yasser arafat was the topmost leader of the PLO – the umbrella organization for the social, militant, and terrorist organizations of the palestinians and the official representative of the palestinian people to the world. he was top chairman of fatah, in fact, he started it. arafat started one of the most deadly advertising campaigns in modern history: he employed hijaking tactics and terrorism that had never been used and popularized them as an example for future causes which have devastated people across the globe for the last 30 years.
he had hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid, donations, and other resources in his control which stayed in his various bank accounts and out of the palestinian markets. he had the strongest street credit in gaza and the west bank.
all the while, he remained two faced about everything – saying one thing to terrorists, giving them the green light to cross borders and do what they do, start riots, intifadas – and he particpated in various negotiating projects with the israelis and americans. however, each one – each and every one – but oslo – ended up in arafat saying he couldnt do a deal. he couldnt go back to his factions and bring peace.
arafat, out of anyone, was the one man who could have used his various elements of power to turn things around. he had plenty of muscle but he never flexed it in the right direction. he funded fatah and others. he embraced sadam hussein in the gulf war because saddam spoke for the palestinian cause by donating money to arafat’s blackhole of a bank account, palestinian terror groups, and later on, directly to the families of suicide bombers for incentive.
arafat is the ultimate symbol of palestinian nationality: a conflicted self- and national- identity steeped in misunderstanding, weakness, and confusion. a capable group has been stunted of growth for 40+ years. the palestinian people is the most educated (per capita) arab people. and look where they are stuck.
can u figure out why?
it is time to bury the face of the palestinian nationalist cause – figuratively if not physically – and move on towards a period where the palestinians can rally behind one government – not one person – that will define palestinian nationalism in a constructive essence.
yasser arafat is gone and his legacy will certainly remain for the last and present generation, despite efforts otherwise. however, the handcuffs on palestinian freedom have indeed been unlocked. it is time for the palestinian people to take control of their future.