My condolences go out to the Palestinian people on the loss of their leader.
Contrary to Ariel Sharon's recent demonization propaganda, Yasser Arafat was true to the cause of his people and was a man of peace when presented with a sincere opportunity -- witness the Oslo accords. When it mattered, he had the Palestinians' best interests at the forefront -- witness his rejection of the "Bantustan" offer of 2000.
Now the Palestinians have no one in the immediate future to unite their population, and thus no one to represent all Palestinians in any talks. Israel can keep on building and expanding settlements and can continue occupying Palestine and oppressing fellow human beings.
It is a sad day for peace.
The Nov. 11 front-page story about Yasser Arafat's death contained the misleading statement that his Ramallah headquarters had "become a symbol of Palestinian resistance during the uprising over Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip."
Then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered 95 percent of the West Bank and all of Gaza to Mr. Arafat at Camp David in 2000. Mr. Arafat refused to accept it. If he had made the deal there now would be a Palestinian state with a portion of Jerusalem as its capital, billions of dollars in international aid and no need for this war. Mr. Arafat led his people into this abyss.
The reason that Mr. Arafat had not left his compound in more than 21/2 years was because he was active in orchestrating terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. The Israeli army found documents with his signature authorizing payments for suicide bombings and for construction of a chemical factory.