Articles on Arafat by Charles Krauthammer and George F. Will

March 26, 2002

I attach two important articles below. The first is by Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post. The second article is written by George F. Will in The New York Post.

-- Tom Gross


Arafat's harvest of hate
By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
March 26, 2002

Sept. 11 awakened Americans to the anti-American vitriol in the state-controlled media of such apparently friendly states as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. We are just beginning to understand how a daily diet of hatred fed through schools and the media a hatred quietly incubating for years found its most perfect expression in the slaughter of Sept. 11.

We have failed, however, to see how a similar campaign of hate has laid the groundwork for the orgy of murder-suicide the Palestinians are now engaged in. A mother appears on videotape proudly sending her 18-year-old to his death just so he can kill as many Jews as possible. This is unprecedented. Before the Oslo peace accords of 1993, suicide bombing was a practice almost unheard of among Palestinians.

And it is not as if they had no grievances before 1993. On the contrary. The advent of suicide bombing coincides precisely with the era of Israeli conciliation and peacemaking: recognition of the PLO, repeated concessions of territory, establishment of the Palestinian Authority, acceptance of an armed Palestinian police all culminating in the unprecedented offer of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in a shared Jerusalem. It is precisely in the context of the most accommodating, most conciliatory, most dovish Israeli policy in history that the suicide bombings took hold.

Where, then, did they come from? During the past eight years the years of the Oslo "peace process" Yasser Arafat had complete control of all the organs of Palestinian education and propaganda. It takes an unspeakable hatred for people to send their children to commit Columbine-like murder-suicide. Arafat taught it. His television, his newspapers, his clerics have inculcated an anti-Semitism unmatched in virulence since Nazi Germany.

When U.S. peace negotiator Dennis Ross stepped down last year, he acknowledged, to his credit, that a major error of diplomacy in the Clinton years was turning a diplomatic blind eye to the poisonous incitement in Palestinian media. Just as Osama bin Laden spent the '90s indoctrinating and infiltrating in preparation for murder, Arafat raised an entire generation schooled in hatred of the "Judeo-Nazis."

This indoctrination goes far beyond expunging Israel, literally, from Palestinian maps. It goes far beyond denying, indeed ridiculing, the Holocaust as a Jewish fantasy. It consists of the rawest incitement to murder, as in this sermon by Arafat-appointed and Arafat-funded Ahmad Abu Halabiya broadcast live on official Palestinian Authority television early in the Intifada. The subject is "the Jews." (Note: not the Israelis, but the Jews.) "They must be butchered and killed, as Allah the Almighty said: 'Fight them: Allah will torture them at your hands.' ... Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them."

The rationale offered for such murderousness is Jewish villainy as taught not just in Palestine but throughout the Arab world. On March 10, for example, an article in the official Saudi newspaper al-Riyadh described in rich detail how the Jews ritually slaughter Christian and Muslim children to use their blood in their holiday foods. With almost comic pseudo-scholarship, it explained that for one holiday (Purim) the Jew must kill an adolescent, but for Passover the victim must be 10 years or younger.

When the article achieved wide notoriety in translation, the editor apologized under pressure. He said he had been out of town when the article appeared. An odd excuse, given the fact that this elaborate blood libel ran as a two-part series.

A precondition for peace is to prepare your people for peace. Egypt's Anwar Sadat did that after signing his peace treaty with Israel. The Israelis did that after signing Oslo. They changed their textbooks and altered their civic culture to recognize and accept the Palestinians. On the 50th anniversary of Israel's independence, for example, Israel Television aired an epic multipart historical documentary that offered a view of the Palestinians that was deeply sympathetic and understanding.

While Israeli leaders, both political and intellectual, were preparing their people for peace, Arafat was preparing his people for war the war he unleashed two months after rejecting Israel's Camp David peace offer of July 2000 with an unrelenting campaign of anti-Semitic vilification carried out by every organ of his media. And how he has succeeded. When Arafat's state-controlled media glorify a "martyrdom operation," it is not just a commendation of the murderer, it is a vindication of their own pedagogy. We now see its fruits in the streets of Jerusalem, where the blood from the latest suicide bombing graces the third floor of surrounding buildings.



