Arafat switched alliances depending on which
way the wind blew
November 17, 2004
I usually would rather not spend time on issues that
are not related to Iran. After all, Iran is where I believe
should be our focus, not the Palestinian cause. There are four
hundred million rich Arabs that could very well defend the Palestinian cause, politically
However, after reading a couple of articles on this Website with
praise for Yasser Arafat and his leadership; I felt
someone needed to provide some balance to this view.
As a child, I did not know much about Mr. Arafat. I first saw
him on TV during his visit to Iran after the revolution.
Mr. Arafat had gone to Iran when an invitation was extended to
him by the revolutionary Iranian government. Yasser
Arafat boasted how the Iranian revolution had changed the
balance in the Middle East.
It is ultimately up to the Palestinian people to judge Arafat's
qualities. However, in
my view history will not judge Mr. Arafat as kindly as some Iranians may think.
Mr. Arafat made a large number of strategic mistakes that directly resulted
finding a voice in much of the world, including the entire Moslem population.
Arafat was not a friend of anyone
and switched alliances depending on which way the wind
blew. In the Iranian revolution, Mr. Arafat had found not only a new source
of moral support, but
also a wealthy country that was willing to donate billions of dollars to the
Palestinian cause. Indeed,
Mr. Arafat received hundreds of millions of dollars during his first visits
to Tehran. Despite this he
threw his support for Saddam Hussein when we were invaded by Iraq.
Kuwait had been
a big defender of
the Palestinian cause, supporting a large number of their immigrants. Again,
Mr. Arafat made a huge
miscalculation by supporting Saddam when his army invaded Kuwait.
And I don't have to tell
everyone about Arafat's close relationship with Uganda's Idi Amin!
The list goes on.
Eventually the Arab and Moslem leaders around the world realized that there
is little hope for the
Palestinian cause under Arafat's leadership.
Anwar Sadat was smartest
of them all. Saddat
knew that peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state was the ultimate answer.
He ended up
getting back all the territories he had lost to Israel. What did Arafat
do? He declared that Sadat should be assassinated. Moamar Qaddafi gave up
on Arafat a few years ago by
declaring that Libyans are actually Africans, not Arabs.
A quick review of nationalist movements after the second war indicates
that non violent movements
are clearly the answer to acquiring independence. Revolutions in India, South
Europe were all led by visionary leaders. On the other hand, violent movements
in Iran, Algeria,
China, many parts of Africa and Palestine have all been tragically bloody
and unsuccessful. South Africa was by far a more daunting task than the Israeli-Palestinian
Mr. Arafat was never totally committed to a peaceful
conflicts with Israel. I believe had Arafat chosen to be a Gandhi
or Martin Luther King, there is a good chance that the Palestinian people
homeland now. No matter what the cause, today's world does not accept a
leader condoning the actions of a bunch of brain-washed teenagers
blowing up themselves
in buses or restaurants full of civilians.
Even in our homeland, Palestinian
support among the Iranian people has all but vanished. In my view with
the passing of
Arafat, Palestinians may be closer than ever to settle their differences
with Israel. This will largely depend on whether the new leadership has
learned the lessons of Arafat.