The paradox of the situation in the Middle East is that the physical annihilation of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat is profitable for nobody. The Israelis have declared Arafat the number one enemy of the Jewish, seeing his hand in every terrorist act, so it is reasonable to suppose that, after the physical annihilation of the Palestinian leader, they will have one less problem. However, this is just an illusion. Information about physical annihilation of the Palestinian leader, which from time to time gets into the press, is only propaganda aimed first of all at shutting the mouths of right-wing radicals in the Knesset and, second, to calm the population of the country, which is dissatisfied with the inactivity of the authorities in the annihilation of sources of terrorism.
Therefore, with whom else should Israel come to an agreement if not with Arafat? These leaders have known each other for ages; therefore, neither should expect a surprise in negotiations. However, if “young wolfs” surrounding Arafat’s become involved in negotiations (of course, if the negotiations take place), who do not compromise, the result will be zero. This is why Israel should cherish Arafat like the apple of its eye, securing him from the occasional bullet. Israel should be afraid of the leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who are able to make the decision to annihilate the Palestinian leader. The mass anti-Israel feelings in the Arab world that could be caused by Arafat’s death, is not profitable for Israel. Arafat’s death is profitable for some Arab leaders, who are dissatisfied with Arafat constricting the framework of the conflict, while they would prefer to attack. They would connect the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the question of Israel’s existence in their native lands.
The US, for the same reasons as Israel, is not interested in Arafat’s annihilation, because it knows Arafat: he is more or less predictable. This is why the US’s main demand at the special session of the UN Security Council was Arafat's safety, the only leader the US intends to negotiate with, and the Israelis promised this to the US.
Arafat himself is not so simple. While compromising with Israel, he, at the same time, cannot allow Palestinian radicals to suspect him of betrayal of Palestinian interests. His statements are very expressive: “I repeat it one more time: Israel will remain the principle enemy of Palestinians not only now also the future.”
“The Palestine Liberation Organization makes efforts to psychologically split Israel into two camps. In five years, we will have 6-7 million Arabs in the West Bank and in Jerusalem… Afterwards, we will annihilate Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. However, psychological war and and war using demographics will make the Jews’ lives miserable. They do not want to live with us, the Arabs. We do not need them… We need your help in the fight for a united Palestine, an Arabic and Muslim Palestine. (From the speech before Arab diplomats in Stockholm in 1996).
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/04/01/39046.html