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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Yasser Arafat: R.I.P. or Good Riddance?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

By now, most of us know that Yasser Arafat has passed away at a hospital in France Wednesday night.  So, I pose the following questions about one of the most divisive figures in modern times:

Rest in Peace or Good Riddance?  Nobel Peace Prize Winner or Terrorist Murderer?  Did he want peace with Israel, or was he the roadblock on the "road map?"

I am going to take the easy route and say there is enough blame to go around and that hopefully we can sieze upon this moment and make some progress towards peace.

But don't cop out like me.  What do you think?

Here are the quick notes in the immediate aftermath, and links to articles if anyone wants to read further.

President Bush calls the death a "significant moment in Palestinian history."  Arafat's Funeral will be in Egypt.  He will be burried in a stone "coffin," and hopes to be transfered to Jeruselum down the road.  Prime Minister Howard of Australia says "History will judge Arafat harshly."

Washington Post

New York Times

Associated Press

Juan Cole (for those of us who simply adopt his opinions on the Middle East)


Posted at 01:54 AM in International | Technorati


Good riddance.

Posted by: NJG from NYC at November 11, 2004 02:45 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

"significant moment...". Duh. Prez is retard?

Posted by: roo roo at November 11, 2004 05:53 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I am not feeling charitable towards Israel
these days so I say R.I.P.

Posted by: The Other Rob at November 11, 2004 06:39 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Great man. May he rest in peace and may he one day be buried in Jerusalem, capital of Palestine.

Posted by: selena at November 11, 2004 07:22 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Good Riddance-

The man who invented the skyjacking is a common thug terrorist. Yeah, I know, he talked about peace, peace, peace....is that why the inifada has gotten so bloody the last two years?

With Clinton spending so much time propping Arafat up, there was really no room for the youth in the PLO to "step up to the plate." With Bush snubbing Arafat (due to his unwillingness to compromise), I think it has allowed the younger PLO members an opportunity to regroup and formulate a plan for real peace. Maybe I am giving them more credit than they are due, but if the young people in the PLO are tired of the killing, maybe they will elect a leader who will put a stop to it...it isn't working.

Also...early signs of ricin poisoning mimic flu-like symptoms. Death is often caused by kidney or liver failure....the mighty castor bean...who dunnit? Old age? The PLO faction that wants peace, finally? The Mossad? My money is on the PLO...

Show me the money....three billion of it. I forgot to mention that Arafat is a thief, too. Billions of dollars diverted to his private Swiss accounts. Maybe that pissed some people off, too...he wouldn't give the account numbers and pins to his OWN appointed reps during his absences...

Just some food for thought.

Posted by: John at November 11, 2004 09:12 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Oops...I forgot a couple of things...

Anyone remember WHO was celebrating the 9/11 attacks?

Also...were any of you disgusted at the terrorists who killed the Russian school children a couple months ago...it was appalling to see that footage...grotesque...

So who invented this type of terrorist....Arafat, of course...when he sent the PLO into Ma'alot in 1974...of course, we didn't have video footage back then like we do now to burn that footage into your mind...in case anyone has forgotten just WHAT Arafat has done, here is a website...


Posted by: John at November 11, 2004 09:34 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I say may his soul rest in peace, but don't come back. The entire Middle East will be better off without him. Now, if we can get rid of Ariel Sharon somehow (non-deadly preferably), newer moderate leader will come up, and they would actually work with one another, not launch suicide bombers or military choppers. We may actually get peace someday.

Posted by: Dale at November 11, 2004 09:35 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Arafat was a terrorist, and refused to make peace. Did Israel give the Palestinians all they wanted? No. But if you look at it from the interests of Palestinians, Arafat hijacked the peace process time and again. Israle is a democracy. Every sucicide bombing not onyl hurts Israelis, but hurts the Palestinian hopes of peace and their own state. Sharon wasdn't Prime Minister when Arafat was negotiating. Peres sincerely wanted peace, Barak too. Sure, Arafat didn't want to be the Michael Collins of Palestine, assassinated by his own radicals for making peace. Well, that's a risk he had to take. In his 10 years in Palestine, he failed to redeem himself. I said 10 years ago, the Palestinian people needed legitimate lections, not to bring Arafat into their midst.

I really hope the moderates will take over on the Palestinian side. If there can be a period of calm, moderates will be elected in Israel as well.

Posted by: Marc at November 11, 2004 10:27 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Just a hunch...probably wrong...

I think Arafat was assassinated by the moderates. Although he spoke of peace...it wasn't happening. I think there are people in the PLO that actually WANT peace...the real thing. Ricin...the wonder drug.

