No Sir, Yasser

in General Discussion edited January 2014
<a href=""; target="_blank">No Sir, Yasser</a>

Prepare to break relations with Arafat.


Saturday, February 2, 2002 12:01 a.m. EST

Yasser Arafat sits in Ramallah a virtual prisoner. The master of the half measure is now paying the price for failing to make a strategic choice for peace.

A year ago he could not say yes to the Clinton ideas--ideas that would have given the Palestinians an independent state with the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem as its capital and nearly all of the West Bank and Gaza as its territory. He was incapable of saying yes to peace, but unfortunately only too capable of saying yes to violence.

In place of the Clinton ideas, what has Mr. Arafat produced for his people? I think it is safe to say a catastrophe: more than 850 dead, approximately 17,000 wounded, a destroyed economy, and no prospect any time soon of having their aspirations addressed. A year ago, the Palestinians were closer than they have ever been to achieving their hopes and dreams. Today, they are farther away than at any time since the beginning of the Oslo process.

Does Mr. Arafat offer any vision for the future? His speech on Dec. 16 gave his people some hope. His call for a cease-fire and insistence that there could not be multiple authorities in the Palestinian territories produced a surge of support for him. Palestinians crave leadership. They resent the corruption of the Palestinian Authority; they would like to see democracy emerge. But, at the same time, they want their leaders to lead.

Unfortunately, Mr. Arafat has succeeded as a symbol but failed as a leader. Even now he cannot make a choice. He makes symbolic arrests, but not meaningful ones. He cuts deals with Hamas and Islamic Jihad that will be jettisoned when it is convenient to do so. He calls for a ceasefire, while he seeks to smuggle in enormous quantities of weapons and explosives from Iran. The only choice Mr. Arafat consistently makes is to avoid making a choice.

Mr. Arafat's historic error is not only to fail to lead his own people but also to make Israelis doubt they have a partner for peace. He has succeeded in convincing the Israeli public that his aim is their destruction. In such circumstances, who will press the Israeli government not to inflict increasing pain and suffering on the Palestinian public?

In the past I have argued for giving Mr. Arafat an ultimatum: Make arrests, dismantle the infrastructure of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, collect illegal weapons, and speak the way Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf does to his public about terror and violence. Legitimize peace, not terror. Acknowledge that negotiations nearly produced for the Palestinians, while violence is destroying their prospects.

Knowing Mr. Arafat, the only possibility of ever getting him to take these steps is for him to understand that he is out of chances. Unfortunately, he may never believe that. He certainly does not believe it today. He still believes that he will survive this spot as he has so many tight spots before. He still believes that he is indispensable, so he can ride out any difficulty. Sooner or later, he believes, the Israelis will make a colossal mistake. One of their incursions into Palestinian cities will kill a large number of people, and he will become the victim again. Then the pressure will be put on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Of course, he could be right. Maybe the Israelis will make a tragic mistake. But that won't change the fundamentals of a situation in which Israelis and Palestinians are now trapped in an escalating war fueled by anger and revenge.

It may be that the fundamentals cannot be transformed so long as Yasser Arafat remains as the leader of the Palestinians. But no one can pick a leader for the Palestinians except the Palestinians. Indeed, any effort from the outside to displace Mr. Arafat will only coalesce support for him.

Are we left with no options except to let the tragedy worsen? I would still impose an ultimatum on Mr. Arafat, requiring him to make the arrests, act against the infrastructure, collect illegal weapons, and speak differently to his public. If he does what is required of him, the Israeli government must respond by lifting the siege and carrying out their obligations under the Tenet and Mitchell plans. But I have no illusions. I doubt Mr. Arafat will do what is necessary. Not only is he incapable of ending the conflict, I doubt now that he is up to the task of even more limited, if difficult, measures needed to produce stability and negotiations.

In light of that, I believe the Bush administration should prepare to suspend relations with him. It must do so publicly, not silently. It must explain certain truths to the Palestinian public: that only the Palestinians can determine their own leadership; that Palestinian aspirations must be addressed; that there is no military solution to this conflict; that neither Palestinian violence nor Israeli force will produce a lasting settlement; that we will deal with any Palestinian leadership, including the current one, if it assumes the responsibilities of making peace. But to date, their leader has failed to fulfill his responsibilities, making commitments but never fulfilling them, speaking of peace in the daylight while supporting terror in the shadows. We cannot pick the Palestinian leader, but we can choose not to deal with a leader who is irresponsible.

