Yassir Arafat
November 4, 2004 8:50 AM   Subscribe

Arafat reported dead, Palestinian PM denies it. What happens in the Middle East now? I wonder does this cha nge the equation over there? Israeli TV and Haaretz say he's brain dead and not responding to treatment.
posted by tomcosgrave (65 comments total)
 
Thankfully, Israel has so far handled this very gracefully. With a restrained tone and no major incidents there's a good chance that this could benefit possible talks for a peace deal. Arafat was a stumbling block by means of everyone refusing to work with him.

Ironically, Arafat's death signals the end of Sharon, I think. With such an icon out of the picture I don't think Israelis will be interested in keeping such a militant warhawk, rapidly shifting toward a leader who would be willing to actually negotiate peace.

The acceptance that Israel will have to make is that even with Arafat gone, whoever takes over control of Palestine will be connected to militant and terrorist groups. It's inevitable, and very likely Hamas will indrectly control the country. But it's going to be the only negotiating partner Israel will have.

The alternative involves military action, and frankly I'm too scared of that to even speculate.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:54 AM on November 4, 2004


On a side note, I'd also like to point out that, while I shed not a single tear for the man's demise, a great way to move absolutely nothing forward would be to start flooding this thread with celebratory comments. (Insert accusation-of-bias-of-your-choice-here.)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:56 AM on November 4, 2004


Hmmm, no apparent succession plan, lots of different factions that would like to take charge of the Palestinian cause: I dunno if you guys who are celebrating this are thinking things through on a pragmatic level.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:00 AM on November 4, 2004


On a side note, I'd also like to point out that, while I shed not a single tear for the man's demise, a great way to move absolutely nothing forward would be to start flooding this thread with celebratory comments.

In this case I'm with you, XQ. I didn't care for the man much either, but I complained about gratuitous cruelty in the Reagan death thread (another man I didn't care for) so I'm not going to indulge in hypocritical schadenfreude.

I hope everyone else follows suit.
posted by jonmc at 9:02 AM on November 4, 2004


Amazing Israel had the wisdom to let it end this way. Very smart, Sharon!

Sharon said he's not letting Arafat's body into Israel or the territories--doubly smart.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:04 AM on November 4, 2004


Perhaps Bush's victory put him over the edge?
posted by ParisParamus at 9:11 AM on November 4, 2004


The hospital is also denying that he's dead.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:12 AM on November 4, 2004


NETCRAFT CONFIRMS IT
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:14 AM on November 4, 2004


The hospital is denying now that he's dead, but I think it's only a matter of time.
posted by unreason at 9:14 AM on November 4, 2004


How did Israel kill him? was the first thing that I and my co-workers asked when we saw the news.
posted by Pericles at 9:16 AM on November 4, 2004


Crash, marry me.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:16 AM on November 4, 2004


I think it already happened, but I just hope the mediocre French socialist healthcare system, plus "no Jew medecins" hastened things.

I have this vague feeling that there's actually hope now for a (Second) Palestinian state. (Jordan being the real one, but...hey....)
posted by ParisParamus at 9:19 AM on November 4, 2004


Leveling Falluja?

Destroying an entire city filled with plenty of innocent people? Why? What possible good would that do? I realize you're just trolling, but I'm calling you out on your bullshit. Why in the hell would you advocate raizing an entire city? What in the hell is wrong with you? Do you understand the difference between right and wrong? Does the drool coming out the side of your mouth inhibit your ability to type at all?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:20 AM on November 4, 2004


Perhaps Bush's victory put him over the edge?

Oh, I'm pretty sure that as the power of the Holy Spirit radiated out from Bush in his transcendent moment, the evil demons sustaining Arafat were compelled by the power of Christ to flee back into the Abyss. [/sarcasm]

In seriousness, I won't celebrate Arafat's death, nor Sharon's when his time comes - I certainly won't be sad to see either go, of course. It occurs to me that there's a small opportunity for peace here - with Israel withdrawing from the settlements now, Arafat's death may seem to the average Israeli like an act of reciprocation on the part of the Palestinians. End result: the beginning of the end of the constant cycle of violence.