The war on terrorism is suddenly going terribly wrong.
By George F. Will
The New York Post
March 26, 2002

Suicide bombers serving Yasser Arafat, the world's senior and most successful terrorist, have caused U.S. policy in the Middle East to buckle and become more accommodating. So more than six months into the war on terror, terror is more vindicated as a tactic than ever before.

Whether or not Vice President Cheney dashes back to the Middle East to parlay with Arafat, President Bush's policy has become incoherent. This damage was done by saying the vice presidential dash would be made if Arafat would recite (in Arabic; we are quite stern) a perfunctory lie scripted by the United States yet another reiteration of his vow to abandon violence, which is the vocabulary of his life.

The president professes himself "disappointed" by Arafat. But what are the presidential expectations for Arafat?

It has been 37 years since his Fatah launched its first attack on Israel, which then (as when attempts were made to crush Israel in 1948, 1956 and in 1967) was within the 1967 borders that amnesiacs believe are the key to appeasing Arafat.

Amnesiacs evidently believe that he wants only to be prime minister of a placid little Arab democracy, the only democracy in the Arab world, a sort of Middle Eastern Belgium. Amnesiacs evidently believe he can be mollified by removing Jewish settlements from the West Bank. His undisguised and unambiguous goal is to remove Jewish what? "settlers"? from Tel Aviv.

Amnesiacs should read the opening paragraphs of Michael Oren's forthcoming (in June) book, "Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East":

"Nighttime, Dec. 31, 1964 - A squad of Palestinian guerrillas crosses from Lebanon into northern Israel. Armed with Soviet-made explosives, their uniforms supplied by the Syrians, they advance toward their target: a pump for conveying Galilee water to the Negev desert. A modest objective, seemingly, yet the Palestinians' purpose is immense.... Their action, they hope, will provoke an Israeli retaliation... igniting an all-Arab offensive to destroy the Zionist state." The explosives failed to detonate, but "the leader of al-Fatah, a 35-year-old former engineer from Gaza named Yasser Arafat, issues a victorious communique extolling 'the duty of Jihad (holy war).'"

Arafat, writes Oren, had to have "a singularly limber imagination" to think that a small act of sabotage could trigger a war leading to the destruction of Israel. But give the devil his due: Arafat has been clear-sighted about the willful amnesia of the world's capitals, including Washington.

Not three months have passed since Israel captured, and Arafat lied to the president about, the ship bearing 50 tons of arms from Iran, a member of the "axis of evil," to Arafat. And yet today U.S. policy-makers, with their singularly limber imaginations, imagine that it is important to coax from Arafat yet another disavowal of violence.

On "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Cheney was asked why there are suicide bombers. He replied that "I'm not sure I'm smart enough to understand it" but cited "the depth of feeling and emotion on the Palestinian side."

Does Cheney think suicide bombing could have something to do with virulent and incessant anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda? Another broken Arafat promise is that the Palestinian Authority will stop this.

Suicide bombers live in a social atmosphere heavily dosed with denial of the Holocaust, incitements to genocide, loathsome anti-Semitic libels (e.g., that Jews leaven pastry with the blood of non-Jewish adolescents), exhortations to the holy duty of destroying "the Zionist entity." Could the vice president not have leavened his musings with the thought that no grievance is fit for redress by shredding Jewish children with nail bombs?

The president says regimes that harbor terrorists are as culpable as the terrorists themselves. Yet although Israel has acted against the Palestinian Authority regime, the source of daily terrorism, less aggressively than America has acted against the Afghanistan regime that was complicit in one day of terrorism, the president has said Israel's self-defense is "not helpful."

Not helpful to what? To the Zinni mission for "bridging proposals" to reach the Tenet process for resuscitating the Mitchell plan for "confidence-building measures"? The Weekly Standard recently concocted this parody of the president talking about "confidence-building" measures:

"Say Arafat sends a suicide bomber to blow up a pizzeria on Monday, and then a disco on Tuesday, but then on Wednesday he doesn't send anybody. That's a confidence-building measure!"

That parody is not easily distinguishable from U.S. policy.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.