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What will Arafat do now?

Reader comment on item: 100 Bin Ladens on the Way?

Submitted by Nathan Ray Thomas (United States), Apr 11, 2003 at 16:29

With his major financial contributor and political ally now missing in action, it's going to be interesting to watch how Arafat orders his behavior in the future. His core ideology has not changed, but now without his major political supporter to add legitimacy to his outrages, where will he now run to for cover? Remember, the Palestinians were (and still probably are) the most ardent supporters of Saddam Hussein and his now crumbled regime. Their hatred of Israel and Jews in general dovetails with Baathist ideology and its fidelity with core Nazi doctrine. Who can forget the images of Palestinians cheering Saddam on in the first Gulf War in which they and Jordan's deceased dictator-king were the only two supporters of Iraq in the Middle East?

It will be interesting to see if the Palestinian-on-the-street will also start to get a taste for freedom and self-determination as the Iraqis are now doing. It seems inconceivable that a good portion of the Palestinian population are not starting to rethink the viability of their leadership that they have and the wasted political capital (not to mention other wasted resources) which has been spent to destroy Israel. Lessons learned by example are just as effective as those actually inflicted by punishment. No doubt the Palestinian leadership are watching the Iraqi liberation with much trepidation.

Arafat's newly appointed Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, occupys a token office. No one can deny this. Even if he wielded real power, he would still be a bad choice. From reading extensively about Israeli-Arab relations, I note that the two common beliefs among Muslims are that the Jewish people don't have a right to exist and that the Holocaust didn't happen. In America and other countries of like political mind, both are non-starters. But in much of Europe and all of the Muslim world, they are political assets. It would seem that by necessity, President Bush should start carving away at these two flawed beliefs as a basis for using his leadership skills in helping to establish a non-violent co-existence between Israel and its neighbors.
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