Thursday, November 11, 2004
So the truth is finally out - Yasser Arafat is dead.
His fate has been uncertain since his health crisis began on October 28th. The rumors were everywhere - Arafat has pneumonia, Arafat is doing just fine, Arafat is in a coma, Arafat is just sleeping, Arafat has AIDS, Arafat will soon recover.
And amid it all, darker rumors were hinted at - Arafat's cronies (and his wife) were scrambling, because only Arafat himself knew where his secret Swiss bank accounts were... and, with him in a coma, uncounted billions of dollars might vanish like smoke in the wind. Suha Arafat, his adoring wife (whom he hadn't seen in over four years), insisted on - and got - a lifetime pension of $22 million per year, for herself and her daughter, as a condition of permitting French doctors to pull the plug on her husband. (If this is true, it'll be interesting to see where the Palestinians find the money for her... given that Palestinian Authority government salaries remain unpaid.)
And now he is dead. As we might have expected, he is receiving high praise from all over the world.
Personally, I agree with Roger Simon: "Looked at objectively, he had more contempt for the Palestinian people than anybody alive". And I say: good riddance to a truly evil man; may he rot in hell for all the misery he's caused. (Update: James Lileks has other ideas.)
If you have a minute, please go here and watch a retrospective of his life. It won't take long. If you prefer, check out this biography of him, complete with some rare pictures of him as a young man.
Perhaps without the tyrant, the Palestinians will have a chance at building a future for themselves. But I doubt it.
UPDATE: care to take the pledge?
UPDATE: I cannot improve upon the words of Alex Bensky, as quoted at yourish.com:
Five hundred years from now the only people who will remember this wretched murderer will be Jews, because he will be added to the long, long list of those who not only in the time of Pharaoh but "in every generation have they risen up against us to destroy us." And centuries from now the only epitaph Arafat will have is "Am Yisra'el Chai."