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November 12, 2004

Yasser "Called" a Terrorist

Knight-Ridder has a helpful graphic, showing eight of the terror organizations that Arafat was mixed up with, or founded, or competed with, during his long career. (Scroll Down to Bottom) Can you see what's missing:

Fatah: Founded by Arafat, aims to reclaim Palestinian land from Israel; military wing has attacked Israeli forces; several leaders have been assassinated by Israel.

PLO: Coalition of Palestinian nationalist groups; Fatah largest faction; Arafat was named chairman in 1968; national council is highest decision-making body of PLO, represents Palestinians worldwide.

Force 17: Security force for Arafat, other PLO leaders, Palestinian Authority; Israel says it has attacked Jewish settlers.

Palestinian Authority: Self government for Gaza Strip, West Bank set up by Palestinian-Israeli peace accord; Arafat served as president; 12-member cabinet; 88-member legislative council; most are PLO members

Tanzim: Armed grassroots militia born in refugee camps, connected to Fatah; Israel says it has major role in latest uprising, which began in September 2000

Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade: Israel links it to Tanzim and says its terrorist attacks have killed more than 100, injured 400.

It also lists the following "Rivals to Arafat":

Islamic Jihad: Began in Gaza Strip; loose group of factions that support Islamic Palestinian state, destruction of Israel; opposes Western secular influence; has carried out suicide bombing against Israel

Hamas: Radical Islamic fundamentalists; wants Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel; provides social services to thousands of supporters; militant wing has conducted terrorist attacks against Israel, Palestinian rivals.

First of all, note the contrast between Arafat and his rivals. Arafat and his buddies are "accused," "Israel says," bad things about them, and "assassinates" their leaders. The rivals are unvarnished in their hatred for Israel. Even dead, Arafat is supposed to represent a better alternative to those really murderous groups.

A nice touch, by the way, that the "radical" Hamas has a "militant wing." As opposed to what, the radical sewing-circle they've set up to knit kaffiyahs for their brave boys? Spare me the hair-splitting. The social services act as intelligence and recruitment for the military wing. They're part of an organic whole, not separate business units.

As for Arafat's groups, how can an organization founded in 1957 aim to "reclaim Palestinian land from Israel?" Its military wing has attacked far more than just military targets, and it's not even clear that "assassination" is the right word here. Personally, "killed" is fine with me, but don't we usually reserve "assassinations" for government or religions officials?

Does the PLO represent "Palestinians worldwide?" I thought that the Palestinian Authority did that now. See the not-so-subtle merging of the Party and State.

Force 17 has been not a "security force," like the Secret Service, but a secret police, actively killing Palestinians whom Arafat or those in his organization didn't like. The fact that Hanan Ashrawi could say, as she did yesterday, that she could walk away from Arafat after disagreeing with him is a testament more to her stature than to his openness and tolerance of dissent.

It's not just Israel that claims the Tanzim and the Al Aqsa Martyrs have a major role - it's the groups themselves. There's no mention of the suicide bombings, shootings, or bus attacks carried out by these groups, either.

In an uprising that has claimed over 1000 Israeli lives, only 100 are accounted for. One needn't dispute Arafat's role in starting the thing to realize that he tried to ride it for all it was worth. Hey, either you're a leader or you're not, but the "Who, me?" game was over long ago.

Much becomes clear when you look at the sourcing: "Permanent Observor Mission of Palestine to the UN, Federation of American Scientists, BBC, Knight-Ridder Washington Bureau." Exempting Knight-Ridder from double-condemnation, at least two of the three remaining bodies there are of outright hostility at best. (The FAS maintains an interest in tracking terrorists organizations, but most of their information seems not to have been updated in a while.)

Cross-Posted at Oh, That Liberal Media!

Posted by joshuasharf at November 12, 2004 01:54 PM | TrackBack
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