Steve@ was quick enough to point out on #mefi that the problem with this scenario is that it assumes the successor to Arafat won't be a puppet for Hamas, which is rather unlikely. A pity, because 'concessions', such as they are, are running at an all time high on both sides at the moment.
posted by Ryvar at 9:24 AM on November 4, 2004


Weekend at Yasser's?
posted by ParisParamus at 9:30 AM on November 4, 2004


Nice how in a thread about the terrorist leader of an anti-semitic military state dying, PP is the one who comes out like a racist moron.

Ryvar: like it or not, Hamas will be the eventual official government of the state of Palestine. Israel, and the world, will only move forward when it accepts the tragic reality that this is far from the first nation to be controlled by former militant groups. We make it sound like we haven't been negotiating with terrorists for decades already.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:31 AM on November 4, 2004


Be fair Paris, give Matt more time to delete your old comments before you post new ones.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:34 AM on November 4, 2004


He's not dead, he's just resting.

This could be serious. With Arafat dead, and no real plan for his succession, the Middle East peace process could end up in chaos.
posted by Blue Stone at 9:35 AM on November 4, 2004


How did Israel kill him? was the first thing that I and my co-workers asked when we saw the news.

You can't trust those sneeky hook-nosed Jews, can ya? I bet the celebrated with fresh babies' blood after the deed was done.
posted by Mick at 9:37 AM on November 4, 2004




Since hope is the only thing left in the box...

Perhaps a new negotiator at the table (even someone from a terrorist group, or whoever) might bring a new perspective and a few less old biases and maybe a solution of some kind can be found for some kind of coexistence.

Do I expect peace out of this? Well, not really. But I have hope.
posted by chicobangs at 9:48 AM on November 4, 2004


What Armitage Shanks said.

About Hamas: nobody seems to realize that they're more than just a bunch of AK-toting lunatics: they're also acting as police, they run hospitals, they put out fires, they run schools. Also, they have a bunch of AK-toting lunatics ready to deal with foreign incursion.

You know, like a government.
posted by hob at 9:51 AM on November 4, 2004


In the short term, there will likely be violence as a symbol of Palestinian solidarity and statehood dies, and there is no clear successor even on the horizon. There will be general anger at Israel, even though Israel did not assassinate him, because he is a symbol for all Palestinian suffering.

But in the long term I think many will agree that Arafat outlived his usefulness about 10 years ago, and that his death will signal a new chance for all sides. It will definitely be an opportunity, especially with Bush coming back for a second term, to move the peace process and road map further along.
posted by cell divide at 9:56 AM on November 4, 2004


He rose from the dead! And it didn't take three days!
posted by adampsyche at 9:59 AM on November 4, 2004


Yeah, we're starting to approach "Yasser Arafat is still dead" territory here.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:01 AM on November 4, 2004


You can't trust those sneeky hook-nosed Jews, can ya?

it's a perfect synopsis of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, the Republican fundy's favorite movie of the year, Mick. kudos! I bet you loved it, too!
posted by matteo at 10:02 AM on November 4, 2004


You know, if Arafat was a terrorist, then so was Mandela.
Sharon's policy has virtually gyaranteed that the dominant force after Arafat will be Hamas. This was intentional. They think alike.
The only person in the PLO with the popular recognition and credentials to dominate over the islamists is Marwan Barghouti, currently imprisoned. This is why I wouldn't be amazed if either the Israelis or Hamas try to take him out of the picture. He is no Arafat, he is articulate and intelligent. This concluding remark from a WP article he wrote a couple of years ago, gives an idea of his political positions:

" I am not a terrorist, but neither am I a pacifist. I am simply a regular guy from the Palestinian street advocating only what every other oppressed person has advocated -- the right to help myself in the absence of help from anywhere else.

