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One more opportunity missed

Nicholas Chatfort is exasperated by Israel’s latest appallingly timed stunt regarding Arafat

It has often been said of the Palestinians that they never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. It appears that the Israelis have picked up this same bad habit. According to a report in Ha’aretz, the Isreali Defence Force’s (IDF) recent assault on Arafat’s compound in Ramallah prevented the convening of a special meeting of the Fatah Central Committee scheduled for Saturday to pressure Arafat to accept the appointment of a prime minister. Arafat has been resisting the appointment of a prime minister as this would diminish his own power, possibly leading to turning him into a figurehead leader.

While the Israeli desire to retaliate for the recent suicide bombings is understandable, the heavy-handed action may unfortunately have the opposite effect to that which the Israelis apparently intended. Instead of weakening Arafat, it is likely that the demolition of Arafat’s compound will now abort, or at least seriously delay, moves by the Palestinians to pull power away from Arafat as they once again rally around him.

Although Ha’aretz reports that Palestinian requests for committee members to travel to Ramallah for the meeting were known to senior Israeli political and military officials, Israeli cabinet ministers who approved the IDF operation claim that they had not been told of the meeting. If this is true, it appears that senior Israeli officials were negligent in their duty to provide the cabinet with all of the information that they needed to make their decisions.

Nicholas Chatfort

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4 comments to One more opportunity missed

  • Arafat’s confined to four rooms in a demolition site. That’s weakened him far more than the putative appointment of a Prime Minister would have.

    All talk of ‘eroding Arafat’s power’ etc. is just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Not until the Palestinian Authority in its current incarnation is utterly destroyed can there be hope for progress. It’s futile to try to salvage something from the carcass of Oslo. We need to wind the clock back, put Israel back in the driving seat and this time do it right. Israel made the same mistake as HMG: when negotiating with terrorists, any concession is seen as weakness and is pocketed without any quid pro quo. This time, make it clear that a peace will be imposed. First an end to terror, then talking, and not the other way around.

  • It occurs to me that the timing may have been deliberate. Quick: name a Palestinian leader other than Arafat. Most people can’t. I sure can’t. If a Prime Minister were to be appointed, then the Palestinians could afford to give up on Arafat in the near future, since they’d have a leader with a clean slate in the eyes of the world. By keeping Arafat the sole head of the PA, Israel still has a very heavy advantage.

  • A_t

    By similar standards, shouldn’t those of you who demand the removal of Arafat be demanding that Sharon go too? He’s proved to be nothing but provocative since he came to power, and has associations with civilian massacres. Neither leader seems helpful to the peace process. Why pick only one to condemn?

  • Molly

    Jesus guys, get a grip.

    1. Isreal is not doing something clever, they are fucking up as usual. They are reacting to salve public opinion in Isreal. That is what most governments do in a crisis.

    2. Sharon is a zionist thug and just about the worst man for the job but Arafat is a islamic mass murderer. I vote we support the zionist thug over the mass murderer if we support anyone at all.