Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Chairman and the Bard 

I don't know if Chairman Arafat is a fan of the Bard, but the current goings-on around his death - or coma - bed, certainly have a ring of a Shakespearean tragedy - no, make that farce.

While Yasser Arafat enjoys the last of Jacques Chirac's hospital-ity, various factions circle around his body. We have the "we came to bury Caesar, and praise him" faction composed of the next-in-lines of Palestinian politics; we have the "we came to praise Caesar, not to bury him (at least not until all the financial matters are settled) faction composed of Arafat's wise Suha and curiously her seemingly pro-Israel Lebanese Maronite Christian advisor
Pierre Rizk; we have the "we came to bury Caesar, but not praise him (Allah curse his corrupt soul)" faction of hardline Islamists, whose assessment of Arafat's character as well as the preference for his ultimate resting place puts them in company of the "we came to bury Caesar, but not praise him (the vile terrorist scum)" faction composed of the current Israeli government (which, however, doesn't have much else in common with Hamas and Islamic Jihad).

George W Bush says, don't praise, bury, and quickly move on to bigger and better things.

Update: The curse of Chrenkoff strikes - I write about the guy and about an hounr later he dies.

Australiann Prime Minister
John Howard has already earlier today delivered a verdict, with which I'm sure many will agree:

"I think history will judge him very harshly for not having seized the opportunity in the year 2000 to embrace the offer that was very courageously made by the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, which involved the Israelis agreeing to about 90 per cent of what the Palestinians had wanted... I think if Arafat had grabbed hold of that opportunity in the dying days of the Clinton administration then the path of things in the Middle East may have been smoother."
Two weeks ago I wrote:

"[W]ith Arafat finally gone after towering over the Palestinian cause for four decades, the Palestinians will have two simple choices: radicalisation or normalisation. Should they choose the former, the extremists will assume complete control over the Palestinian destiny launching their people onto the armageddon path of a one-state solution - Arab Palestine from Jordan to the sea. Should the Palestinians choose the latter, it will be their best opportunity to resolve the Middle Eastern crisis and finally move towards normalcy. The final settlement might look similar to Ehud Barak's proposal in 2000; a Palestinian state taking virtually most if not all of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, coexisting peacefully with Israel wound back to its pre-1967 borders. Sovereignty and peace might finally give the Palestinian people a chance to resurrect themselves, and being among the best educated and the most hardworking people of the Middle East, a chance to channel their energies, creativity and passion into making up for the decades of lost time and finally building a normal, decent future for their next generations."
Let us all pray they will make the right choice.


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