Mansoor Ijaz, Fox News foreign affairs analyst, is a Muslim. His wife is Palestinian. Ijaz refers to Yasser Arafat as, "The most corrupt individual on the planet."
It is refreshing to see that not all Arabs and Muslims parrot the party line that Arafat is an innocent spokesman for the "oppressed" Palestinian people. When Fox News broke the story that a teenage girl had killed herself and two Israelis on March 29, Izaj made it clear that Arafat had sent her to her death. He is convinced that no terrorist activity takes place in Israel unless Arafat orders it. Of course, anyone who follows the conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians and whose brain weighs more than that of a chipmunk has known this for years. But since the Palestinian "leader" sent a woman suicide bomber to her death last month, followed by this child, the world is starting to understand that Arafat, for all his pretty speeches, is nothing more or less than a savage animal.
Various people, depending on their degree of naiveté and their political or religious persuasion, have offered a wide array of motives to explain Arafat’s actions. Some say he is a devout Muslim who is passionate in his desire to rid all Jewish occupation from Islam’s holy places. Others believe he is motivated by a hatred of Jews bred in him from childhood. A few are naive enough to think that this butcher truly desires peace. And some think his actions spring from a deep desire to protect his people and see them in possession of lands he claims belongs to them. I don’t believe any of these explanations stand up to scrutiny.
My research indicates that Arafat is not a religious person in any conventional sense. None of his interviews show any sense of personal religious faith or adherence. Yes, he knows how to use religious words like "martyr" and "jihad" to further his goals. But one gets the clear sense that his only connection to Islam is his use of the religion and its true adherents to further his political goals.
I certainly recognize the hatred Arafat harbors for all Jews. He, like most Arabs for generations, was fed hatred for Jews and Israel for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But I do not see only ethnic hatred coming through clearly as the motivating factor behind his brutal and often bizarre actions.
Only the most simple still cling to any scrap of hope that Arafat desires peace in the Middle East. He has broken eleven signed cease-fires with Israel. He has violated every agreement, signed or verbal with the United States and surrounding Arab states. He has sabotaged every peace initiative that had any prospect of coming to fruition. He sends large sums of money to the families of "holy martyrs," encouraging others to follow in the suicide bombers’ footsteps. He calls the Palestinian people to "holy war" in Arabic, while protesting that he wants peace when he speaks to Western audiences in English. This is not a man who seeks peace.
The cruelest lie of all is the one that casts Arafat in the role of protector of the Palestinians. How could anyone believe that he cares about his people when he has sent hundreds of them on suicide missions, and thousands to fight in engagements where they had small chance of walking away unscathed? This monster cares for his people only as long as they are willing to die senseless deaths for his purposes.
So what is the motivation for Yasser Arafat’s bloody actions? Mr. Ijaz, along with many other observers of the Middle East, thinks Arafat is all about power. I couldn’t agree more. Arafat has amassed untold personal wealth from the billions given him by the Americans duped by his "charities," by the Saudis and other Arab states, and by Muslims the world over who are foolish enough to believe his lies. Yet he has had many opportunities to leave the Middle East and live off his secret bank accounts, and not taken advantage of them.
There is only one answer to this conundrum. Arafat’s ego and his lust for power force him to stay in a place where his very life is at risk. He has a deep need to be considered a statesman. He is willing to risk his life to be considered a world leader. He lives for the fleeting moments when real leaders are forced to talk to him. This pathetic individual actually believes that his people respect him, when it is clear that intelligent Palestinians would be overjoyed to be rid of his oppressive regime. He has never been elected in a free and open election. The rest of the world deals with him only because he has managed to cling to power through intimidation of his own people, and by toadying to the powerful Arab leaders who use him for their own ends.
It appears that Arafat may have made his final mistake. Sending a suicide bomber into the crowded lobby of a hotel in Israel to kill nineteen Israelis and Europeans on the holiest of Jewish holidays may well have sealed his fate. Surrounded by Israeli tanks, his compound under siege, Arafat is suddenly open to peace negotiations. Interestingly, Arafat recently stated that he had prayed to Allah that he might be privileged to become a martyr. But as soon as his life appeared to be in danger he was on the phone to any world leader who would take his call, promising to be a good boy from now on.
This is reminiscent of Mullah Omar’s desperate attempts to negotiate peace when it was apparent that President Bush was about to attack Afghanistan. Just as Omar remained defiant to world opinion until just before the bombs started to drop, Arafat has thumbed his nose at the world for decades. Now he faces removal from power by the Israelis. One can only hope that Ariel Sharon will have the sense to emulate Mr. Bush and ignore Arafat’s final attempt to lie his way out of this situation.
THEY DO NOT HAVE TO SUFFER IN SILENCE.
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