This principle may well lead to my assassination. So let my position be clear in order that my death not be lightly dismissed by the world as just one more statistic in Israel's "war on terrorism." For six years I languished as a political prisoner in an Israeli jail, where I was tortured, where I hung blindfolded as an Israeli beat my genitals with a stick. But since 1994, when I believed Israel was serious about ending its occupation, I have been a tireless advocate of a peace based on fairness and equality. I led delegations of Palestinians in meetings with Israeli parliamentarians to promote mutual understanding and cooperation. I still seek peaceful coexistence between the equal and independent countries of Israel and Palestine based on full withdrawal from Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 and a just resolution to the plight of Palestinian refugees pursuant to U.N. resolutions. I do not seek to destroy Israel but only to end its occupation of my country. "
posted by talos at 10:04 AM on November 4, 2004


Any chance that with him dead(?) The myth of Palestinian history will start falling apart? After all, without Yasser funneling funds to Chirac and Company, someone might call them on it.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:47 AM on November 4, 2004


Hamas is 1/2-way to being eliminated as a viable threat--wake up.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:48 AM on November 4, 2004


Armitage, that's a post from September of 2003, before they decided against that plan and he stayed, running the show, in Ramallah.

Your title (which is, avowedly, copied directly from the website you link to) says "yesterday" which may be a little bit... well... points in the wrong direction. They decided against that plan, after all. As you say - "Straw man much?"

Talos - there's a difference between Mandela and Arafat - one of them eventually renounced violence.
posted by swerdloff at 10:50 AM on November 4, 2004


Your title (which is, avowedly, copied directly from the website you link to) says "yesterday"

Yes, I considered chopping it off but assumed nobody would really think it was Yesterday yesterday given the context. My mistake.

Nonethless, my point stands: Given the public history of comments from the Israeli government, it's just contemptible to suggest in the crudest terms that anti-semitism must be the reason someone might have those thoughts.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:55 AM on November 4, 2004


Of course, the other difference with Mandela is that "Palestine" is significantly a myth.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:59 AM on November 4, 2004


Talos - there's a difference between Mandela and Arafat - one of them eventually renounced violence.

Yes, after the fall of apartheid. I'm sure that after a free Palestinian state was established, Arafat, had he lived, would renounce violence as well.
posted by talos at 11:00 AM on November 4, 2004


Swerdloff, you make a good point that Arafat never renounced violence. However, he also never won. It's a lot easier to renounce violence after you win, after all.

Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin eventually renounced violence, too, but only after Lord Moyne, Count Bernadotte, and hundreds of civilian residents of British Palestine--mostly Arabs, but including Jews, and including children and the elderly--were killed by the Lehi (a/k/a "Stern Gang") and the Irgun.

I am no fan of Arafat's. But this is a complicated situation, and his death isn't likely to make it easier.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:00 AM on November 4, 2004


PP, "Palestine" and "South Africa" have exactly the same origin--they were arbitrary lines drawn around an assortment of tribal and ethnic groups by the British Empire. "Israel" reflects some lines drawn around an assortment of ethnic groups by the United Nations.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:03 AM on November 4, 2004


Look who knows so much! Well, it just so happens that Yassir Arafat here is only mostly dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Now, mostly dead is slightly alive. Now, all dead...well, with all dead, there's usually only one thing that you can do. Go through his clothes and look for loose change. Sharon paid Arafat a visit earlier today in the hospital and he asked Arafat, "Hey! Hello in there. Hey! What's so important? What you got here that's worth living for?" Arafat indistinctly said in his comotose state "to blave." And, as we all know, "to blave" means "to bluff." So they were probably negotiating the peace deal, and Yassir cheated!
posted by ZachsMind at 11:05 AM on November 4, 2004


Sidhedevil. You're correct, but it's a question of degree.

Civil_D: yes, leveling Falluja is a bit off the mark, but this cat and mouse bs must stop. Some kind of ultimatum, followed by very aggressive urban warfare is, hopefully coming. For the long-term stability of Iraq, the thugs really need know we're serious, and willing to kill them.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:08 AM on November 4, 2004


I'll go out on a limb and say that the French love Yasser sufficiently that, if he's reported dead by the French, he probably is.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:10 AM on November 4, 2004


"Israel" reflects some lines drawn around an assortment of ethnic groups by the United Nations.