Posted by: John at November 11, 2004 10:32 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Arafat's death is a good thing unless the radicals take over. I do not think Arafat really ever wanted peace. His just gave promises he never followed through on to keep the civilized world from putting him into the cell he deserved. He should have been put into prison and rotted in jail for all the crimes he committed during his life. He was no better than bin Laden and much worse than Hitler.

Posted by: DFuller at November 11, 2004 11:19 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

No one should shed any tears for Arafat. Many national leaders start as terrorists (cf Menachem Begin), but Arafat was never able to take the next step in transitioning to genuine statesman.

But this doesn't help the peace process. There are not a whole lot of moderate Palestinian types being held back by Arafat. I think Hamas will emerge more powerful after this.

Posted by: erg at November 11, 2004 11:32 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

good riddance to the sob.he had his chance to have peace but he refused because it would have ended the need for arafat.he was just a symbol of resistance and now that he is gone peace may be able to be acheived if isreal gives a little.
it`s just a shame he didn`t die two weeks ago it may have helped kerry, because he would make the attempt at peace, can`t see bush making a real attempt.

Posted by: JOEL at November 11, 2004 12:19 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


IMHO I think Bush WILL attempt to negotiate peace between Palestine and Israel. He left the ball in the Palestinians court by refusing to deal with Arafat, after Arafat refused to make concessions. If the Palestinians want peace, Bush will come through. But both sides will need to make concessions.


Posted by: John at November 11, 2004 01:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I think the downside to Arafat's death is that he was the only person in Palestine whose word carried any weight with the Palestinian people. He was capable of selling peace plans, like the Oslo accords, to the Palestinian people by putting himself behind it. I don't see a comparable person on the Palestinian stage now or any time in the near future.

Possibly mooting that point completely is that Arafat, at least in the last ten years, was unwilling or unable to put himself behind any such plan. Which was why the Israelis marginalized him.

Now the Israelis will have to negotiate with the Palestinian people as a whole, which will be even more challenging than negotiating with Arafat.

My prediction: no meaningful negotiations for a long time; more unilateral action by Israel like withdrawing from the Gaza Strip and building the Fence; lots of political handwringing without result and general chaos in Palestine.

Posted by: PAVoter at November 11, 2004 03:22 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Okay...I guess I can say RIP...

May he rot in Palestine.

Posted by: John at November 11, 2004 03:44 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

While I'm commenting on the "Palestinians" it might be a good time to mention that there really is no such thing...it's a derivative of the "Philistines" from the Old Testament, who were not even arabic.

Here is another link:


Posted by: John at November 11, 2004 03:47 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The point that there are historically no "Palestinians" is one I've heard and discussed before. I think it misses a big point ... there may have been no "Palesitnians" 100 years ago (I don't exactly when the identity came about), but there certainly were Arabs (Christian and Muslim) as well as Jews living in the area. True, some, like Arafat's parents, migrated there; but there certainly were a good number of people living there for that time. After 50+ years of being relegated to occupied territories or refugee camps in the Arab world, there certainly is today a group of people who identify as Palestinians. National identity is certainly not static; again I don't know enough about Arab countries to know if people identify as Arabs who happen to live in Iraq, Syria, or whatnot; of if they have a strong national identitiy.

Hey, 200 years ago there were no Americans. 130 years ago there were no Italians, just a bunch of Latins living is a certain area. To say there is today no such thing as an American or Italian would be inaccurate.

The Arab world has to accept people who fled Palestine as equal citizens, rather than relegating them to refugee status and holding out their only hope as returning to their former land. Just as Israel absorbed 700,000 Jews who fled Arab oppression in 1948. One of the biggest causes of this mess has been that Arab countries did not take in the refugees from Palestine. I wish the UN, with US leadership, could've arranged to pay reparations (funded by Germany?) to them and settled the issue.

On another note, one of us commented that most posters here seem to be DLC type folks. Not sure I'd agree with that, but this is the first place I've really ever posted and its so nice to see reasonable viewpoints supported (as evidenced here where we can call Arafat what he was -- a terrorist who refused to support peace efforts).

Posted by: Marc at November 11, 2004 04:18 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


I agree about National Identity...but to keep the comparison analogous to the United States, it would be like saying blacks are Americans and deserve to "own" America. "Palestine" was occupied by many races and religions, so to call someone a "Palestinian" would be a reference to their National Identity.

However, these people who "claim" to be Palestinians are often NOT. They are not native to that area, and they are primarily arab.

I do agree that the people who are now settled in that Region should have a government, but they should NOT have Jerusalem, which would be the ultimate insult to the Jewish people whose history can be traces at least three thousand years back.