Under such circumstances, Mr. Arafat might finally see he is out of chances. Failing that, at least the Palestinian public and our Arab friends will understand what will be required before Palestinian aspirations can be addressed.

Mr. Ross, President Clinton's Middle East coordinator, is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

[ 02-02-2002: Message edited by: Scott H. ]</p>


  • Reply 1 of 24
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member

    It may be that the fundamentals cannot be transformed so long as Yasser Arafat remains as the leader of the Palestinians. But no one can pick a leader for the Palestinians except the Palestinians. Indeed, any effort from the outside to displace Mr. Arafat will only coalesce support for him


    That the essential point. Therei is an another important point : is there is anybody in palestine strong enough to make a decent peace, to stop the violence ? If such a man exist ,can he bee strong enough to rule the palestine, to make the law respected, to arrest terrorism, and to rest in life (you are sure that many people will try to kill this men)

    i am not sure that even if Arafat has the will to stop terrorism (i think he is as not in the past the real wish to stop it) he can stop it now.He is not able to arrest (not in a symbolic way for 48 hours) the terrorist. If he realy try this , he will die soon.

    Arafat has played a strange and dangerous game in the past (he was himself a terrorist), i think for him it's too late, he doenst control anything now.

    That's why i don't see any solutions for the palestinian problem this time. Sharon is not a man of peace, but he is the result of the palestinians attitude in the past months. Barak proposed the peace in the past, what did the palestinian ? Make more pressure in order to obtain more. The result : Election of Sharon.The isrealian people elected Sharon , because they are sick of terrorism. They want more security, so they choose Ariel Sharon. In an another way many isrealians peoples are ready for a palestinian state.

    so i say the ball is in the palestinian camp.

    [ 02-02-2002: Message edited by: powerdoc ]</p>
  • Reply 2 of 24
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Arafat is apparently feeling the heat - he wrote a column in the Times today. I included it here in full because of the Times' registration requirement.

    The Palestinian Vision of Peace


    AMALLAH ? For the past 16 months, Israelis and Palestinians have been locked in a catastrophic cycle of violence, a cycle which only promises more bloodshed and fear. The cycle has led many to conclude that peace is impossible, a myth borne out of ignorance of the Palestinian position. Now is the time for the Palestinians to state clearly, and for the world to hear clearly, the Palestinian vision.

    But first, let me be very clear. I condemn the attacks carried out by terrorist groups against Israeli civilians. These groups do not represent the Palestinian people or their legitimate aspirations for freedom. They are terrorist organizations, and I am determined to put an end to their activities.

    The Palestinian vision of peace is an independent and viable Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, living as an equal neighbor alongside Israel with peace and security for both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. In 1988, the Palestine National Council adopted a historic resolution calling for the implementation of applicable United Nations resolutions, particularly, Resolutions 242 and 338. The Palestinians recognized Israel's right to exist on 78 percent of historical Palestine with the understanding that we would be allowed to live in freedom on the remaining 22 percent, which has been under Israeli occupation since 1967. Our commitment to that two-state solution remains unchanged, but unfortunately, also remains unreciprocated.

    We seek true independence and full sovereignty: the right to control our own airspace, water resources and borders; to develop our own economy, to have normal commercial relations with our neighbors, and to travel freely. In short, we seek only what the free world now enjoys and only what Israel insists on for itself: the right to control our own destiny and to take our place among free nations.

    In addition, we seek a fair and just solution to the plight of Palestinian refugees who for 54 years have not been permitted to return to their homes. We understand Israel's demographic concerns and understand that the right of return of Palestinian refugees, a right guaranteed under international law and United Nations Resolution 194, must be implemented in a way that takes into account such concerns. However, just as we Palestinians must be realistic with respect to Israel's demographic desires, Israelis too must be realistic in understanding that there can be no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if the legitimate rights of these innocent civilians continue to be ignored. Left unresolved, the refugee issue has the potential to undermine any permanent peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis. How is a Palestinian refugee to understand that his or her right of return will not be honored but those of Kosovar Albanians, Afghans and East Timorese have been?

