September 14, 2003


Israel's threat revives Arafat's flagging image (KARIN LAUB, September 14, 2003, Chicago Sun-Times)

Yasser Arafat is in fine spirits for someone facing expulsion or assassination, flashing victory signs and relishing the support of tens of thousands of Palestinians who rushed into the streets to reaffirm his status as undisputed leader and national symbol.

He may have good reason: By declaring its intention to ''remove'' Arafat, Israel boosted his flagging popularity -- yet it may be unable to make good on its threat because of U.S. opposition and international condemnation.

And even if Arafat were kicked out, he could comfortably run Palestinian affairs from abroad, possibly a welcome change after being cooped up by Israel in his West Bank compound for nearly two years. Arafat led the Palestinians in exile from 1967, when Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the Middle East war, until his return in 1994, operating from Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia and other Arab countries.

Israel can be forgiven many things, but not reviving Yasar Arafat.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 14, 2003 10:15 AM

Mr. Judd;

One wonders just what the Israeli Security Cabinet was thinking, to not anticipate this. They should have announced it about 30 minutes before Arafat was shot resisting deportation. I fail to see what the positive results from this were expected to be.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at September 14, 2003 3:27 PM


The problem remains the same as it's ever been--if you're going to negotiate this matter away, only Arafat can cut the deal. Until they take the other option, of imposing statehood, they'll keep him alive.

Posted by: oj at September 14, 2003 3:53 PM

The real problem is that they have no intention of actually expelling Arafat.

Well, let me extend and revise that remark. Expelling Arafat is a terrible idea. He has no particular concern for the Palestinians and no desire to share their lot. He would much rather move to Paris with his wife and child, get a hero's welcome from the French, live off what he has looted from the PA and cause trouble jetting around the world. Why would the Israeli's want to set that in motion? They don't, so they won't expel him.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 14, 2003 5:56 PM

So all they've done is enhance his stature and hurt the new PM.

Posted by: oj at September 14, 2003 6:16 PM

Israel has 5 options to deal with Arafat:

1. Status Quo -- He is stirring up too much trouble. Makes Israel look
weak and indecisive.

2. Exile -- Even worse he will be running around stirring up trouble. He will be on television every night.

3. Kill Him. He won't be stirring up trouble, but he will be a martyr.
Besides the EUnics and the UNics will go on an anti-Israeli propaganda spree.

4. Arrest him, Put him on Trial. No EUnic and no UNic will ever think that the trial is fair. Besides his defense will be an attack on Israel.
If the Judges do not allow him to put it on, they will see it as unfair.
If he puts it on, it will be an all out anti-Israel propaganda blitz.
Either way Israel looses.

5. House Arrest. Declare Arafat to be an Enemy Combatant and place him under house arrest. Surround his compound. Remove everyone but Arafat.
Do not allow him to meet with outsiders except for Red Cross representatives. No telephones, no window appearances, no meetings with Eunics, no television, no radio. There will be an initial squawk, but after a while he will be forgotten.

Right now Israel is having the worst of Number one. personaly I think 5 is the best.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 14, 2003 8:20 PM


"if you're going to negotiate this matter away, only Arafat can cut the deal. "

You have said this before and it was conventional wisdom in Washington a couple of years ago. Problem is, If he really wanted to negotiate with the Israeli's he has his chance in 2000, but he went back to war. Now no one in Israel and no one outside the State Department thinks that Arafat ever had any interest in negotiating anything.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 14, 2003 8:24 PM

Mr. Schwartz;

OJ didn't claim that Arafat wanted to negotiate, but that Arafat alone could.

Mr. Judd;

I understand that, but then why say anything? That's the stupid part and it's even more stupid if they never actually had any intention of doing something.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at September 15, 2003 12:16 AM

He could but he won't. So he is worthless now.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 15, 2003 12:51 AM
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