I was simply pointing out the fallacies involved, when people talk about Palestinians as if they were an ancient race of people.

Posted by: John at November 11, 2004 05:29 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

There isn't a single person that can trace ANY familial property ownership in the area back to biblical times. The religious claim to the area you quoted would be just as foolish as me claiming the area for Christians and myself because Christ once was there. Being a member of a certain religion that once occupied an area IS NOT a legit basis of claiming title to an area, for an individual nor is it a legit basis for claiming entitlement to an area for a nation state. The claim to the area on the part of the modern nation state of Isreal is therefore just as fraudulant as the Palestinians.

Posted by: Joe at November 11, 2004 06:17 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


Michael Badnarick (Libertarian) David Cobb (Green Party) have joined forces to demand a recount in Ohio. Here is the article:


Posted by: Sam at November 11, 2004 06:47 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


I don't agree. First of all, the Romans ran the Israelites off, as they were so many times during the diaspora. It was actually the Romans who started the whole Philistine/Palestine thing. It was an insult to the Jews.

Also, you are talking about a group of people who have maintained their identity throughout their history, even during the diaspora. Their Religion hasn't changed...and many of them actually never left. BUT...they are an actual RACE of people. They ARE an ancient people and ancient belief system, which are largely intertwined. So it isn't really accurate to compare the Jews with the Palestinians, who are NOT an ancient race of people.

Also, the State of Israel was certainly created (albeit grudgingly)over fifty years ago. That Nation was immediately challenged, and has been repeatedly challenged, and has gained territory during those challenges...so in effect, Israel should probably be able to keep all the land they "won" when their neighbors attacked them unprovoked. They are willing to give up much of that territory for peace. So, in my thinking, they are a much more legitimate owner of the land they are on.

Having said that, the Palestinians ARE a people who exist on the land adjacent to Israel. Those people who identify themselves as such exist, and should probably be given a nation, too. As long as they demonstrate they can coexist peacefully. Many arabic people live peacefully with the Jewish people in that Region. Political groups backed by the other Arab nations that detest Israel are really causing most of the trouble IMHO.

Posted by: John at November 11, 2004 06:55 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I am part Czech, part German, part Native American, but I still identify myself as an American. My daughter is 100% Chinese but she too is an American. National identity is as much geographical as actual ancestry or race.

I have mixed emotions about giving the Palestinians a nation. On the one hand, they identify themselves as a people and Israel was basically forced fed upon the area after World War II. On the other side I don���t like rewarding terrorism. They went about securing a nation the wrong way by years of terrorist acts.

Posted by: DFuller at November 12, 2004 09:35 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


I accept what you are saying about the people that live in "Palestine," but many of those people are not from "Palestine." Also, many of them participated in an unprovoked attack on Israel when Israel WAS forcefed upon them, and lost their lands in war. Not all of them participated.

I believe a majority of the people creating havoc over there are not even native to that area, and are funded by other Arab Nations to be a thorn in Israel's side. In other words, I think the true "Palestinians" WERE living peacefully with Israel, but a bunch of thugs have hijacked the peace process for personal gain, and to cause problems for Israel.

Also, I agree about not rewarding terrorism. I think Israel would have been more acceptant toward their neighbor, if they had gone about things differently. Hell, Israel was about to make major concessions during Clinton's Administration, but Arafat walked away. He never really wanted peace...he wanted to amass his own personal wealth by fueling a protracted guerilla war.

Posted by: John at November 12, 2004 10:38 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


Subject: Tell Congress to Investigate the 2004 Election

Dear friend,

Questions are swirling around whether the election was conducted honestly or not. We need to know -- was it or wasn't it?

If people were wrongly prevented from voting, or if legitimate votes were mis-counted or not counted at all, we need to know so the wrongdoers can be held accountable, and to help prevent this from happening again.

Members of Congress are demanding an investigation to answer this question. Join me in supporting their call, at:



Posted by: FRED at November 12, 2004 11:47 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


It is time to move on. The election is over. It is time to focus on 2006 and 2008. There were definitely some dirty tricks in Ohio, but it didn���t cost Kerry the election. The one thing that must be changed is to put more voting booths in Cleveland. It is ludicrous to have people wait in line for four hours to vote. This problem must be addressed but the problem is the Republicans control OH and are unlikely to address it. After all, it does keep people from voting in Cleveland.