Is this "Israel" something you need a United Nations to have founded? Because Paris doesn't like the United Nations.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:13 AM on November 4, 2004


"Palestine" and "South Africa" have exactly the same origin--they were arbitrary lines drawn around an assortment of tribal and ethnic groups by the British Empire.

Not completely comparable, as Palestine was a small area with a relatively homogenous group made up primarily of Arabs and Bedouins, with a common language and several hundred years of history under the Arab, Ottoman, and British empires. South Africa was a vast tract of land with dozens of languages and unaligned tribes. To be a "Palestinian" was, for thousands of years, to be a citizen of that part of the world (regardless of language or ethnicity). To be a "South African" was an invented concept that was far more arbitrary.

In other words, what Paris said. A matter of degree-- both were colonies but in the case of Palestine, the history, language and 'general borders' pre-dated the British, whereas South Africa was a far more arbitrary invention.
posted by cell divide at 11:14 AM on November 4, 2004


Also, the Luxembourg PM was, at least one of the sources of the news. Said PM was probably too naive to not disclose the news.

Debka.com has the following as one of it's headlines:
Amid confusing statements over Palestinian leader’s condition, Palestinian PM Ahmed Qureia assumes some of his powers as Palestinian Authority chairman while Palestinian officials attempt to hammer out order of succession in Ramallah.

Hammer out? I think AK47-out is what they meant to write.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:18 AM on November 4, 2004


no, cell: exactly the opposite. But thanks for the stab.

And thankfully, that wheelchair cleric guy is still dead....
posted by ParisParamus at 11:20 AM on November 4, 2004


Cell divide: to paraphrase Kerry, I voted to boil Arafat in oil--before I voted to assasinate him with a cell phone bomb.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:22 AM on November 4, 2004


Thje conflicting reports are readily resolved: last rezport I had--and have posted at IsraelPundit stated that Arafat was in a comma--dead but not "really" dead.

Elsewehre, a doctor had said that Arafat would die on a Jewish holiday. How so? Anytime he dies will be a Jewish holiday...ok, now toss stones at me.
posted by Postroad at 11:27 AM on November 4, 2004


Arafat's death is a necessary prerequisite to the resumption of the peace process. That's not to say that with Arafat out of the way there will be peace; in fact, things could get much worse before they get better. But the Israeli government could not negotiate with the man; and with some good reason: by most accounts, he did not deal in good faith in the 2000 negotiations, leading to their failure.

I'm not celebrating the man's death, but I'm not looking on it as bad news, either.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:29 AM on November 4, 2004


Wheee, gut-busters, all of them, PP. Hey, you have any about Elizabeth Edwards? Your "maybe the election did it to him" line worked so well.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:30 AM on November 4, 2004


mr_roboto: I'm not sure what you mean by "not deal in good faith in the 2000 negotiations"? The whole Camp David "golden offer" which Arafat supposedly rejected is a myth.
Do you think Hamas will deal with better faith?
For that matter when did Israel ever deal in good faith with any Palestinian leadership? Did it honour the Oslo agreements?
posted by talos at 11:41 AM on November 4, 2004


Oslo agreements? Israel started, but when the PLO did nothing, it was OVER.

Oslo agreements? Who do you think I am, a Clinton appeaser?
posted by ParisParamus at 11:53 AM on November 4, 2004


The whole Camp David "golden offer" which Arafat supposedly rejected is a myth.

