|YASSER ARAFAT'S TREACHEROUS LEGACY ...
by Jim Simpson
SFTT.ORG Soldiers For The Truth - Defense Watch,
March 3, 2005
|Editor's note: The ongoing U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan clearly indicate that the United States will keep a significant military presence in the Middle East for the indefinite future. In that light, this analysis of the late PLO chairman's true goals and the future of the Palestinian people is of direct significance to the men and women in the U.S. military uniform serving in that tempestuous region now - and in years to come.
The January elections in Iraq have awoken dormant aspirations for freedom all over the Middle East. From protests in Lebanon and the fall of Lebanon's Syrian-backed government, to promised elections in Egypt, a bright flame of hope has been kindled. Adding to the optimism, the recent death of Yasser
Arafat paved the way for election of a new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, upon whom the world has pinned high hopes for a peaceful resolution
to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Since this conflict is said to be the epicenter of Middle Eastern turnoil, how realistic are hopes for its resolution? How much faith can we put in Mahmoud Abbas? To even begin to honestly evaluate these questions, we must first dispense with the myths and legends surrounding Arafat and make
a full and honest disclosure of his record and the nature of the organization through whose ranks he rose. Such honesty has unfortunately been sorely lacking in public discourse over the past thirty years, but is essential if we are to accurately gauge Abbas' prospects for success.
There was an outpouring of sympathy from leaders around the globe following Arafat's death on Nov. 11, 2004. Typical was the remark by French President Jacques Chirac, who called him "a man of courage and conviction who for 40 years incarnated the Palestinians' fight for recognition of their national rights."
Without doubt, Arafat is the person most often identified with the cause of Palestinian statehood. But this characterization, made popular by the mainstream Western media, and reflected in remarks by leaders such as Chirac, is so far off the mark one wonders how they could have remained so uniformly deluded for so long.
So who and what was Yasser Arafat really? We'll start by defining what he was not..
What Yasser Arafat was not.
Yasser Arafat was not a Palestinian. He was an Egyptian. He was born in Cairo Egypt, as Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat As Quadwa al-Hussaeini,
of a merchant father from Gaza who shuttled back and forth between the two cities. His mother was from Jerusalem. Now you might conclude from his
parentage that this could still make him a Palestinian by heritage if not by birth. But in fact - and this may shock you - there is no cultural, racial or national "Palestinian" identity except that invented by the PLO. Palestinians are simply Arabs who have lived for a time in the area generally regarded
Who could make such an audacious claim? Former Israeli Prime Minster Golda Meir did, for one. Perhaps however, it would be more credible coming from the PLO itself. Every now and then, such groups-dispense with the propaganda and reveal what they are really up to. PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein made one such statement to a Dutch newspaper in 1977. He said:
"The Palestinian people does not [sic] exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct "Palestinian people" to oppose Zionism."
Going even further back the PLO's first leader, another Egyptian named Ahmed Shukairy, said in 1956, before the PLO was even born: "It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria."
According to a 2001 article in WorldNetDaily by Joseph Farah: "Palestine is no more real than Never-Never Land." The Romans first applied the name in 70 A.D. as an insult to the Jews, being derived from "Philistines," a people conquered by the Jews centuries before. It was ruled alternately by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the Ottoman Empire and by the British after World War I, but there has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. There is no identifiable Palestinian language or culture. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Saudis and Iraqis."
Yasser Arafat was not a champion of Palestinian statehood. His purpose was the elimination of Israel as part of the larger goal of eliminating western influence in the region and creating one unified Arab nation throughout the Middle East. In article 15, The PLO charter clearly states:
"The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national (qawmi) duty and it attemps to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against
the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine."
It has been asserted that the correct translation for "elimination of Zionism" is "elimination of Israel." The phrase "imperialist aggression," as usual, refers to the Western powers in general and the United States in particular. Nothing in the PLO charter has changed to this day despite the many contradictory statements from Arafat and other PLO leaders suggesting they would settle for a "Palestinian state" coexisting side-by-side with Israel. A Palestinian state is not their goal, never has been.
The PLO sees Palestine and Palestinians as "an integral part of the Arab nation," and that Palestinian "liberation" and "Arab unity" are complementary goals.
