Thursday, November 11, 2004

After Arafat

Sometime last night, Arafat officially died. I say officially because the second I heard he had been carted off to Paris, I thought I smelled a rat. To me, it seemed like is rivals, as few and as weak as they were, had finally caught him at a weak point. I wonder if he really was in a coma or if the PO folks where just bickering over who would take over while Arafat was brain dead.

His wife was another interesting angle to the story. She had been uninvolved in the struggle for at least a decade and living high off of Arafat's cleptocracy, only to swoop in and take advantage of French law that gave her all kinds of rights over her husband's care and body.

Hopefully, something good will come out of this. This a great chance for the PO to have a real election and have real reforms that will end the corruption and cronyism that has plagued the organization and the peace process. Hopefully, some Israelis will be invited to the funeral, maybe not Sharon but maybe Barak (Rabin would have, maybe his widow will be) and I hope some Israelis show up to pay their respects to a worthy foe.

This is a new beginning for Palestine and its people, they have a choice: more of the same disaster, or real compromises for peace. I hope they won't choose the way 51% of Americans did.

Hopefully as well, George W. Bush will stop making up excuses to deal with the Israel/Palestine problem, which he has essentially ignored for 4 years (with intermittent half efforts) Maybe this will keep Colin Powell on, but Alberto "Abu Graib" Gonzales makes it a tough sell.

Now that he is in there for another 4 years, I hope he will put aside his pro-Israel posturing and get something done. Because nothing will help Iraq more than peace in Israel and vice versa. No battle in the War on Terror will be as decisive as a victory at the negotiations table between the PO and Israelis.

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