I have been asked whether the death of Arafat will
open the doors to peace between the so-called Palestinians and the
Israelis. If the past is any indication, the answer is no. It is important
to understand that Palestinians are Muslims. They have little or no
experience with elections and, more importantly, the rule of law. Nothing
protects Muslims from each other.
Who, I am asked, will be Arafat’s successor? It
hardly matters. Whoever is designated—not elected—the next prime
minister will be more concerned with not being assassinated by his
political enemies than with negotiating peace with the Israelis. Indeed,
assassinating one who even gives the appearance of negotiating anything
that might lead to a peaceful resolution will prove a hot ticket to
It is well to remember that Jordan’s King Abdullah,
grandfather of King Hussein, was assassinated in 1951 and that, three
months after Egypt’s Anwar Sadat addressed the Israeli Knesset, one of
his top advisors was assassinated in Cyprus. Sadat was later assassinated.
The current leader of Pakistan has been targeted several times for
assassination and the new President of Afghanistan survived at least one
attempt of which we know. A deputy of the interim Iraqi government was
recently assassinated. The very word “assassin” comes from an early
Muslim era when this technique of leadership change was liberally applied
between warring factions of Islam.
The real reason for the likelihood of bloodletting is
that the dominant power in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza and the West
Bank is Hamas. This organization of terrorists has been degraded of late
by the Israeli policy of killing its leaders and fellow perpetrators of
terrorism. So long as Hamas has funding, guns and bomb-making
capabilities, they will call the tune to which Palestinians will dance.
And dance they did on 9-11 and each time some child of theirs blows up
some Israelis. The Palestinians were genuinely saddened by the capture of
The transition period following Arafat’s death is
being led by former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas as the chairman of the
executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This
Arafat clone’s greatest scholarly contribution was a book that refuted
the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis during WWII. He concluded that
“only” 890,000 died. Abbas looks good to Europeans and other
anti-Semites because he has a law degree, acquired in Egypt and Syria, and
a Ph.D. from Moscow Oriental College. As Irwin N. Graulich noted in March
2003, “His educational development was shaped by Nasser fascism, a
Syrian totalitarianism, and a Communist Soviet Union. This is truly a
foundation from hell.”
This is, of course, not unknown to the Israelis and,
whether he becomes Arafat’s designated successor or not, his track
record does not suggest an embrace of the very people who, as the founder
of the terrorist Fatah movement, he has dedicated his life to destroying.
The Israelis are, in his view, the “Zionist entity.”
Even if the Palestinians come up with someone else to
be their Prime Minister, it will be the fence the Israelis built that will
most insure their defense against future bombers and not the death of
The Palestinians still dream of “liberating the
territories of 1948”, not 1967, although they would be pleased to see
the Israelis retreat to those borders. With this in mind, do not expect
the departure of Arafat from this world to change very much in the near
term. Only the destruction of Hamas will accomplish the first important
step toward any semblance of peace.
Bury Arafat. Build the fence. Wait and see if the
terror bombings cease.
The only Muslims who will continue to enjoy real
freedom will be those who are citizens of Israel.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly commentary, “Warning
Signs”, posted on the website of The National Anxiety Center at www.anxietycenter.com.
© Alan Caruba 2004