Arafat the "martyr"

 I had heard Arafat being quoted as saying something to the effect of if he is killed, he will die as a martyr.  Currently, he is holed up in his compound, surrounded by the Israeli Army.   Now, Sharon is proposing Arafat's exile from Israel.  
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  Does Arafat still view himself as a martyr in the making?  And what's to stop him from ordering one of his 'guards' to shoot him; it might look like the Israelis did it, and then would he be a martyr?

I think he still sees the possibility as a valid insurance policy on his life. Although I’m sure he’s questioning that at the moment.

Apart from not wanting to die?

Funny you should mention that…after I last posted, I found a quote from NEWSWEEK that says “I want to be a martyr, martyr , martyr” Apparently he does…

Well, though others may disagree, he appears to me to be less of an extremist than some in that part of the world when it comes to attempted instigation of ww3. He probably still figures he can do more good for his cause alive than dead, especially since his untimely death can mean little short of heightened conflict in an already more than tedious situation.

Arafat does not want to be a martyr. In fact, the reason why the Palestinians are in such a mess today is that Arafat is a coward who has continually refused to stick his neck out on behalf of his people. Arafat’s primary skill is assuring Arafat’s survival.

Do you know why he turned down the best deal he knew he was ever going to get with Israel? Because he would have been in danger from militants in his own government.

Arafat has survived as a leader in one of the most volatile areas in the world, surrounded by militant nutbars, when just about all of his peers are dead or retired. That’s no accident - survival is Arafat’s best trick.

Tsk, tsk, Sam, why do I keep seeing you making unsupported claims on this topic?

A coward would have got the hell out of the region and lived a comfortable life without ever coming back to such a dangerous place and job. Say what you will about him, but Arafat has dedicated his life to the Palestinian cause, risking life and limb every single day just by being there and being who he is.

Oh sweet angels! Sam, did it occur to you that he turned down the Barak deal because it failed to address a couple of key issues that the Palestinians considered critical, such as Jerusalem and right of return? How do you manage to come up with these statements?

Survival does not equal cowardice. And yes, Arafat is the great survivor of the Middle East, a fact that has helped him win support more than once.

No. Whatever else on may say, Sam’s right on that one. He doesn’t want to die, and I think a reading of Arafat’s comments in context shows that. (I can’t find that quotation on Newsweek’s site, BTW . . . were you paraphrasing?)

Given the choice between capture and imprisonment by the Israelis on the one hand, and martyrdom on the other, he has stated that he would rather accept martyrdom. A kind of “You’ll never take me alive, coppers” philosophy. But he does not seek death. (I think the strongest argument for that is simply that in Israel, death could easily have been his for the taking for many years.)

It’s not really relevant whether Arafat personally wants or intends to be a martyr or not. The point is that if he is killed as a result of this conflict, he WILL be seen as a martyr by Palestinians, and many Arabs and Muslims in the wider community. And possibly many non-Arabs and non-Muslims too.

Sharon has offered him a safe ticket out courtesy of the European Union. If he takes this offer, I will agree with you. Until he does, I am at odds with this statement.

I do, however, agree with istara, in that his death would create a martyr, whether anyone wants it or not.

Yes. That’s what Arafat’s saying, and that’s the answer to the OP.

What I would like to see from Arafat are some proposals such as: here’s how I’m going to rebuild the roads; here’s how I’m going to rebuild the schools; here’s how I’m going to rebuild the sewers, the airports, the trains, help the farmers, bring in overseas investments, what kind of government will be put into place, what sort of laws will we have, etc etc etc…
And not least of all: “Hey, morons!!! Stop blowing yourselves up!! You’re more valuable alive than dead!!!”

But unless I completely missed it, Arafat has never once tried to give his followers HOPE FOR THE FUTURE…SOMETHING TO WORK FOR, NOT AGAINST. If he wants to truly help the Palestinians obtain their own homeland, then for Chrissakes, get his people to stop blowing up women and children!! At the least, if he feels like continuing this war, then target military targets, not women and children. Run out there and hug a tank, for crying out loud.

And here’s a thought: if Arafat truly believes in the efficacy of suicide bombings…then why isn’t HE out there with some dynamite strapped to his fat ass??

Israel has a lot to answer for, as does the entire world community, for creating this situation and not doing enough to end it. But I will NEVER support some person/religion/country who will actively encourage suicide bombings as a way of achieving an objective.

Who ever said that he does? Cite, please.


Well, if he doesn’t, why isn’t he trying to stop the bombers? In any case, it was more of a rhetorical question, designed to perhaps illustrate this point:

Arafat: “Gee, suicide bombing is such a wonderful thing! You, there, go blow yourself up!”

Idiot: “Who, ME?? Why not do it yourself?”

Arafat: “Are you kidding? I don’t want to die!”

Idiot: “Oh; OK, then…”
If I were trying to overthrow what I would perceive to be an unjust ruler, I’d be trying to kill THEM, not me!!!

Of course, if I could get someone ELSE to blow themselves up…

Here’s a pretty good editorial in the <i>Washington Post</i> about the nature of Arafat:

An Excerpt, describing Arafat’s return from exile in Tunisia to start up the Palestinian Authority:

Sam Stone’s quote there is the best description of Palestinian government I’ve seen in some time.

Take that infamous ship o’ weapons, filled with not just arms, but millions of dollars in arms (courtesy of Iran & co). That could have been spent on anything else, schools, roads, job creation, investment. Instead the bulk of any aid is funneled into armed resistance and strengthening the police. Of course, it’s quite possible the aid was given on the condition that it came in the form of weaponry, but they took it anyway.

I’ve advocated the Palestinians taking a passive resistance route, but I just thought of another - the capitalist route. If they built the West Bank up into tourist traps, they’d have Israel on its knees. Any Palestinian gambling casinos, perchance?

Mike Duncan

There is a school of thought that he simply can’t.

In the same way that Israel couldn’t prevent the assassination of Rabin, the US couldn’t prevent Oklahoma, the UK couldn’t prevent Canary Wharf, and the IRA couldn’t prevent the Omagh bombing by the RIRA (a situation not unlike the PLO/Hamas one).

Not to examine this possibility is to swallow what Sharon’s government is saying hook, line and sinker without question. Of course, they may be right, but I did ask for a cite, and you don’t seem to have been able to find me one.


True, and you know why? I made the statement

as a question, not a statement of fact. If I had been trying to claim a fact, I would necessarily and properly be taken to ask for not supplying a cite when requested to do so. However, since I was posing a hypothetical scenario, no such citing is necessary.

This is what I think is happening.

Arafat does want to be rid of suicide bombers and the instigators, his potential rivals, in the terrtories. But he cannot have his troops engage the terror groups without causing a devastating civil war in the Palestinian terrorities. So what is a good way of getting rid of the terrorist groups, while the same time keeping the people in the territories united behind him? Of course, have the efficient Israeli army do the work for him. What he didn’t count on was Sharon’s insatiable desire to settle old scores.

The problem with that theory is that Arafat is the one directly ordering the bombings. The Israelis have turning up a bunch of documents for suicide bomb parts signed by Arafat himself, searches of the PA headquarters have turned up all kinds of explosives and weapons, and the majority of suicide bombers in the last several months were members of Arafat’s own organization.

There is just no way you can get around the fact that Arafat was sending people to blow themselves up in restaraunts and Day Care centers. He’s a terrorist and a murderer. Anyone who doubts that hasn’t been paying attention.