In Articles 13 and 14, the PLO Charter states:
"13. Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine are two complementary objectives, the attainment of either of which facilitates the attainment of the other. Thus Arab unity leads to the liberation of Palestine, the liberation of Palestine leads to Arab unity; and work toward the realization of one objective proceeds side by side with work toward the realizaiton of the other."
"14. The destiny of the Arab nation, and indeed Arab existence itself, depend upon the destiny of the Palestine cause. From this interdependence springs the Arab nation's pursuit of, and striving for, the liberation of Palestine. The people of Palestine play the role of the vanguard in the realization of this sacred (qawmi) goal."
To see this clearly, one must understand what they mean by "Arab unity." As I have asserted in previous DefenseWatch articles (see "Regime Change Means Eradicating the Ba'ath Party," DefenseWatch, Feb. 19, 2003), it is another phrase for the "single Arab nation" idea pursued by the Ba'athists of Iraq and Syria, which in turn is a twist on the familiar "unification" demands of communist movements all over the world as justification for aggression, including but not limited to Vietnam ("One Vietnam"), Korea (Unification), and Red China (Taiwan is a "breakaway" province which needs to be reunified with the mainland).
It is not surprising therefore that Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization, and all the other Palestinian revolutionary movements for that matter, have received much of their support from Syria and (until Operation Iraqi Freedom), Iraq. For unlike the other nations of the Middle East, who would rather maintain national autonomy, the Ba'athists support the idea of a "Common Arab Homeland" (unified under the Ba'athist banner, of course).
This is not surprising either, given the fact that both the PLO and the Ba'athist movement were originally creations of the Soviet Union. From its inception, the PLO was a Soviet-inspired Communist movement.
This is evidenced in the Charter's frequent use of familiar terms like "Imperialist" and "Imperialism" which are KGB-coined invectives for the United States, and others like "Vanguard" and "Progressive," which are familiar Soviet terms applied to communists and communist movements.
But you need not decipher words in the charter to reach that conclusion. Former CIA Deputy Director Ray Cline provided ample proof in his 1984 book Terrorism, The Soviet Connection.
And there's more. Ion Pacepa, acting chief of Romanian foreign intelligence, was the highest ranking intelligence officer to ever defect from the Soviet
Bloc. His group was tasked with training PLO leaders. In a recent interview with FrontPageMagazine.com, he recalled:
"The PLO was dreamt up by the KGB, which had a penchant for 'liberation' organizations. In 1964 the first PLO council, consisting of 422 Palestinian representatives handpicked by the KGB, approved the Palestinian National Charter - a document that had been drafted in Moscow."
The most damning evidence against Arafat's claimed aspirations for Palestinian statehood however, are his own words. In his FrontPage interview, Pacepa describes an exchange Arafat had with late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1978. Ceausescu had just informed him that Moscow wanted him to pretend that the PLO was willing to renounce terrorism in hopes of becoming a Palestinian state. Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev thought that then-President Carter would buy it:
"But we are a revolution," Arafat exploded ... "We were born as a revolution and we should remain an unfettered revolution." Arafat expostulated that the Palestinians lacked the tradition, unity and discipline to become a formal state [emphasis mine] ... and he was not willing to put any laws or other obstacles in the way of the Palestinian struggle to eradicate the state of Israel.
But Ceausescu prevailed on Arafat, Pacepa noted:
"Ceausescu ... told [Arafat] that, if he would transform the PLO into a government-in-exile and would pretend to break with terrorism, the West would shower him with money and glory. 'But you have to keep on pretending, over and over'... in the shadow of your government-in-exile you can keep as many terrorist groups as you want, as long as they are not publicly connected with your name."
Arafat was granted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for renouncing terrorism and promising to change the PLO charter's goal of eliminating Israel. None of these promises were ever kept, despite Arafat's solemn oaths, made "over and over" as Ceausesu suggested.
On Sept. 13, 1993, the same day Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin signed the "Declaration of Principles" embodying those ideals for which he would later get
the Nobel Prize, he explained the motives on Lebanese TV:
"Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel."
Once you accept this reality - a Palestinian state is not the PLO's goal, never has been - it is easy to understand why Arafat rebuffed former Israeli
Prime Minister Ehud Barak's extremely generous offer of statehood for Palestine in 2000.
