By expressing both a willingness and desire to partner with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in a new organization that apparently would function parallel to the Palestinian Authority (PA), Arafat has removed any pesky gray area. It would take a creative explanation to differentiate this from the Taliban?s partnership with al Qaeda.
Then again, Arafat?s own history should leave little doubt. His three organizations?Tanzim, Fatah, and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade?have combined slaughtered more than 400 innocent Israelis. And that was after the Oslo accords of 1993, where he famously shook hands with Yitzhak Rabin.
Take away the campaign of almost nonstop murder and mayhem, and what?s left is still a thoroughly corrupt and contemptible thug. Arafat held sham elections in 1996 and he has continually skimmed off the top of the hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid given to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Yet Arafat is still recognized by the international community as the ?chairman? of the PA. But he is preparing to partner with Hamas precisely so he can maintain that status.
Israel has effectively marginalized Arafat by confining him to his Ramallah compound, preventing him from either showing strength or becoming a ?martyr.? As each day passes, Arafat is an increasingly sad and pathetic figure in the eyes of most Palestinians. He is desperate, and it shows.
Last week, masked al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade gunmen burned an American flag from what appears in an AP photo to be a rooftop in front of thousands of cheering Palestinians in the West Bank town of Jenin. If Arafat could have been there, he almost certainly would have been leading the crowd in a chant of ?Jihad! Jihad!?
When questioned at a daily press briefing about the possible Arafat-Hamas alliance, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli would not directly comment but did say, ?Our view is that, far from being welcomed into any partnership or cooperation, Hamas should be ostracized and disempowered as an organization.?
Why isn?t the same thing said about Arafat himself?
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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