Will the passing of this mass murderer and master propagandist have an immediate impact on the Palestinians? interest and ability to reach an agreement with Israel? Can his death bring about the end of the Palestinian terror war against Israel and perhaps usher in a period of peace in the Middle East?
In his press conference Thursday, President George W. Bush said that people who don?t believe in the applicability of democracy to the Arab world cannot really believe in a two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict with Israel. That is, as long as the Palestinians remain governed by terrorists, there is no way that they will be willing to live at peace with Israel.
Is Arafat?s retreat from this world all that is required for the Palestinians to achieve a democratic transformation that will enable them to live at peace with Israel?
In answering this question, we should take an example from one of Arafat?s guiding lights throughout his career: Adolf Hitler.
Hitler?s suicide in his bunker in Berlin in May 1945 was not what enabled Konrad Adenauer to lead a democratic West Germany. Adenauer could not have led, and certainly would never have been a democrat, if all he did was take over the reins of power from Hitler in May 1945. Aside from Hitler dying, the Nazi regime he created was necessarily militarily vanquished to the point of unconditional surrender. As well, Nazi leaders -- both political and military -- were brought before war crimes tribunals and hung or sentenced to long prison terms.
Adenauer also presided over a German democracy whose borders were determined by the Allies; where the Allied Occupation Forces expunged Nazi propaganda from the schoolbooks; barred Nazis from positions of power and influence in all walks of life; forced the Germans to teach their schoolchildren the evil they had wrought in the war; and outlawed Nazis or anyone espousing a similar racist ideology from entering politics in Germany. That is, Adenauer?s ascension to power was only enabled as a result of the total destruction of the Nazi power apparatus.
This historical precedent for the death of a dictator is pertinent in the case of Arafat not merely because of his ideological affinity with Hitler, but because Arafat, like Hitler, has built an entire apparatus of power in Palestinian society in his own murderous image. All of Arafat?s presumed heirs ? from Mahmud Abbas to Ahmed Qurei to Muhammed Dahlan to Jibril Rajoub are terrorists.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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