    There are those who claim that I am not a partner in peace. In response, I say Israel's peace partner is, and always has been, the Palestinian people. Peace is not a signed agreement between individuals ? it is reconciliation between peoples. Two peoples cannot reconcile when one demands control over the other, when one refuses to treat the other as a partner in peace, when one uses the logic of power rather than the power of logic. Israel has yet to understand that it cannot have peace while denying justice. As long as the occupation of Palestinian lands continues, as long as Palestinians are denied freedom, then the path to the "peace of the brave" that I embarked upon with my late partner Yitzhak Rabin, will be littered with obstacles.

    The Palestinian people have been denied their freedom for far too long and are the only people in the world still living under foreign occupation. How is it possible that the entire world can tolerate this oppression, discrimination and humiliation? The 1993 Oslo Accord, signed on the White House lawn, promised the Palestinians freedom by May 1999. Instead, since 1993, the Palestinian people have endured a doubling of Israeli settlers, expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and increased restrictions on freedom of movement. How do I convince my people that Israel is serious about peace while over the past decade Israel intensified the colonization of Palestinian land from which it was ostensibly negotiating a withdrawal?

    But no degree of oppression and no level of desperation can ever justify the killing of innocent civilians. I condemn terrorism. I condemn the killing of innocent civilians, whether they are Israeli, American or Palestinian; whether they are killed by Palestinian extremists, Israeli settlers, or by the Israeli government. But condemnations do not stop terrorism. To stop terrorism, we must understand that terrorism is simply the symptom, not the disease.

    The personal attacks on me currently in vogue may be highly effective in giving Israelis an excuse to ignore their own role in creating the current situation. But these attacks do little to move the peace process forward and, in fact, are not designed to. Many believe that Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister, given his opposition to every peace treaty Israel has ever signed, is fanning the flames of unrest in an effort to delay indefinitely a return to negotiations. Regrettably, he has done little to prove them wrong. Israeli government practices of settlement construction, home demolitions, political assassinations, closures and shameful silence in the face of Israeli settler violence and other daily humiliations are clearly not aimed at calming the situation.

    The Palestinians have a vision of peace: it is a peace based on the complete end of the occupation and a return to Israel's 1967 borders, the sharing of all Jerusalem as one open city and as the capital of two states, Palestine and Israel. It is a warm peace between two equals enjoying mutually beneficial economic and social cooperation. Despite the brutal repression of Palestinians over the last four decades, I believe when Israel sees Palestinians as equals, and not as a subjugated people upon whom it can impose its will, such a vision can come true. Indeed it must.

    Palestinians are ready to end the conflict. We are ready to sit down now with any Israeli leader, regardless of his history, to negotiate freedom for the Palestinians, a complete end of the occupation, security for Israel and creative solutions to the plight of the refugees while respecting Israel's demographic concerns. But we will only sit down as equals, not as supplicants; as partners, not as subjects; as seekers of a just and peaceful solution, not as a defeated nation grateful for whatever scraps are thrown our way. For despite Israel's overwhelming military advantage, we possess something even greater: the power of justice.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    well, this man is clearly a terrorist. Off with his head... And BTW, why don't the palestinians go back to where they came from? <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
  • Reply 4 of 24
    [quote]Originally posted by New:

    <strong>well, this man is clearly a terrorist. Off with his head. <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" /> </strong><hr></blockquote>

    aww, he was just quoting that Times article... <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" />
  • Reply 5 of 24
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    <img src="confused.gif" border="0">
  • Reply 6 of 24
    [quote]Originally posted by New:

    <strong> :confused: </strong><hr></blockquote>

    my sense of humor's more parched than dry i guess

    [ 02-03-2002: Message edited by: yablaka ]</p>
  • Reply 7 of 24
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    lol! no, your actually a funny guy!

