Couple of days ago, thousand of Palestinians gather in “Almoqata” the official seat of the Palestinian government in El-Bireh/Ramallah (actually, the “Almoqata” is officially in El-Bireh) to commemorate the second anniversary of the death of the late Yaser Arafat.
As a Palestinian American with strong views and opinion of the late Arafat have to respect the love and feeling many Palestinians continue to hold for Arafat. I guess for so many of them, he is the one that made the Palestinian cause an international cause and here no one can deny that. However the disagreement and argument over Arafat is about the way he managed and ran the Palestine Liberation Organization and the way he ran “ the revolution” and the big mess he got the Palestinians in with his Oslo.
I do not want to discount the love for Palestine the late Arafat had and do not doubt his original commitments to the cause, however no one can deny that over time, Arafat became “egomaniac” convinced he is the “cause” and he is “Palestine” and as such he blurred the clear lines between himself as a person or as leader and that of the “cause” and this is was the down fall of Arafat. In his quest for power and authority he made sure that his personal interest in power and authority over money and political decisions supercede that of what is good for the “cause” and for the people. Arafat was simply a little man with small mind and small dreams like all other dictators who put there own personal and selfish interest ahead of the interest of his “cause” and his people. How could any one justify the fact that Arafat opened the check book of the PLO and Palestinian Authority and transferred tens of millions of dollars to the private accounts of his wife and wrote millions to his personal and loyal friends when their contribution to the people and the cause was at best totally absent. If Arafat was a leader of democracy or the head of a corporation he will be in jail for life. Instead thousands of people gather to honor his memory. That is why after 100 years we remain under Israeli Occupation.
Not only Arafat was morally, ethically and financially corrupt, he made a big mess of such a great cause and in the end gave up the rights of our people to a free state within Palestine in exchange for a job as a subcontractor to the Israeli Occupation. Oslo no matter how rosy certain people within the Palestinian Authority makes it to be and no matter the justification that Fatah and the PLO give to Oslo remains the biggest fraud ever committed by Arafat. One may forgive financial fraud, misuse and embezzlement of the people’s money; Oslo justifies bringing to trial Arafat and all those who negotiated Oslo. Arafat desperate after his big mistake of supporting criminal Saddam and desperate to stay as a key player in the Palestinian cause agreed to the terms and conditions of Oslo. The Israelis up to their ears with the mess of the First Intifada knew Arafat too well, and knew he will sell his own mother, let alone his people to stay in power and convinced him to conclude the deal in Oslo, a deal that made Arafat and his gangs billions of dollars while helping Israel manage the occupation of his people and destructions of their homes and properties. I am sure in due time, the Palestinian people will wake up one day to discover that Arafat was not only a hero, but a very big fraud. That Oslo has nothing to do with liberation from Israeli Occupation, but a way to ‘manage for a fee’, the Israeli Occupation by giving Fatah, the PLO and the Palestinian Authority a “business”. The Palestinian people will soon discover this fraud and will soon discover that Arafat was out for himself and was never the leader they think he was. Arafat embezzled the people’s money for his own personal use, but also hijacked, destroyed and mismanaged a great cause and it will take the people decades to undo the damage done by Arafat.