If Israel Kills Arafat, What Next?

It looks as if the gloves have come off. Israel is now openly talking about the possibility that Arafat may be killed in the process of attempting to exile him. My own distance from the situation makes it far too easy to think that Arafat is a has-been terrorist thug who is out of the loop. Obviously, with Arafat’s continuing involvement in selecting Abbas’ replacement, he is not entirely out of the realm of movers and shakers.

I see Arafat as having impeded the peace process from day one. His lies and routine two-facedness has obstructed any chance of reconciliation. Killing him may not improve chances for reconciliation, but it will remove an important cog in the Palestinian terror network. With the recent wounding of Hamas founder Yassin, Israel is sending an unmistakable message to all terror leaders that their days are numbered.

My own detestation of terrorists makes it difficult not to see certain advantages to snuffing Arafat. I know this will galvanize the Palestinian population for a while, but getting rid of this impediment to peace may prove a really good idea. I’m hoping for some solid non-froth-at-the-mouth sort of input here. Maybe we can analyse this without it deteriorating into a shouting match.

Arafat is like a tumor, the sooner he is gone the better. I don’t personally believe there will ever be true peace in the ME, but getting rid of Arafat is a good way to decrease the overall level of violence in the long run. I would expect that his death would result in a short term period of retalitory violence, however.

  1. Arafat is the elkected leader of the Palestinians and enjoys wide support among the people, elimanting him would de-stablize Palestine and most likely de-legitmize the current negoitations.

  2. There is noe indication he is currently involved in terrorism, and most of the reasons you give to kill him seem more like vague allegations.

This is wholly subjective, but it seems to me that ever since Sharon became PM, Israel has been on a course to provoke the Palestinians into an open rebellion that would give cover to an all out effort to permanently annex Gaza and the West Bank into metropolitan Israel and to exclude the Palestinians from the occupied territories. Sharon’s administration started with his visit to the mosque on the Temple Mount that was obviously going to set off riots. We followed that with and increasing spiral of repressions (made all the easier by the proclivity of the Palestinians to answer in kind) that has come to state sponsored assassination and the reckless use of area weapons in urban settings. If now the Israeli government sees fit to shot an air to ground missile up Arafat’s rectum all hell may be expected to break lose. If it does then look forward to an ethnic cleansing of monumental proportions. Israel has the ability to do it. The only thing lacking is a general Palestinian up rising. The murder (and I use that word advisedly) of Arafat ought to be enough to set one off. I’m not sure that his exile wouldn’t have the same effect.

sigh I miss Collounsbry.

IMO, as loathsome as Arafat is, he is the only leader who commands a wide spectrum of support among Palestinians. If Israel were to kill him, the consequences would be dire. All-out open warfare would result that would make the intifada look like a peace march. Moreover, it would jeopardize the US’s position in the MidEast far more than it already is (which is very bad indeed).

Translation: Let’s murder somone…

If you can’t murder the elected leader of a nation, who can you kill?

What evidence have you got that if you kill the leaders of a group that the group will instantly disband, and nobody will takeover?
Could you also explain why the Israeli cabinet can kill people legally?
What is your definition of a terrorist organisation?

So if an organisation keeps killing the current US President, the US would surrender?
You don’t think someone else would step up, and use more violence in return? And would it galvanise the US population? Why should the Palestinians be any different in their love for their country?

Do you think the Palestinians are queuing up for peace, but that Arafat is holding them back?

What signal does murdering him send?

America’s open support of Israel is a major reason the 1 billion
Muslims in the world hate’s us. If America has to pay the price
of what Israel does, then we should have more imput into how
Israel targets their assasinations. For every Jew killed, 4 Palestians
are killed. Killing Arafat will not bring peace, it will only enlarge
the conflict , killing on a grander scale, more 9/11’s. The Muslims
will go after Israel’s big brother, America at home and anywhere
in the world.

The Arafat problem is yet another intractible issue.

Here’s the problem: Arafat IS the chosen leader of the Palestinians - he has something like 85% support of the people. Expelling him or killing him is clearly going to outrage the Palestinian people.

So the anti-Israel lobby says that Israel must ‘deal’ with him. He must be the center point of negotiations. Yet, that option is equally bad, because Arafat has shown time and again that he is not a trustworthy partner. He is interested in only one thing: Maintaining power for Arafat. If that means playing one side against the other, that’s what he’ll do. If it means offering platitudes for peace to the west, while encouraging his people (in Arabic) to kill all the Jews, that’s what he’ll do. he has stolen billions from his ‘people’, he has never tried to create the trappings of a real state, never attempted to build any sort of Palestinian self-sufficiency, and every time it looks like peace might break out, some act of violence seems to happen, usually traced back to Arafat’s own security forces or allies.