Posted by: DFuller at November 12, 2004 04:10 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

"The man who invented the skyjacking" was David Ben-Guiron. The Israeli military pioneered it in the fifties, just as the pre-state Jewish terrorist groups it grew out of pioneered car bombs, truck bombs, marketplace bombs, and bus bombs (hundreds upon hundreds of Palestinians were murdered by these tools.)

Not very many people know this history because the Zionists have always been better propagandists than the Palestinians, an advantage that has proved every bit as important as having more money and better weapons.

Posted by: Robert Farrell at November 15, 2004 10:04 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

John --

Why are you selling that tired propaganda here? There are no Palestinians -- this from the "Israelis," who fabricated an ethnicity out of a religion, claimed as a common language a dead one no Jew spoke, invaded and ethnically cleansed a land known as "Palestine" for two thousand years, and proclaimed themselves a nation.

The Palestinians invented terror -- this from the Israelis, who got ahold of Palestine by massacring entire villages, expelling hundreds of thousands of people, and bulldozing or flattening with explosives over 300 villages.

Zionists shouldn't talk to anyone about terror. Their entire nation was created and is sustained by terror. Israel is terror.

Posted by: Robert Farrell at November 15, 2004 10:16 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


The skyjacking actually dates back to the 1930s. I guess Yasser Arafat is a zionist...I was using his own words to describe him as the pioneer of the skyjacking...he bragged about it.

I am neither Israeli, nor Zionist.

As far as "Palestine" being known as "Palestine" for 2,000 years, you are correct...the Romans coined the term as an insult to the Jewish people. It is a mispronunciation of the ancient "Philistines" who no longer exist.

As far as Israel being sustained by terror...that concept is laughable. If you were to draw your fist back to strike me and woke up in a hospital room....that would not make me a terrorist. Israel has a right to defend herself. Israel was "created" or more accurately "recreated" by the leading governments of the world, and is a recognized state. If Palestine wants to be recognized as a state, they need to stop blowing people up.

I support Palestine obtaining statehood. But not a bunch of common thugs...the people of Palestine have been represented for too long by terrorists and criminals. They have an opportunity now to elect a leadership that will negotiate peace...not walk away from the negotiations when they have been given far more concessions than anyone ever thought possible...the way arafat...the self-proclaimed godfather of the skyjacking did.

Posted by: John at November 16, 2004 08:26 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The story that the Romans began calling Palestine Palestine to insult the Jews is a myth. Heteronous (Greek historian, 5th century BC) uses the term.

The idea that Israeli violence is self-defense is laughable. In the first place, they invaded the land. They are the agressors. If you break into my house, I raise my fist to you, and I wake up in the hospital, you are indeed a terrorist.

In the second place, the primary purpose of Israeli violence is not and has never been to protect Jewish lives. It is and has always been to conquer the land and kill, expel or repress the Palestinian inhabitants. It is to deny the majority self-determination. The practictioners of Israeli terrorism share their goals quite openly. The Israeli government justifies new Jews-only settlements as a means of isolating and weaking Palestinian villages -- openly. They describe Palestinians as a cancer and fund programs to reduce the Palestinian birth rate -- openly. And this is what goes on in Israel proper, to say nothing of the territories.

The quintessential example of Israeli "self-defense" was the Kfar Quassem masscare. It was 1956; Israel had just invaded Egypt. IDF soliders surrounded several Arab villages in the Negev, in Israel proper. Of the course of the afternoon, 49 unarmed and unresisting Palestinians, mostly women and childern, were shot to death by the IDF.

People who come selling this crap about the peace-loving Israelis being victimized by the savage Palestinians are trading on Americans' historical illiteracy. I appeal to everyone to review the facts for yourself -- you'll be shocked.

Palestinians militants, like all anti-colonial rebels, have done bad shit of which they should be ashamed. This the world knows. On the other hand, Israel is a racist state, created by ethnic cleansing, and sustained by acts of murder, mayhem and repression every bit as evil as the worst the Palestinians have done. Of this, many people, especially Americans, are ignorant.

Posted by: Robert at November 21, 2004 05:41 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

PS: Of course, there are no longer any Philistines. Then again, there are no longer any Hebrews, so that argument cuts both ways.

Remember, Palestinians do not need to torture history to try and create a connection with the land -- they've been living on it for centuries. It is only the Jewish religion which needs to twist ancient history to try and justify their claim on someone else's home.

Posted by: Robert at November 21, 2004 05:49 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Good Riddance. Yasser Arafat was the source of thw whole palestinian-israeli conflict. He was the one who didnt want a seperate state, no, he wanted the whole thing. All i say is god gave him what he deserves. Did u no i heard he died of AIDS?

Posted by: Shira at December 3, 2004 10:24 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment