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"linked to President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction"
March 3, 2002 7:03 AM   Subscribe

"linked to President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction" -- i keep hearing this in regards to recent acts, like a mantra mentioned as an aside. the steady way in which arafat's name is insinuated without any explanation makes me extremeley suspicious. i wonder if stories i haven't found make a stronger case for arafat's involvement (or refute such statements).
posted by subpixel (22 comments total)

 
Just more hoo-ha. This isn't getting resolved unless Palestine is freed and recognized, or obliterated. And if it's obliterated, the rest of the Middle East will obliterate Israel. The U.S. won't be able to intervene, unless it plans to invade every Middle East country. Just a matter of time until one or the other happens.
posted by fleener at 7:17 AM on March 3, 2002


Arafat is the head of Fatah; the attacks were carried out by members of Fatah. I suspect Arafat's name is inserted because most western readers think of him as the head of the PLO or the PA, not as the head of Fatah.
posted by boaz at 7:25 AM on March 3, 2002


Oh yeah, when they say linked to Fatah, that usually means that one of Fatah's military factions explicitly phoned up and took responsibility for the attack.
posted by boaz at 7:30 AM on March 3, 2002


I am not sure what Fleener means when he says that "Palestine is free or recognized."-- When the US occupied Germany at end of WWII, what if the Germans began tossing fire bombs and shooting at Americans? What would have been the response? Why didn't the Germans do this? And Japan etc.?
Arafat some time ago had said that he would declare statehood. Why hasn't he? The UN in '47 gave them a chance for statehood and they did not declare a state, why Not? You are greatly oversimplifying a complex issue.
posted by Postroad at 8:09 AM on March 3, 2002


When the US occupied Germany at end of WWII, what if the Germans began tossing fire bombs and shooting at Americans? What would have been the response? Why didn't the Germans do this? And Japan etc.?

What a poor analogy, Postroad. It doesn't apply to the Israeli-Palestinian situation for many reasons; like, say, because the Americans didn't routinely shoot German civilians (including children) just because Nazis might be in the crowd. If they had then perhaps the Germans would've responded to the occupation differently.

You are greatly oversimplifying a complex issue.

Pot. Calling. Kettle. Black.
posted by lia at 8:27 AM on March 3, 2002


Arafat runs Fatah. An arm of Fatah is Al-Aqsa.

Arafat claims to be doing "all he can to stop the violence."

Which apparently includes not telling his own brigades to stop attacking.

Either that or he is a weak leader (which he has consistently proven he is not) or trying to distance himself with several layers of other groups. Who outside Israel and the intelligence community, upon hearing "Al-Aqsa took responsibility for this attack" would say "welp, Arafat's at it again." Virtually nobody. Which is why it has to be pointed out.

So that stiff Europeans and pro-palestinians are forced to acknowledge that the Palestinians aren't any better than the Israeli's. That the leadership is just as corrupt (although Sharon is honest about it when he attacks people and Arafat has repeatedly lied to the world until caught and proven (witness the Karin-A affair))

The real hope at this point, and in fact possibly the only hope, is an internal Palestinian coup by moderates and or mothers who say "enough of this bullshit. Take the Saudi plan."

You don't see the Arabs going to war on Jordan for locking the palestinian refugee camps down. The Lebanese did, and lost, and now the palestinians are locked down there too. Arafat has come out in support of Saddam Hussein, who has repeatedly gassed his own people, and the list goes on.

Nobody is innocent here, but people need to be reminded that what's going on here is a fledgling state (Palestine) attacking an established state (Isreal) _not_ just random people throwing rocks, but instead men and women walking into pizzaria's, markets and so forth and blowing themselves up. There are _no_ innocents, but the world press is pointing out that Arafat, who claims to be working for peace, is simply lying, again. As after Oslo, as when Zinni came on Bushes demand and Al-Aqsa tried to assassinate him (I can dig up the URL of the bombs that went off outside his convoy if anyone _really_ cares) as with the Karin-A and as with every time he claims to want peace.

That's the issue they're raising. Israel, from what I can glean, is tired of this. They want peace, they're willing to give up their land, abandon settlements, and even give up Jerusalem, all the things Arafat claimed to want. And now his group is attacking, again. That's the point.

Israel _is_ attacking the refugee camps. That's not in question. If you don't want your refugee camps attacked, stop putting munitions factories there. What, you expect an army not to attack a bomb-making factory because there might be women and children present? They're called "human shields" and you use them for PR, when you love your own people less than you hate your enemies.

Arafat is the key here. That's what's being pointed out. He lies to the world. Even Israel has agreed that Palestine can have statehood. By a wide margin. And then Palestine's "elected" leader's group _directly_ attacks.

Are we clear yet? Fleener, do you understand now, the answer to Subpixel's question? It's noteworthy because actions speak louder than words, especially with a world leader with a long standing reputation for straightforward lies.
posted by swerdloff at 9:15 AM on March 3, 2002


lia: having said what you have said can you suggest how I am oversiplyfiying when I have not even gone into the issues but rather have pointed out that when a country takes land duyring warfare it has never given it back unless for a strategic reason (logistics etc) or because there has been a peace accord. Thus far, there is no peace acccord...
Swerdloff: right on target.
posted by Postroad at 9:27 AM on March 3, 2002


You can read the Fateh constitution here.

Fateh is a political movement - a quasi political party. There is an uncomfortable parallel with Sinn-Fein, again a political party, the political wing of the IRA - but that's another story.

A passionate and lucid analysis of the current situation from a former Israeli Attorney General is on the Haaretz site here
posted by grahamwell at 10:11 AM on March 3, 2002


From the Fateh constitution link given by Grahamwell:

Article (12) "Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence."

Article (17) "Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine."

"Article (19) Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated."


They dont seem to be making any bones about their support to the violence.

However, Michael Ben-Yair's analysis on the Haaretz site really resonated with me. I have largely admired what Israel achieved in the face of so much opposition, but I find the current excesses of its military disturbing. There really are no innocents here .......
posted by justlooking at 10:36 AM on March 3, 2002


Remember that the Palestine Liberation Organization is an umbrella institution that is run by a council of leaders from the various factions, including Fatah, the PFLP, and others. The Palestinian Authority is the product of the Oslo agreements between the PLO and Israel. It is important to note that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not members of the PLO and have never renounced violence against Israel, whereas the PLO had obligations under the terms of Oslo. During the first Intifada (1988-1993) the three groups had cooperated closely, but only the PLO bore the fruits of the peace process. For most of the second Intifada, the PLO has deliberately laid low and allowed Hamas and Islamic Jihad (along with Hezbollah and the Ikhwan among other border and fringe groups) to orchestrate suicide bombings and rocket attacks.

The significance of the media noting that bombings are linked to Arafat is simply that before he was able to maintain deniability. If he failed to arrest or keep jailed those involved in terror attacks, it allowed him to claim that he was "unable" to penetrate these rival organizations or that he was under intense domestic political pressure. There was even talk of a civil war. What has happened since the Karine-A incident, which was unquestionably linked directly to people in Arafat's organization inside both Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, is that the fig leaf has been removed and he has authorized (or condoned, if we are still using diplomatic fig leaves of any sort) a resumption of attacks by his organization. Under the prior media consensus, if Hamas or Islamic Jihad organized "violence" (what a weasel word), Arafat could not be blamed. (I, among others, even speculated that he might be colluding with the Sharon government as a means of eliminating his enemies.) Under the emerging consensus, Arafat is understood to be the ultimate strategic orchestrator of the "violence". Hamas and Islamic Jihad continue to be largely responsible for attacks on Israeli civilians. Most of Fatah and the PLO-associated factions have made a big deal for the last month out of the fact that they are resuming attacks but these groups are only choosing military targets inside Israel or (for at least one faction) settlers in the territories, while exempting Israeli citizens.

If Arafat is associated with groups who are executing attacks, is there a problem, subpixel, with noting this? Why would denying a fact be better? Is it perhaps more true that for the last decade the media have chosen to instead deliberately disassociate Arafat with any reports of violence, while characterizing anything that Palestinians do as a spontaneous street uprising, even though there is a seasoned, trained, organized, and well-funded hierarchical organization devoted to adjusting the level of violence as necessary to influence the West? I, for one, believe this is a more accurate characterization of the situation and I am pleased that the blinders are off.

Arafat may still be a rational man who is morally capable of making a just peace, but it's unlikely that he's politically capable of that and may not even be interested, let alone capable, of guaranteeing a peace. Nobody should believe any more that he's fully renounced violence and is a mere victim of radical elements. He's a savvy politician who is more interested in personal political survival, and has played both sides against the middle for far too long, and every time that Fatah and other Arafat-linked organizations engage in attacks, he must be called on it. If he is not made an honest man, or replaced by one, there is no hope left at all.

The Sharon government's position is obviously that he is neither willing nor capable of being an honest guarantor of peace, making moot any attempt to negotiate with him. Arafat only holds on today by the good graces of the EU and Washington.
posted by dhartung at 11:03 AM on March 3, 2002


Postroad, if the allies had spent 50 years in Germany, established housing there, moved in religious people who claimed absolute rights over the land, took water supplies, arrested people left and right, shot people, not allowed businesses to flourish, demolished people's homes etc etc etc, do you think the Germans and Japanese would have sat around quietly and done nothing about it?
posted by chaz at 1:01 PM on March 3, 2002


You know how they want 7 peaceful days before they start negotiating - how about MetaFilter tries to go 7 days without a Middle East post. I'm at a total loss as to why everytime I switch on the news I find that they have yet again chosen to run with a Middle East story. Fair enough the last couple of days have been particularly bad, but this story appears to have been covered everyday for the last year and a half. God it is boring, it is the same bloody tit for tat day after day, and it isn't going to change. Other stuff does go on in the world, why not cover that instead. I mean it is not as if we don't all basically know what is going to happen there for the next 6 months. The media really don't need to ram it down our throat so incessantly. It is a non story - the situation is f%&ked, and that's it.

End of rant, but seriously is there any chance of MetaFilter becoming a Middle East free zone, or at least freer zone. I for one need a haven.
posted by RobertLoch at 7:24 PM on March 3, 2002


Forgive me, but you don't have to read it. 'The situation' upsets quite a lot of people - people who feel badly served by the normal media - and I guess they want to discuss it. Isn't that what MeFI is for?

If you find it boring - move along.
posted by grahamwell at 10:38 AM on March 4, 2002


"No innocents here": WTF does that mean?

The Israelis are defending themselves in ways which sometimes have unintended, or collateral consequences; the Palestinians, or at least those in control, are indiscriminately killing people for the sake of creating as much terror as possible.

The Palestinians want their own state. They want it carved out of land which Israel captured on a just basis (defensive wars). The Israelis would be delighted to create a Palestinan state, so long as it doesn't include Jersusalem, and includes keeping enough of the West Bank for security purposes. If that's not acceptable to the Palestinian Arabs, they can go ask, or attack Jordan and Egypt until they get more land. Or they can stew in their own self-imposedd misery, in perpetuity.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:57 AM on March 4, 2002


grahamwell my point is that every discussion seems to be basically a replication of a previous discussion. What is the point in that. For instance ParisParamus makes an arguement above that has been made 100 times before, and also countered 100 times before - and it has been done here numerous times.

MetaFilter, in my humble opinion, is not a place for discussing the same tired old story over and over again. Search the archives - my guess is that you will find nothing in this thread that hasn't be said before.
posted by RobertLoch at 12:23 PM on March 4, 2002


I would have no problem limiting threads on this topic; indeed, my main aim in contributing to them is to address anti-Israel positions expressed in such threads.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:44 PM on March 4, 2002


Yes RobertLoch, you have a point, but if you're unhappy with the discussion then surely the solution is in your own hands - contribute, move the argument on, offer something original and new.

Without such contribution you're right, the argument becomes stale and repetitive. Help us out here. Otherwise just avoid 'Mid East' front page posts, as I'm sure the majority do.
posted by grahamwell at 2:10 PM on March 4, 2002


RobertLoch, there are in fact dozens of Metafilter posts each week that I never even read. Perhaps this could suggest a way for you to deal with your need for a 'haven' -- which an open discussion board certainly is not.
posted by dhartung at 3:59 PM on March 4, 2002


'contribute, move the argument on, offer something original and new.'

I would, I just don't think that anyone can offer anything new to this discussion.

Of course I can ignore threads, I was just making an observation that this story gets such an overwhelmiing amount of coverage (including here), and that I personally don't think that it justifies it.
posted by RobertLoch at 6:01 PM on March 4, 2002


The Israelis are defending themselves in ways which sometimes have unintended, or collateral consequences;

And sometimes, they kill innocent people deliberately.

the Palestinians, or at least those in control, are indiscriminately killing people for the sake of creating as much terror as possible.

Obviously not a good thing. In fact, a very very bad thing. But Israel's been known to indiscriminately shoot at civilians (for example, in a refugee camp) and if that's not intended to cause widespread terror, then I don't know what is.

The Palestinians want their own state.

Fair enough, too!

They want it carved out of land which Israel captured on a just basis (defensive wars). The Israelis would be delighted to create a Palestinan state, so long as it doesn't include Jersusalem, and includes keeping enough of the West Bank for security purposes.

Considering Israel was essentially imposed on the Middle East by the British, the Palestinians are really just asking for their own land back. (This is essentially a post-colonial conflict, like the North of Ireland.)

If that's not acceptable to the Palestinian Arabs, they can go ask, or attack Jordan and Egypt until they get more land. Or they can stew in their own self-imposedd misery, in perpetuity.

So, it's not that they want the land, it's that they want it from Israel. Terrorist attacks against Jordan or Egypt would be acceptable? This smacks of the usual "stop picking on the Jews" line - this is not a religious war, it's about the right of every people to determine its own affairs.
posted by robcorr at 5:59 AM on March 5, 2002


If you find the creation of Israel illegitimate, you are correct. Sort of.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:15 AM on March 5, 2002


Stop picking on the Jews, please.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:19 AM on March 5, 2002


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