The Palestinian people have a history of making very bad choices. They have sided with every dictator and thug in the last 50 years. Arafat is just another in a very long line of bad choices. Ultimately, this problem is going to continue until they stop operating from hatred, start taking responsibility for the actions of the militants among them, and start making better choices.

Okay, so America takes over Israel’s decision-making tomorrow. It cracks the whip, puts the Knessett in its pocket, and dictates exactly what must happen. What it that??? In your perfect world, what should Israel do to stop all this, while still protecting its own people?

I disagree Sam. I believe Yassir Arafat is driven by far more than mere ego. I believe he is driven by some very deep, and long term ideals. In many respects, he is the Ho Chi Minh of our time.

The Israeli, Palistian problem is an Enigma.
The Jew’s took Palestinian land when they established the state of
Israel in 1948, took more land in their other wars. They say
it is their’s according to 2000 year old Scripture. The Palistian’s
beg to differ. It’s about land. Nether side will budge. This conflict
shall go on for a very, very long time. The killings and hatred is
rapidly spreading to the rest of the world.

Not really. More like the Castro of the Middle East. Maybe once seriously committed to the ideals (and that reflects in no way on whether the ideals were good or bad), but now interested mostly in himself and his own power. Only difference between the two is that Castro doesn’t have a foreign force stopping him. According to Forbes magazine (Feb 2003), Arafat ranks 6th on the list of the world’s wealthiest kings, queens, and despots, net worth at least $300 million. You don’t make that kind of money in a place as dirt-poor as the West Bank without at least some kind of corruption.

A cynic would argue of course that if we shipped them all to the moon and let them have as much land as they wanted, (it wouldn’t be much more barren after all), they’d still fight to the death purely on principle.

Ultimately, the cause is utterly entrenched tribalism. Both sides perceive themselves as being profoundly different to the other - like oil and water - and the fact that they’re just humans like the rest of us lis largely lost on them. Whilstsoever both sides perceive themselves as being two separate nations trying to rule the same bit of land, with zero desire to integrate in any way, then the entrenched problem will likely last for generations I’d say.

It’s a remarkably bad idea. Assassinating Arafat isn’t going to remove an obstacle to peace; it’ll be throwing gasoline on an open fire. It’s downright depressing that an Israeli official is publicly floating the idea. Even if one accepts that Arafat is the grand pooh-bah terrorist leadership target, Israel’s campaign at targeting terrorist leadership has done nothing to bring an end to or even put a dent in the suicide bombings, it’s just made them martyrs. The terrorism isn’t dependant upon any individual leadership. Killing Arafat will set Palestine ablaze, and make US problems in the Middle East that much worse.

sigh It’s ideas and times like this that almost make me want to throw up my hands in frustration and advocate giving both sides nuclear weapons (yes, I know Israel already has them) and telling them to live in peace with each other or just get it over with once and for all. How many more decades are they going to go about killing each other?

Why is America so Pro- Israel in the first place.
For over fifty years, we have given them billions and billions of
dollars and the lastest military hardware. Why? Maybe if we
would have stayed of it all, the problem would have been solved
by now.

The US hasn’t been pro-Israel over the last 50 years, from a very pro-Israel site regarding the Suez War of 1956:

The billions of dollars in military hardware came largely after 1967, prior to that the main suppliers of arms to Israel were France and Britain.

To repeat my question;
How is American support of Israel in the best interest of the
average American. What are we getting out of it?

I’m no fan of Arafat, but I think getting rid of him like that would be a HUGE mistake. Martyr-status and all that.


They’re the most advanced (many say the only) democracy in the Middle East. We’re allies. We have strong historical ties. We have strong economic ties. We have strong cultural ties.

Plus, most of the aid we give to Israel goes to buy American goods (and has to, as part of the aid package). So, we’re supporting American industry with the aid packages.

I find it appaling that they’re even discussing assassinating the man. He’s the Palestinian leader, and it’s up to them to remove him from power.

I’ve yet to see any credible evidence that he’s behind any of the recent attacks, but I see lots of evidence that he’s been rendered ineffective to do anything about it. I don’t put the blame for that on him, as I’m pretty sure he’d love to have powerful troops at his disposal, but Israel has made sure he doesn’t have that power.

For all I know, he might lend moral support to the terrorists, and might even dance for joy every time a bomb goes off, but I’ve seen nothing to indicate that this is true.

I might be convinced that killing Arafat is a good idea under one condition, we put both him and Sharon on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere, and give them both small nuclear weapons.