Yeah, accounts vary. I suppose only the people who were there know what really happened. Israel wasn't going to deal with Arafat, though, and they might deal with the next guy. That was pretty much my point.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:03 PM on November 4, 2004


Personally, I can't wait to see is the fight over his estate, which is considerable. Thanks to years of EU aid intended for the Palestinian people but blatantly funneled into his and his wife's pockets, Arafat is/was a billionaire (yes, with a B). Forbes recently listed him as #6 on their list of Kings, Queens and Despots, just behind Queen Elizabeth, though they estimated his wealth at a more modest $300 million. But his wife has been pushing to have his will leave his money to her, while members of his political wing have been publically adamant that it be given to them on behalf of the PA's treasury. So we're probably in for a court battle in the next year or so, which should not only uncover a lot of corruption, but will pave the way for some candidate to walk in and easily present himself/herself as the reformer both sides have been waiting for.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:33 PM on November 4, 2004


I don't think his $ will ever be located.

Over on LGF, they think he actually hs, or had AIDS.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:22 PM on November 4, 2004


It wasn't a myth. It was real and he could have had it--even if it was the most naive and dangerous proposal imaginable.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:25 PM on November 4, 2004



it's a perfect synopsis of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, the Republican fundy's favorite movie of the year, Mick. kudos! I bet you loved it, too!


No, you ignorant fuck, I'm an athiest.
posted by Mick at 1:31 PM on November 4, 2004


Wow, corruption. I'm not surprised to hear that Arafat has been using his political position to line his own pockets--there seems to be a lot of that going on in that part of the world.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:32 PM on November 4, 2004


Of course, the other difference with Mandela is that "Palestine" is significantly a myth.

That's total garbage. Here's a Google image search of several antique 19th-century maps of Palestine. The area has been called Palestine from the era of the Roman Empire to the Ottoman Empire. How land should have been divided after the Seven Day War is a subject of legitimate disagreement, but the mere fact that Palestine is the name of a country that has existed for almost 1900 years is not.
posted by jonp72 at 2:43 PM on November 4, 2004


No, you ignorant fuck, I'm an athiest.

Mick, trutht me, you may be athier, but there'th no way you're the athiest perthon around here.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:37 PM on November 4, 2004


Paris Paramus, please go back on the meds!

Thank you.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:09 PM on November 4, 2004


I yearn for pre-election days for the silence of the cassion-dweller almost as much as for the hope I used to have.
posted by notsnot at 7:00 PM on November 4, 2004


There's a 94% chance he's already dead.

What probably happened is that some innocent hospital staff member or MD (hopefully Jewish, but...) learned or "measured" that he was dead, and leaked the news. Then the weasle-ocracy (French and Palestinian) moved into action and realized that death by AIDS in a hospital in exile didn't sound good for Fearless Leader, or stability back in the toilet-tories (the Arafat-created "toilet-like territories"), or feckless French hopes to invest in the Arab world.

So look for a death announcement in the next day or so. And the cause will be something fictional, like a heart-attack, or "old-age," or something that can be impliedly blamed on the Israelis.

Also, Nobel Peace Prize Committee: FUCK YOU.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:16 AM on November 5, 2004


Paris, need you be such a jerk all the time? It gets real old for the rest of us.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:30 AM on November 5, 2004


Death by AIDS?

Paging Dr. Clue... Dr. Clue to the Insanity Ward stat!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:46 AM on November 5, 2004


In the first place, it's not possible to be a jerk vis a vis Yasser. IT's JUST NOT POSSIBLE! Second, AIDs was kicked around on a number of blogs as a likely cause of his symptoms.

Just as you vastly overestimate the Hate Bush crowd, I would strongly suggest you consider that I am a rather sane, bright person whose comments are not that of a madman.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:55 PM on November 5, 2004


Regardless your real-life sanity and brightness, your online persona is one of troll, general dipshit, and unbalanced hatemonger. On the web, you are what you write.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:07 PM on November 5, 2004


From Little Green Footballs.com:

#93 emergencydoc 11/6/2004 06:53PM PST
what ever happened to the Bush doctrine of not tolerating foreign countries who harbor terrorists
posted by ParisParamus at 7:13 PM on November 6, 2004


He's still dead. And now that President Bush has won reelection, this positive development: "US, EU won't send presidents to funeral"

But I'm sure France will...
posted by ParisParamus at 2:29 PM on November 9, 2004


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