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Arafat the Monster

Arafat the Monster

He left this world peacefully, unlike the thousands of victims he sent to early graves.


Yasser Arafat died at age 75, lying in bed surrounded by familiar faces. He left this world peacefully, unlike the thousands of victims he sent to early graves.

In a better world, the PLO chief would have met his end on a gallows, hanged for mass murder much as the Nazi chiefs were hanged at Nuremberg. In a better world, the French president would not have paid a visit to the bedside of such a monster. In a better world, George Bush would not have said, on hearing the first reports that Arafat had died, "God bless his soul."

God bless his soul? What a grotesque idea! Bless the soul of the man who brought modern terrorism to the world? Who sent his agents to slaughter athletes at the Olympics, blow airliners out of the sky, bomb schools and pizzerias, machine-gun passengers in airline terminals? Who lied, cheated, and stole without compunction? Who inculcated the vilest culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich? Human beings might stoop to bless a creature so evil -- as indeed Arafat was blessed, with money, deference, even a Nobel Prize -- but God, I am quite sure, will damn him for eternity.

Arafat always inspired flights of nonsense from Western journalists, and his last two weeks were no exception.

Derek Brown wrote in The Guardian that Arafat's "undisputed courage as a guerrilla leader" was exceeded only "by his extraordinary courage" as a peace negotiator. But it is an odd kind of courage that expresses itself in shooting unarmed victims -- or in signing peace accords and then flagrantly violating their terms.

Another commentator, columnist Gwynne Dyer, asked, "So what did Arafat do right?" The answer: He drew worldwide attention to the Palestinian cause, "for the most part by successful acts of terror." In other words, butchering innocent human beings was "right," since it served an ulterior political motive. No doubt that thought brings daily comfort to all those who were forced to bury a child, parent, or spouse because of Arafat's "successful" terrorism.

Some journalists couldn't wait for Arafat's actual death to begin weeping for him. Take the BBC's Barbara Plett, who burst into tears on the day he was airlifted out of the West Bank. "When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound," Plett reported from Ramallah, "I started to cry." Normal people don't weep for brutal murderers, but Plett made it clear that her empathy for Arafat -- whom she praised as "a symbol of Palestinian unity, steadfastness, and resistance" -- was heartfelt:

"I remember well when the Israelis re-conquered the West Bank more than two years ago, how they drove their tanks and bulldozers into Mr. Arafat's headquarters, trapping him in a few rooms, and throwing a military curtain around Ramallah. I remember how Palestinians admired his refusal to flee under fire. They told me: 'Our leader is sharing our pain, we are all under the same siege.' And so was I." Such is the state of journalism at the BBC, whose reporters do not seem to have any trouble reporting, dry-eyed, on the plight of Arafat's victims. (That is, when they mention them -- which Plett's teary bon voyage to Arafat did not.)

How is it possible to reflect on Arafat's most enduring legacy -- the rise of modern terrorism -- without recalling the legions of men, women, and children whose lives he and his followers destroyed?

And what about those victims? Why were they scarcely remembered in this Arafat death watch?

How is it possible to reflect on Arafat's most enduring legacy -- the rise of modern terrorism -- without recalling the legions of men, women, and children whose lives he and his followers destroyed? If Osama bin Laden were on his deathbed, would we neglect to mention all those he murdered on 9/11?

It would take an encyclopedia to catalog all of the evil Arafat committed. But that is no excuse for not trying to recall at least some of it.

Perhaps his signal contribution to the practice of political terror was the introduction of warfare against children. On one black date in May 1974, three PLO terrorists slipped from Lebanon into the northern Israeli town of Ma'alot. They murdered two parents and a child whom they found at home, then seized a local school, taking more than 100 boys and girls hostage and threatening to kill them unless a number of imprisoned terrorists were released. When Israeli troops attempted a rescue, the terrorists exploded hand grenades and opened fire on the students. By the time the horror ended, 25 people were dead; 21 of them were children.

Thirty years later, no one speaks of Ma'alot anymore. The dead children have been forgotten. Everyone knows Arafat's name, but who ever recalls the names of his victims?

So let us recall them: Ilana Turgeman. Rachel Aputa. Yocheved Mazoz. Sarah Ben-Shim'on. Yona Sabag. Yafa Cohen. Shoshana Cohen. Michal Sitrok. Malka Amrosy. Aviva Saada. Yocheved Diyi. Yaakov Levi. Yaakov Kabla. Rina Cohen. Ilana Ne'eman. Sarah Madar. Tamar Dahan. Sarah Soper. Lili Morad. David Madar. Yehudit Madar. The 21 dead children of Ma'alot -- 21 of the thousands of who died at Arafat's command.

November 13, 2004

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Visitor Comments: 100

(100) Wayne E. Cost, January 25, 2005 12:00 AM

Good Riddance

A snake in the grass is dead and the world is a better place because of it.

(99) Anonymous, December 8, 2004 12:00 AM

Allowed to rejoice

A previous visitor's comment questioned our right to rejoice upon Arafat's death, quoting as proof that Hashem told the angels not to sing when the Egyptians were drowning. HOWEVER -- the Jews themselves did indeed sing, and their song is part of the Torah (i.e., it was right and correct). Maybe for the angels who did not suffer it is improper to rejoice, but for the victims themselves it is eminently proper. I would say the same applies here.

(98) Marcelo Vasilcovsky, December 4, 2004 12:00 AM

Arafat, the clever terrorist.

That's it. The article says it. Arafat was the most clever terrorist since terrorism was known in the world. While posing as "The poor leader fighting for the Palestinian cause", supported all terrorist organizations with the million dollars that he never ever used for his own civilians. I feel ashamed when i see people here thinking of him as "the example of a leader", like if they were talking of a hero, when he as a cruel assassin. He was the only terrorist the world could wasted tears for his death.
I just have pity of him. His soul is so full of cruel crimes, maybe he won't have any merits to go even to the Gueynom.
May G'd bless the soul of every victim of that cruel murdered, called Arafat.

(97) Kirby, November 27, 2004 12:00 AM

only a man has died

I cannot remember a time when arafat/ plo was not in the news. I am baffled that such a creature should recieve such praise the media and world leaders alike have heaped upon his corpse. The Nobel prize he was awarded is a slap in the face to any person capable of reason.
The Good News: arafat is dead
The Bad News: only a man has died. The terrorists that he spawned and nurtured yet live.
The power and wealth that arafat amassed will surely entice the next despot to take the same measures and use the same tactics. May God bless us that must endure what is to come and have mercy on those that suffer.

(96) Stephen, November 27, 2004 12:00 AM

To quote Rabin "Arafat never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity"

As a Jew I'm ambivalent about the passing of Arafat. I believe though not a popular notion for us that Irgun and Stern were considered terrorist organizations. Mandela was a terrorist and probably at the time others viewed Ghandi as a terrorist.
Arafat was cunning he raised the plight of Palestinians to the world and embodied their movement.
The failure of Arafat was he had a country and literally blew it up in his own face by starting the Infatah. He had a chance to show the world that there could be a democratic Arab country. He had a chance to give his people some wealth but instead diverted funds to his own accounts. The deaths and destruction Arafat brought to Jewish lifes was surpassed by the deaths and destruction to Palestinian lifes.
I am a Jew and understand why he's labeled a terrorist but as a Westerner I understand that he was a man that could have been a statesman. Indeed as Rabin said, "Arafat never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity"

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