than burial under the dictate of Israeli military occupation and today's apartheid conditions is 'temporary' burial of Yasser Arafat in the city where the headquarters of the Arab League is located, indeed in a special crypt on the grounds of the Arab League in downtown Cairo.

Arafat's Murder and Legacy
(November 7, 2004)
It's the worst possible end for Yasser Arafat, and more importantly for his life-long quest for justice, dignity, and a free independent Palestinian State. In the end it appears Yasser Arafat has been killed by fatal poisoning in a kind of stealth assassination by his arch nemesis Ariel Sharon, with help from those inside his own circles. Arafat passes from history not as the father of a Palestinian State but with his people more fractured and dispossessed and in greater bondage, imprisonment, and impoverishment than ever in their history.

ARAFAT - Stealth Assassination!
(November 6, 2004)
Arafat was assassinated by blood poisoning by the Israelis working with some insiders is the conclusion of Professor Hisham Ahmed... Professor Ahmed lives in Ramallah near the headquarters where Arafat was under house imprisonment for nearly three years. He teaches Political Science at Bir Zeit University and has his Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He has taught at a number of American Universities and been a Fulbright Scholar. Dr. Ahmed was born in Deheishe Refugee Camp near Bethlehem and he is an astute observer of Palestinian affairs and indeed of international affairs.

MER Experts on Arafat's Death (or assassination), Burial Plans, and Legacy
(November 5, 2004)
Please pass this information on to persons in the media. Bruzonsky, Hamzeh, and others associated with MER including Palestinians living in occupied Palestine will be available throughout the weekend for radio and TV interviews. The link to this email is: http://www.middleeast.org/articles/2004/11/1174.htm MER can now be reached at all times, 24-hours daily, at MER@MiddleEast.Org and (202) 362-5266. Persons in the media can reach MER at all times on a special media number -- 202 Number1 (202 686-2371) and Press@MiddleEast.Org

Arafat's Burial, Monies, Powers, and Legacy
(November 5, 2004)
"Both Gaza Ghetto and Occupied Ramallah are awful choices for Arafat's burial, especially in view of the worse than Apartheid realities that have taken hold during the years Arafat played, and lost so badly, the 'peace process' game with the Israelis and the Americans."

About MiddleEast.org
(November 4, 2004)
Please read carefully and please help make MiddleEast.Org possible.

Arafat Dominates In Death as in Life
(November 4, 2004)
Arafat is now likely to be buried not in a free Palestine, not in Jerusalem, not really as the kind of historic figure he so desperately sought to be. Rather he will be likely buried in Occupied Palestine, in the city of Ramallah, behind the new Apartheid Wall, with arch nemesis Ariel Sharon deciding on the place and giving his 'permission'. How sad...how tragic... And the future now on the horizon appears still more gloomy and more bloody than the past now about to be symbolically buried with the body of the single man who has dominated Palestinian history ever since the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1960s.

America, Arafat, and the 'New World Order'
(November 4, 2004)
NBC's Chris Matthews: "I believe we live in a country that is really culturally divided now... maybe the way Pakistan and India are."

Democratic Disaster
(November 3, 2004)
Even as Americans voted and the world watched considerably now in shock, one of the world's most famous scientists, Stephen Hawking, was declaring the U.S. invasion of Iraq a 'war crime' at a protest in London. Now the aftermath of that history-making invasion, of the new Crusade led by the United States and based on major historic deceptions and manipulations, will return to center stage.

Moral Cowards ALL
(November 2, 2004)
Scott Ritter's "The War on Iraq has made Moral Cowards of us all" article should have appeared in the U.S., rather than in The Guardian in the U.K. The article about more mega-billions for the Iraq war did appear in the U.S., on the front-page of The Washington Post last Monday.

Osama Votes Bush Says Fisk
(November 2, 2004)
Robert Fisk is the chief Middle East correspondent for the London Independent and one of the most knowledgeable, insightful, and courageous western journalists about the Middle East. He was exclusively interviewed in 1996 by MERTV for a series of four half-hour programs which we will soon Internet broadcast. He was interviewed yesterday on the 'Democracy Now' program about the recent speech by Osama Bin Laden to the 'people of America', about Yasser Arafat, and about the war in Iraq.

Osama Bin Laden's 'October Surprise'
(November 1, 2004)
Osama Bin Laden: "I am amazed at you. Even though we are in the fourth year after the events of September 11th, Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real causes. And thus, the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred. So I shall talk to you about the story behind those events and shall tell you truthfully about the moments in which the decision was taken, for you to consider."

Iran Next - Part 2
(November 1, 2004)
Tomrrow the American election itself will become history. The likelihood is the Bush/Cheney/neocon regime will remain in power; hard as that still is for so many to imagine and understand. But should the Democrats win the White House Middle East policies will be largely in the hands of the neoliberals and the super money-men like Israeli-Sharon-connected Haim Saban who have far more in common with the neocons than has yet been realized by many who will vote for them. Whatever happens tomorrow the build-up to attacking and if at all possible 'regime changing' Iran is well underway and the showdown increasingly imminent.

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