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Arafat: A Man Of His People - U.S. Needs To Deal Fairly With Palestine
The Boston Channel ^ | November 15, 2004 | Helen Thomas

Posted on 11/15/2004 2:47:49 PM PST by O.C. - Old Cracker


"My beauty is hypnotic, no?"

This is a requiem for Nobel Peace Prize winner Yasser Arafat, the fallen leader of the benighted but unbowed Palestinian people.

He never achieved an independent state for his people or the return of thousands of exiled Palestinians to their homeland, but there was no question he was their unchallenged spiritual and political leader.

To the masses who live under Israeli occupation, Arafat was revered as a Palestinian patriot who represented their national aspirations.

He also was demonized as a Hitler by the Israelis who reviled him and in the end isolated him in the rubble of his compound, which was surrounded by Israeli troops.

Of course, there was growing dissatisfaction with his monopoly on power and restiveness among the younger Palestinians who joined the cause.

There also were reports of corruption and nepotism.

Last year, an International Monetary Fund audit of the Palestinian Authority found that, between 1995 and 2002, Arafat had funneled $900 million in public funds to a bank account under his control.

Arafat drifted between being a world-traveling statesman -- picking up support and sympathy from the Middle East and Europe -- and a revolutionary. It took masterful manipulation to reconcile the various factions among his supporters, including the strong activists in the Intifada.

Arafat's cause was to establish the nation of Palestine and to recover some of the land that has been absorbed by Israel for expansion of its settlements on the West Bank.

The Palestinian leader also had mastered the art of survival after a reported 40 assassination attempts, a plane accident and a stroke.

He kept intact the Palestinian Authority, despite the political setbacks and tightening Israeli cordon.

Throughout his first term, President George W. Bush shunned Arafat while overtly courting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Bush met Sharon some dozen times, mostly at the White House. Bush also dubbed Sharon "a man of peace," ignoring his militant personal history. That stunned much of the world, and probably some Israelis too.

The president strongly denounced the Palestinian suicide bombers who took the lives of so many innocent Israelis, but he gave the Israelis a pass when they went into Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza with American-supplied tanks, helicopters and planes to put down the revolt against occupation.

The PLO leader had been virtually under house arrest in his besieged compound for two years before he died.

The U.S. government ignored his plight and Bush never criticized the recent Israeli assault on the Gaza refugee camps. Hardly a day goes by without Palestinians being killed.

Once in a while, after an outbreak of new violence in what the Israelis sometimes call "the territories," a U.S. spokesman would read a banal statement urging restraint on both sides. But there was no doubt whose side Washington was on, particularly after the government vetoed seven resolutions in the United Nations condemning Israel.

Past presidents have understood the complexity of the Middle East and tried to play the role of honest broker in Arab-Israeli negotiations, albeit tilting toward Israel.

After Arafat turned down a peace plan pushed by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and President Bill Clinton in 2000, the Palestinian leader was ostracized and Clinton blamed him for the collapse of the peace talks.

Clinton and other leaders had characterized the peace offer as the last, best opportunity to end the conflict.

But the plan presented a major obstacle that would have challenged any Palestinian leader: Abandoning Palestinian claims on land and property in Israel dating back to Israel's founding in 1948 and a bifurcated Palestine.

Bush ignored the volatile Middle East dispute when he first came into the presidency. After 9-11, he called for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

But it was half-hearted at best and appeared to be a sop to halt the al-Qaida recruitment of Palestinians who were losing hope of independence.

Every once in a while, Bush proudly mentions that he is the only president who has endorsed a two-state solution -- Palestine and Israel -- but on his watch the United States has done nothing. It is too busy trying to occupy Iraq.

Sharon plans to pull out of the hell hole of Gaza, but one of his top advisers said the Israeli goal is keeping a firm grip on the West Bank and fending off any move toward a Palestinian state.

Arafat shared the Nobel peace prize in 1994 with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres after they signed a peace pact that formally recognized Israel's right to exist and gave the Palestinians limited self-rule on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

With Arafat now gone, American officials believe the main obstacle to peace has been removed. But nothing will be accomplished if they continue to play on only one side of the street.

(Helen Thomas can be reached at the e-mail address hthomas@hearstdc.com).


TOPICS: Editorial; Israel; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: arafat; gorgon; helenthomas; israel; medusa; nutburger; palestine; terrorism; terrorists
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It's as if the construction of each line was preceded by a drag on a Virginia Slim and a shot of tequila. The article picks up speed like a drunk driver and gets progressively erratic. I half expected there to be a scrawled scream at the end.
1 posted on 11/15/2004 2:47:51 PM PST by O.C. - Old Cracker
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker
"I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter. Now I wake up and ask myself, 'Who do I hate today?'''

