Arafat has died. He really has died. No, I’m not making this up. I mean, for crying out loud, it was reported in the New York Times. What’s that? You don’t trust the Times. Ok, well it really must be true because Fox News is saying so, as well.
I’m not feeling very charitable about this news. Good riddance. Perhaps, the Palestinian people can take this chance to move out from the shadow of a truly despicable man, renounce terrorism against Israel, and create a real nation for themselves.
Bush said Arafat’s death was a “significant moment” in Palestinian history and expressed hope that the Palestinians would achieve statehood and peace with Israel.
“During the period of transition that is ahead, we urge all in the region and throughout the world to join in helping make progress toward these goals and toward the ultimate goal of peace,” Bush said.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who had shunned his longtime enemy as a terrorist and obstructionist, said Arafat’s death could serve as an “historic turning point in the Middle East” and expressed hope that the Palestinians would now work to stop terrorism.
If the Palestinians are serious about becoming a nation, then they will have to take this opportunity to put their violent past behind them. Arafat’s stated purpose for violence against Israel was to get the world’s attention to the plight of the Palestinian people. If true, then it served its purpose. But further terrorism against Israel will only serve as a roadblock to the establishment of a Palestinian nation.
Sharon, insisting that it was impossible to discuss peace with Arafat, had over the past year pushed forward with his “unilateral disengagement” plan, under which Israel would evacuate the Gaza Strip in 2005, abandon some isolated West Bank settlements and finish a West Bank barrier to separate Israelis from Palestinians.
Now, that Arafat is dead, the Palestinians have a chance to build their own nation, if they will only recognize Israel’s right to exist and learn to live in peace with Israel. The next move is up to the Palestinian people. Will it be more of the same, continuing down a path that will only lead to death and bitterness, or will they step up to the plate, renounce terrorism and seek peaceful co-existance with Israel.
Well Palestine, the world is watching now.