Yasser Arafat was not a Muslim. He is fully indoctrinated in the culture and ideology of radical communist revolutionaries and enjoyed the support and full backing of the Soviet Bloc. He was a Communist.
Pacepa flatly stated in his book that Arafat was "a devoted Marxist-Leninist." This is not really news: Any movement dreamt up by the KGB would, by definition, have to be communist at its core. Arafat's professed belief in Islam, right down to TV shots of him bowing on a prayer mat in traditional Muslim fashion, was pure political theater, nothing more. So Arafat's al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, while professing allegiance to Allah, are simply stooges carrying out the terrorist policies of the atheistic PLO.
What Yasser Arafat Was
Yasser Arafat was the father of modern terrorism. Arafat's PLO pioneered in the use of terror tactics and has been both an inspiration and source of support for many of the terrorist groups that came afterward. He will go down in history as responsible for countless acts of terrorism not only against Israel but also the United States, including:
* The murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. This watershed event ushered in the age of modern terrorism.
* The Murder in May 1973 of American Ambassador to Sudan, Cleo A. Noel, Jr., his deputy, George Curtis, and Belgian charge d'affaires Guy Eid.
The State Department has long tried to cover this up, according to several news reports.
* The 1974 killing of 26 mostly 15 year-old girls taken hostage at school in Ma'alot, Israel.
* The 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro and murder of U.S. citizen Leon Klinghofer, a wheelchair-bound tourist who was shot then
pushed overboard in front of his wife.
* Popularizing the hijacking of airliners.
*Recruiting and training Imad Mughniyah, today one of the most notorious international terrorists. Through his membership in Hezbollah, Mughniyah helped bring Iran into the terrorism business and is believed to be responsible for the Beirut Embassy and Marine barracks bombings in 1982 and 1983. His meeting with Osama Bin Laden in the mid 1990's paved the way for a working relationship between Hezbollah and al Qaeda, and assisted al Qaeda in improving their bomb making capability (see "Terrorism's Godfather", by Aaron Mannes, in National Review Online, Nov. 11, 2004).
* Since the signing of the Declaration of Principles (Oslo accords) in 1993, over 300 attacks against the Israeli population, including deliberate targeting of children, in which more than 1,300 Israelis were killed.
Yasser Arafat was a thief. By many investigative news accounts, Arafat stole billions of dollars in aid money meant for the Palestinian people. While the areas under PLO control have deteriorated precipitously, Arafat stashed away most, if no all, of the monetary aid intended for them, including:
* Almost 1 billion collected in taxes from the Palestinian people was retained in investment accounts under Arafat's name.
* Astonishingly, in the Oslo accords, Israel agreed to pay Arafat the sales taxes collected from Palestinians in Israel, about 1 billion to date. This too went into Arafat's personal accounts, according to a CBS News investigation.
* According to the PLO's own finance minister, Salam Fayyad, Arafat gave commodity monopolies to his friends, who in turn diluted their products and jacked up prices on the Palestinians. For example, the General Petroleum Corporation took fuel purchased from Israel and watered it down with kerosene. In addition to ripping off Palestinian drivers, the poor quality fuel ruined their cars' engines. Arafat got kickbacks, CBS News reported.
* Arafat received many gifts from the KGB, Saudi Arabia and others. Saddam-Hussein allegedly gave him $50 million for his support in the 1991 Gulf War I.
Yasser Arafat was a ruthless oppressor of the Palestinian people. Arafat established a Stalinist enclave among the Palestinians, a police state with the highest number of security forces per capita of any country in the world. Per Capita income has been cut approximately in half since the Palestinian
Authority took power following the Oslo accords.
The Palestinian Authority rules with an iron hand. Death sentences have been issued, for example, to Palestinians who willingly sell their own land to Israelis. The Palestinians have also suffered greatly as the result of being drawn into a war with Israel not of their own making and not intended for their benefit but rather, for Arafat's own regional ambitions.
Yasser Arafat was an alleged pederast. According to Papacea and other authors, it was widely believed that he was a homosexual. Among other evidence, the Romanians claim they took survelliance videos of Arafat engaged in orgies with his male bodyguards.