    [ 02-03-2002: Message edited by: New ]</p>
  • Reply 8 of 24
    [quote]Originally posted by New:

    <strong> (still don't get your point...)</strong><hr></blockquote>

    oh, ok then ! where I was coming from was like, you wrote "man's clearly a terrorist" (meaning YA) . Then as a goof I pretended to mis-interpret it that you meant BRussell...which... as I go back, makes no sense at all, as the first sentence begins "Arafat is apparently feeling the heat..." I have to go to bed now, the white coats are here with my nightly tranq... :cool:

    [ 02-03-2002: Message edited by: yablaka ]</p>
  • Reply 9 of 24
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
  • Reply 10 of 24
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    And BTW, why don't the palestinians go back to where they came from?

    You mean India? They come from all over. And who cares anyway.

    <a href=""; target="_blank"></a>;

    Instead of fighting Israel, the othe muslim nations in the area should absorb them (the Palestiniens.). But they won't. You know why? Greed, intolerance and pride.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    Yeah right... go absorb something yourself...

    Thats got to be the stupidest thing I ever read. The right of refugees to return to their homeland is an important principle in modern international politics. It is also in may ways one of the principle behind the fundation of the state of israel... The desire of the jews to return home... Israel wouldn't be the same if the placed it somwhere in Ohio or Utah would it...??? Even though the people who live there would probably be perfectly absorbed by the rest of the US.

    As for the arabs; Their history goes as far back in the middle east as the jews. They are both the decendents of Abraham, right?
  • Reply 12 of 24
    [quote]Originally posted by New:


    As for the arabs; Their history goes as far back in the middle east as the jews. They are both the decendents of Abraham, right?</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Yep, which is why the Arabs have to give up their fantasy of eliminating Israel. The article BRussell posted was fine but Arafat has always told the West one thing and his own people something else entirely. That game has gotten real old.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    Well, why don't you post Yassir's article in the Bagdad Times then...
  • Reply 14 of 24
    [quote]Originally posted by New:



    You saying he doesn't play that game? Grow up.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    I'm just asking you to back up your statement... If whe're gonna have this discussion again, can we please build it around some facts?

    I think the article shows that there might be some hope for peace after all... and I know many jews and palestinans that want peace. But it seems to me that some of you guys sitting so far from this conflict, would rather it like to have an all out war in the middleeast.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    [quote]Originally posted by New:


    ... can we please build it around some facts?</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Good idea.

    [quote]<strong>But it seems to me that some of you guys sitting so far from this conflict, would rather it like to have an all out war in the middleeast. </strong><hr></blockquote>

    Where's you get that from?
  • Reply 17 of 24
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    Well, removing Yassir Arafat by force would be an exelent way to escalate (spelling?) the conflict... Scott here seems to think this is a plausible solution...
  • Reply 18 of 24
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    Remove Arafat by force and yu get worse to replace him. work with him and you continue to get this two-faced approach to the peace process; pretend to support peace efforts but lend a tacit if not outright support for the murder of civilians by duped fanatics.

    What needs to happenb is some real support from the other mid-East countries in the form of help with an infrastructure and money for basic goods and jobs NOT for guns and bombs.

    Unfortunately, the rest of the mid-east needs the Palastinian's to remain misserable. This gives them a rallying cry, and a reason for being, a raison d'etre; a reason to blame all their woes on Israel and the US and to bond around an issue: it gives them purpose and identity.

    By the way they are all invaders there, its just a matter of time, and numbers. What caused the original Jewish diaspora? They didn't just want to start that 'wandering jew' thing out of fun.....

    Why is it that whenever history is used to justify things it becomes a very selective reading?

    as I've noted many times: we are still chastised for the Crusades, but look at Hagia Sophia in Constantanople . . . it was once the center of the Eastern Roman Empire . . .but something happened . . .we don't bitch about it all day and use it to justify murder. . . .
  • Reply 19 of 24
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    pfflam: I agree with you that the one thing that would help the situation right now is to improve the living conditions and the democratic rights of the average palestinian. However there is no way of achieving this without working with both arafat and sharon at the moment.

    hopefully both parties will be able to vote better politicians into office some day, but these are the ones we are stuck with right now! <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
  • Reply 20 of 24
    [quote]Originally posted by New:

    <strong>Well, removing Yassir Arafat by force would be an exelent way to escalate (spelling?) the conflict... Scott here seems to think this is a plausible solution...</strong><hr></blockquote>

    WTF did you get that from?
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