File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2003/bhaskar.0309, message 32


Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 22:31:54 +0100
Subject: BHA: [fyi] ASSASSINATING ARAFAT 


ASSASSINATING ARAFAT
By Uri Avnery
Counterpunch
September 15, 2003

So now it is official: the government of Israel has
decided to assassinate Yasser Arafat.

Not any more to "exile". Not any more to "expel or
kill". Simply to "remove".

Of course, the intention is not to remove him to
another country. Nobody seriously believes that Yasser
Arafat will raise his hands and allow himself to be
marched off. He and his men will be killed "during
the exchange of fire". This would not be the first
time.

Even if it was possible to expel Arafat to another
country, nobody in the Israeli leadership would dream
of doing so. How come? Allow him to make the rounds of
Putin, Schroeder and Chirac? God forbid. So the plan
is to remove him to the next world.

Not immediately. The Americans forbid it. It may make
Bush angry. Sharon does not want to annoy Bush.

Some people comfort themselves with the thought that
this is just an empty resolution. It is supposed to be
implemented at a time and in a way yet to be decided.
But this is wishful thinking, a dangerous comfort. The
decision legitimizing his assassination is by itself a
far-reaching political act. It is intended to get the
Israeli and international public used to the idea.
What used to sound like a crazy plot by extreme
fanatics now has the air of a legitimate political
process, with only the time and mode of implementation
still open.

Anyone familiar with Ariel Sharon can see how things
will develop from now on. He will wait for his
opportunity. It may come any minute, or after a week,
a month, a year. He is patient. When he decides to do
something, he is ready to wait, but he won't deviate
from his goal.

So when will the planned assassination be carried out?
When some big suicide attack will take place in
Israel, one so big that an extreme reaction will be
understood by the Americans, too. Or when something
happens somewhere to divert world attention from our
country. Or when some dramatic event, something
comparable to the destruction of the Twin Towers,
makes Bush furious.

What will happen afterwards?

Arab leaders say that there will be "incalculable
results". But, in truth, the results can be calculated
fairly well in advance.

The murder of Arafat will bring about an historic
change in the relationship between Israel and the
Palestinian people. Since the 1973 war, both peoples
have been accepting the idea of a compromise between
the two great national movements. In the Oslo
agreement, after a process initiated by Yasser Arafat
practically alone, the Palestinians gave up 78% of the
country that was called Palestine before 1948. They
agreed to set up their state in the remaining 22%.
Only Arafat had the moral and political standing
necessary to carry the people with him, much as
Ben-Gurion was able to convince our people to accept
the
partition plan.

Even in the sharpest crises since then, both peoples
have remained steadfast in their belief that in the
end there will be a compromise.

The assassination of Arafat will put an end to this,
perhaps forever. We shall return to the stage of "all
or nothing": Greater Israel or Greater Palestine,
throwing the Jews into the sea or pushing the
Palestinians out into the desert.

The Palestinian Authority will disappear. Israel will
take over all the Palestinian territories, with all
the economic and human stress involved. The "de luxe
occupation", which allowed Israel a free hand in
the territories, with the world paying the bills, will
be over.

Violence will reign supreme. It will be the sole
language of both peoples. In Jerusalem and Ramallah,
Haifa and Hebron, Tulkarm and Tel-Aviv, fear will
stalk the streets. Every mother who sends her
children to school will be consumed by worry until
they come back. Terror on this side and on that side,
an ever widening spiral of violence, automatic and
incessant escalation.

The earthquake will not be limited to the land between
the Mediterranean and the Jordan. The whole Arab world
will erupt. Arafat the shahid, the martyr, the hero,
the symbol, will become an all-Arab, all-Muslim
mythological figure. His name will become a battle-cry
for all revolutionaries from Indonesia to Morocco, a
slogan for all religious and nationalist underground
organizations.

The earth will tremble under the feet of all the Arab
regimes. Compared to Arafat, the ultimate hero, all
the kings, Emirs and presidents will look unmanly,
traitors and mercenaries. If one of them falls, the
Domino Effect will go into action.

Bloodshed will be universal. Every Israeli
target--every airplane, every group of tourists, every
Israeli institution, will be in constant danger.

The Americans have their reasons for vetoing the
assassination. They know that the killing of Arafat
will shake their position in the Arab and Muslim world
to the core. The guerilla war that is becoming ever
wider in Iraq will spread throughout the Arab and
other Muslim countries and the world at large. Every
Arab and Muslim will believe that Sharon acted with
American consent and encouragement, whatever feeble
verbal opposition there may have been. The fury will
be directed against them. A host of new Bin Ladens
will plot revenge.

Doesn't Sharon understand all this? Of course he does.
The political nobodies who constitute the government
may be unable to see beyond the end of their noses,
just like blinkered generals, whose only solution
is to kill and destroy. But Sharon knows what the
consequences are likely to be--and he relishes them.

Sharon wants to conclude the historic clash between
Zionism and the Palestinian people with a clear-cut
decision: solid Israeli control over the entire
country and a situation that will compel the
Palestinians to get out. Yasser Arafat is indeed the
"total obstacle", as defined in the government
resolution, to the implementation of this design. And
a period of anarchy and bloodshed would be good for
its implementation.

And the people of Israel? The poor, brainwashed,
despairing and apathetic people does not intervene.
The silent, bleeding majority behaves as if all this
does not concern them and their children. They are
following Sharon as the children followed the pied
piper, right into the river.

This thundering silence is disastrous. In order to
prevent the disaster, it is our duty to break it.




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