Moveover, internationally famous Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, who has interviewed many foreign leaders including Arafat, revealed with evident disgust in a 1981 Playboy interview that Arafat had a marked preference for young boys. Perhaps this is the blackmail Arafat's wife, Sufa, with whom
he hadn't lived for years, used to garner herself a multi-million-dollar annual "death benefit." The proceeds of course, flow from his billions in ill-gotten gains.
Many speculate that the cause of his death was AIDS. Arafat's symptoms included blotchy skin, dementia, a depressed immune system and massive weight loss. The only other disease indicated by these symptoms, leukemia, was ruled out. The only ones who can release Arafat's medical records are his family, and they aren't talking.
The official line went from the ludicrous "he was poisoned by the Israelis" to the absurd: "A poor diet and gastrointestinal complications due to his long confinement in PLO headquarters imposed by the Israelis caused his health to deteriorate." Of course, it was the Israelis fault, one way or the other.
I vote AIDS.
Terrorists from Syria to Iran to the wilds of Afghanistan widely championed Arafat and his cause as another front on the fight against the decadent and immoral "Great Satan." It is indeed ironic that one of the most celebrated champions should succumb to a disease caused by activities they claim are symbolic of the decadent West: homosexuality.
Despite their public rhetoric, Yasser Arafat was despised by Middle Eastern leaders. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak referred to him once as "a son of a dog." A Syrian defense minister called him the "son of 60,000 whores." Even his Soviet Bloc handlers found him repulsive: "I've never before seen so much cleverness, blood and filth all together in one man," Romanian General Constatin Munteaunu was reputed to have said. Ion Pacepa added: "I felt a compulsion to take a shower whenever I had been kissed by Arafat or even just shaken his hand."
Yasser Arafat was leader of a murderous terror organization whose goals have not changed even in the months after his death. As should be obvious from this analysis, the PLO leadership has long been committed to one goal: the obliteration of Israel. The poor Palestinians have been and remain nothing more than useful dupes for this grand scheme. It remains a mystery to me why Western leaders even talk about Palestinian statehood.
It would be nice to hope that Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat's successor, may make a genuine attempt to secure a lasting peace. I doubt it.
Abbas is a smooth talker and has the appearance of a kindly grandfather. In this regard, he is indeed different from Arafat. But the ideological swamp from which both he and Arafat came is toxic environment incapable of supporting sound mental health, much less pragmatic statecraft. As an early member of the PLO, Abbas has survived in this sewer a long time. You do not rise to the top by secretly harboring ambitions to betray such an organization's goals. You get there by being the most dedicated to the cause as well as the cleverest among many vile brutes.
Futhermore, it's hard to penetrate the logic of his hopeful supporters. Other terrorist organizations in PLO areas, like Hamas, Hezbollah, or Islamic Jihad for example, which was implicated in the Feb. 15 nightclub bombing in Tel Aviv, are characterized by being outside the PLO's sphere of influence. If this is the case, how can any agreement with the PLO guarantee peace? If it is not the case, then why do the attacks continue despite Abbas' repeated promises?
Expect more of the same, except with polished excuses and apologies.
The PLO was originally created as one front on a multi-front war to wrest the Middle East from Western control and turn it into a Soviet-inspired socialist paradise. This idea has been temporarily shelved due to rejection of Ba'athist/communist ideology throughout much of the Middle East and now the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Whether the rise of radical Islam is yet another proxy in this war remains to be seen. There are some indications that may be the case, but it is beyond the breadth of this article to analyze such a question.
In any event, dictatorial regimes have long planning horizons. As Arafat himself said in his interview with Oriana Fallaci nearly 30 years ago:
"We don't want peace! We want war, victory. Peace for us means the destruction of Israel and nothing else. That which you call peace, is peace for
Israel and the imperialists. For us it is injustice and shame. We will fight until we achieve victory. Decades if necessary, generations."
For now they are biding their time. For the long term, rest assured the PLO is every bit as determined to wipe Israel off the face of the map as they were the day eleven Israeli athletes were murdered in Munich. They don't care about much else, and never have.
Jim Simpson is a Contributing Editor of DefenseWatch. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send feedback responses to email@example.com.