The legacy of Yasser Arafat, for those not brainwashed by his propaganda and that of his supporters, is one of murder, deceit and corruption.
As part of its obituary, The New York Times said, "Arafat led a long and failed effort for statehood" for the Palestinians. He did no such thing. Arafat led a long reign of terror, the purpose of which was to kill Jews and eliminate the state of Israel.
Arafat never cared about a Palestinian state contiguous to Israel. The only Palestinian state he cared about was one that encompassed all of Israel. He said that repeatedly to his own people while he said something else to the West. Every Palestinian map was printed without Israel. Arafat proved his intentions by the terrorism he encouraged, including homicide bombers, whose families he paid out of funds that should have gone to help his "people." One list of Israeli fatalities caused by terrorism inspired and directed by Arafat just since the 1993 Oslo accords runs 47 single-spaced pages.
In a statement on Arafat's death, the Vatican sounded as if it were speaking of Mother Teresa. The Vatican's chief spokesman referred to Arafat as "the illustrious deceased" and asked God to grant eternal rest to his soul. Where is church-state separation when you really need it? The only "resting" place Arafat will enjoy is a place in hell alongside his ideological and anti-Semitic idol, Adolph Hitler.
Much of the world has been deceived about "Palestinianism" because it knows little of the history of the region. There has never been an Arab "Palestinian people." The real Palestinians are the Jews. Those who have adopted the name are from Arab countries, chiefly Jordan.
It was the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who created this deceit in the 1920s as a rationale for murdering Jews. He made a pact with Hitler in the 1930s and encouraged the Nazi dictator to slaughter European Jews to keep them from escaping to Palestine. He ordered Arab families to leave Israel in 1948 so that Arab armies could invade and try to overturn the U.N. mandate that created Israel.
After subsequent wars and numerous terrorist incidents, Israel remains stronger than ever and the plight of the so-called "Palestinians" is worse than ever, thanks in part to Arafat's suspected embezzlement of unknown millions.
President Bush issued a carefully nuanced statement following the announcement of Arafat's death: "There will be an opening for peace when leadership of the Palestinian people steps forward and says, 'Help us build a democratic and free society.'"
That isn't likely to happen anytime soon because the poison did not die with Arafat. It is endemic to a region and a people that despise all things Jewish, Christian and Western. Various "leaders" throughout the Arab world have found the Jews, Christians and West useful diversions from the real problems of Arab people. They would be just as poor, illiterate and oppressed today, as they were before 1948, if Israel did not exist.
Other nations with a different worldview might have used such resources to build great societies. These Arab nations and people have squandered money and opportunities on ancient prejudices under the false notion that they are pleasing an angry and vengeful God who hates what they hate and wants them to wipe out his "enemies."
Yasser Arafat was not unique in the region. Others will follow him as they announce divine mandates to take up where he left off. There might be civil war among the various rivals for power - from Hamas to Islamic Jihad to other factions. If Hamas conquers Gaza after the Israelis withdraw, Egypt may rue the day it allowed tunnels to be dug on its territory for Hamas to smuggle weapons and terrorists into Israel. Those tunnels go both ways, and Hamas might use them to destabilize the government of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Of all the Nobel Peace Prize winners, Yasser Arafat was the least worthy. The award was an example of the self-deception practiced by many in the West who continue to believe evil people can be made good if they are simply given what they want, no matter what it might cost others.
Arafat is gone, but he won't be forgotten, especially by the relatives of his murdered victims.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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