Thursday, November 04, 2004

I am faster than CNN, nytimes.com, FOXnews, ABCnews, CBSnews, and others, to tell you that according to the prime minister of Louxembourg as well as the Israeli TV that received the news from the French sources, Yasser Arafat just died. He's been declared clinically dead by his doctors.

However, the Palestinian prime minister denies the information, citing Arafat's wife. The spokesperson of the hospital rejects the news, too. Nevertheless, all the semi-reliable statements are compatible with the conjecture that Arafat is technically alive, but brain dead.

Let's now assume that the news is correct after all and Arafat will never wake up again.

It's always sad if someone whom you know dies. Although Czechoslovakia played a rather important role in establishing the state of Israel, the communists eventually allied with Arafat, and the Palestinian state was presented as our friends.

Later, one had to learn about all these Arab terrorists in Israel - and Yasser Arafat was provoking them. Although Arafat dedicated his blood after 9/11, and he was not such a terribly negative figure after all, I am pretty sure that the post-Arafat era will be a bit happier for Israel and there will be new chances for peace in Israel and Palestine. Arafat has been the only true leader in Palestine, and the Palestinians will probably become a bit frustrated without him.

1 comment:

1. And for the prospective inhabitants of a Palestinian state? Really, I think the future is not much in the hands of any Palestinian leader, because such a person has no meaningful power, neither Israel nor the US would allow them to do anything independently. The medium term outcome is in the hands of Bush and Sharon, and in terms of attacks on Israelis, in the hands of Hamas and other Islamists.

If the Palestinians 'behave' nicely then the Israelis have no incentive to give any sort of political settlement (that is, citizenship, statehood and some sort of return for taking away their property) and I don't believe there will be progress. If they behave badly then Israel has an incentive to retaliate violently and refuse a political settlement. Either way, the facts are that Israel has absolute power due to its enormous military superiority and is only restrained by the necessity to keep the US on its side.

It is odd, but Tony Blair seems to be the only hope for any sort of just political settlement.

One possible positive thing is the necessity to hold Palestinian leadership elections. Even though the president would not have any real power, it would focus attention on the facts in the region in a positive way.

It is not clear what you mean by 'dedicated his blood'... Do you mean donated, as in blood transfusion? That was a smart move politically, but possibly not with regard to his own health.

(Due to the cumbersomeness of signing on to blogger, I am not going to do it, hence remain 'anonymous'.)

TD

PS If the 'news' is true then Bush faces a very difficult task immediately, because a lot of people in the US are going to be very happy with Arafat's death, but Bush will have to try to be diplomatic.