Helen Thomas

2 posted on 11/15/2004 2:50:30 PM PST by T. Buzzard Trueblood ("Hell, I don't want to meet them sons of bitches." Elvis Presley on the Beatles)
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker

I think Helen Thomas and Anna Nicole Smith must both get their drugs from the same Doctor. What an insaniac.


3 posted on 11/15/2004 2:51:47 PM PST by sockmonkey
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker

Predictably, this smelly old frump comes to the defense of the thug Arafat.


4 posted on 11/15/2004 2:51:49 PM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker
Do you remember years ago when Helen Thomas was just merely annoying?
5 posted on 11/15/2004 2:52:31 PM PST by Freepdonia (Victory is Ours! (I told you so :-))
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker

She should give the disclaimer that she is an Arab who sympathizes with the PLO viscerally.


6 posted on 11/15/2004 2:52:58 PM PST by wideawake (God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker

"Bush also dubbed Sharon "a man of peace," ignoring his militant personal history"

And Arafat got the Nobel Peace Prize


7 posted on 11/15/2004 2:54:02 PM PST by Spok
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker
ROFLOL good assessment.
8 posted on 11/15/2004 2:54:03 PM PST by MissAmericanPie
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker

Bravo Sierra!


9 posted on 11/15/2004 2:56:32 PM PST by yldstrk (My heros have always been cowboys-Reagan and Bush)
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker
What do ya know, nary a word about how Arafat was pillaging the Palestinian's and how the years of blaming Israel for economic suppression was a lie, based on said pillaging.

Good ole Helen.

10 posted on 11/15/2004 2:57:31 PM PST by Outraged (specter (n.) - 1. A ghostly apparition; a phantom.)
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker
There can't be any wonder if Bush really put this senile old blister in the back of the room and ceased any dialog with her. If he heard any of her utterances, his jaw would fall open in awe at her BOUNDLESS stupidity. That would make for unflattering clips on the evening news.

Besides, it's obvious her face caught on fire, and someone tried to put it out with an ice pick.

11 posted on 11/15/2004 2:58:11 PM PST by stevem
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker
"Yasser..."

"Yes, Allah...am I in paradise?"

"Yes, Yasser, in a manner of speaking."

"Allah, you sound a lot like John Kerry. You do have my virgins, don't you?"

"Well, Yasser...we running sort of short on virgins right now, with all the action in Falujah...

...but I have your first virgin...do you like her..."


12 posted on 11/15/2004 2:58:47 PM PST by weenie ("A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants." -- Churchill)
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker
Evil Twins Seperated at Birth?
13 posted on 11/15/2004 2:58:56 PM PST by Wonderama ("America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy"....John Updike)
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker

She writes so because she is actually Arafat's evil twin sister.


14 posted on 11/15/2004 2:59:07 PM PST by anniegetyourgun
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To: sockmonkey
The words "Helen Thomas" and "Anna Nicole Smith" are never, ever to be used in the same sentence again. You have been warned.


15 posted on 11/15/2004 2:59:58 PM PST by TheBigB (<--------shameless online flirt. :o))
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To: Steve_Seattle
...this smelly old frump...

LOL - great, now I got the hiccups.

16 posted on 11/15/2004 3:02:06 PM PST by muleskinner
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker

That wrinkling sack of crap didn't mention a word about her golden calf being a pioneer of airliner hijackings/explosions.


17 posted on 11/15/2004 3:03:17 PM PST by JoJo Gunn (More than two lawyers in any Country constitutes a terrorist organization. )
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To: Steve_Seattle

And if Bush was behind Arafat and the Palestinians, Helen would say he has done nothing for the poor Israelis. Such is the nature of ignorant dissent...it's not the cause, it's just Bush bashing.


18 posted on 11/15/2004 3:04:12 PM PST by Sender (Team Infidel USA)
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To: O.C. - Old Cracker
They're coming to take me away, ha ha

They're coming to take me away, ha ha ho ho he he, to the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time.
19 posted on 11/15/2004 3:08:50 PM PST by A Balrog of Morgoth (With fire, sword, and stinging whip I drive the Rats in terror before me.)
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To: Wonderama

Speaking of Arafat. Has anyone seen Ringo Starr recently?


20 posted on 11/15/2004 3:09:06 PM PST by narby
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