Tuesday, December 04, 2001

The jig is up, or at least, it's very close to being up, for Yasser Arafat. There's no question that he started out as a terrorist: the kidnapping and murder of the Israeli team at the 1972 Munich Olympics is what made Arafat's reputation. Twenty years later came the peace process, and there were times he seemed genuinely committed to it.

Many people, myself included, were taken in by Arafat's work towards peace and condemnation of terrorism. I was not alone in feeling he must be an extremely brave man to make such a stand and take such a bold position.

But the terrorism has not stopped. Each cease-fire has first been broken, not by Israeli missiles, but by Palestinian bombs. Arafat has claimed to be trying to quell the violence. Each time a few people are arrested by the Palestinian Authority, each time Israel says Arafat didn't do enough and goes overboard (in the eyes of much of the world) in retaliation, and each subsequent cease-fire is broken again by the PLO.

Looking at the pattern, and particularly at the events of this last few days, one must reach one of two conclusions:

Either 1) - Arafat's commitment to peace is a sham. It's been lip-service designed to increase his image outside of Palestine, with a wink to the terrorists whose work he still supports (if not actively plans).

Or 2) - He is committed to peace, but is not actually in charge of a damn thing. He's a well-meaning, but powerless old man whose title of "President" is an honorarium only. The power lies elsewhere.

Either way, his time is up. There's no point in continuing to negotiate with a man who is either a liar or a fool.

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