November 12, 2004


Howard can find no good words (Tom Allard and Linda Morris, November 12 2004, Sydney Morning Herald)

Yasser Arafat would be harshly judged by history and did not do enough to curb terrorism, the Prime Minister said yesterday.

John Howard made his damning assessment just hours before Arafat's death was announced, showing how much his view has changed since he embraced Arafat as "a man who is searching for peace" during a visit to the Gaza Strip.

The April 2000 visit came amid optimism that Israel and Palestine were on the verge of peace, but the deal foundered and Howard blames Arafat, who, he says, would have got "90 per cent" of his demands.

"History will judge him harshly for not having seized the opportunity in the year 2000 to embrace the offer that was very courageously made by the then Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak," he said.

Howard said "many people" saw Arafat as a terrorist and "I find it very hard to believe he couldn't have taken more action to restrain the activities of terrorist organisations".

Neither Howard nor any of his ministers will attend the funeral, but Australia would send an "appropriate" representative, he said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 12, 2004 8:38 AM

One struggles to conceive of who an "appropriate" Australian representative might be.

Perhaps a serial murderer from one of their prisons?

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 12, 2004 9:32 AM

Jeff, you beat men to the punchline.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at November 12, 2004 10:02 AM

The guy in the Road Warrior with the funny haircut who was the #2 guy in Humongous's gang.

Posted by: Bart at November 12, 2004 11:00 AM

If only Arafat's coffin had burst open like Khomeini's did.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 13, 2004 8:17 AM