Why doesn't Arafat just declare war already?

Why doesn’t Arafat just declare war already? He clearly doesn’t want peace. He wants the Israelis to allow all the Arabs and their progeny to return to the land they were kicked off of 50 years ago, something that Israel would never allow (does the name “Custer” mean anything to you?). He gives all these demagogueric speeches, in Arabic anyway, about Palestinians flags flying over all of Jerusalem someday.

Does he have some brilliant plan I am unaware of or is he just a wuss?

He’s a brilliant wuss.

He won’t ever declare war for two major reasons:

  1. Declaring war would lose him a lot of the support that he has worldwide (though not all of it) and

  2. He’d get his ass ground so far into the sand that archaeologists wouldn’t find it for a thousand years.

You mean he hasn’t declared war yet?

Arafat thinks (and so far he’s been correct) that the longer he holds out, the more he’ll get. He’s now been offered part of Jerusalem (something that was unthinkable only two years ago), 95% of the West Bank, Gaza, a highway to connect the two, etc.

If he can keep holding out, maybe he’ll get more.

Maybe he’ll get the right of return for all Palestinians.

Maybe he’ll get all of the West Bank.

Maybe he’ll get the entire Temple Mount.

Maybe he’ll get Israel to pull back to the 1947 borders (have you ever seen that map? – talk about an unworkable situation).

Maybe he’ll get the entirety of Jerusalem.

Maybe he’ll even get Israel to vote itself out of existance and form a “unified” Palestine.

Some of these sound far fetched? So did compromising on an independent Palestinian state, Jerusalem, the water resources and the Temple Mount, and all that has come to pass.

Arafat knows that once he accepts, he’s stuck with whatever he accepted and he’ll never get an inch more without an outright decleration of war (which he can’t win).

That’s why Arafat hasn’t accepted a deal yet.

Zev Steinhardt

So if he’s just going to use terrorism to extort more and more from the Israelis (and I think that special Palestinian-only highway with no on-off ramps is rather patronizing) why don’t they declare war on him? Or have they only just figured this out and are thus planning to wall off their territory, etc.?

I’ve almost gotten to the point that I would tell the Israeli government to wall off the West Bank and Gaza, and let the Palestinains live in their own country already. It would collapse under its own corruption anyway. Do you think these people could really manage a peaceful nation? Of course not; without hating Israel, what else would keep them together?

BTW - there was no such word as “palestinian” until 1970.

You must have meant 1470 or something, right?

Nothing like a little knee-jerk anti-towelhead spew to brighten one’s day.

Nice catch on the “Palestine” usage, Joel. You beat me to it.

I think BW and Zev have covered your first question pretty well. As to why Israel won’t declare war on the Palestinians, there are a couple reasons I can see:

  1. Most Isralis really do want peace.

  2. There are huge numbers of Palestinians and sympathizers within Israel proper, and a full war would end up being fought in the Israli’s backyards.

  3. Israel, while a major power and able to kick the hell out of most any single group in the Mideast, are nevertheless surrounded by nations sympathetic with the Palestinian cause. The last thing Israel needs is to fight another multi-front war.

  4. Most importantly, IMO, is that a declared war would acknowledge the sovreignty of the Palestinians. Countries only delcare war on other countries. Israel cannot afford to treat (or appear to the world to treat) the Palestinians as an independent nation.

No, I did mean 1970. Arabs who lived in the West Bank before 1967 were Arabs or Jordanians. Those who lived in Gaza were Arabs or Egyptians. The modern term “Palestinian” was first used in U.N. documents in 1970 to describe those who left Israel (from within the Green Line) during the War of Independence (1948) and the Six Day War (1967).

I really do know how to spell “Israeli,” BTW.

elshpen, “Palestine” has been a region or a nation since before the Roman occupation. “Palestinian” has been the name for an occupant of that region or country.

I’m not sure what you mean by the “modern term.”

You’re talking about a “nation” where the people are executed for cooperating with Israel. You’re talking about a “nation” where the government has swallowed millions of dollars, yet has nothing to show for it. There are so many factions. Why do you think “Palestine” won’t collapse under its own weight?

(sorry it took so long - they expect me to work here!!)

I would bet that you can’t find one source (dated 1948 - 1970) that refers to “Palestinians” when talking about the Arabs that left Israel during that time.

No, Sparky, I’m not talking about a nation of any sort. I’m talking about your seeming bigotry.

Dude, you said:

That is an incorrect statement. Not all residents of the region called Palestine have always been arabs. Not all arabs are Palestinian.

Your disingenuous attempt to discredit the Palestinians by implying that the word was manufactured is just silly. Stop it. There are plenty of ways to discredit folks. Being dishonest is not among the better of these ways.

It seems rather obvious to me that Arafat doesn’t hold power over Palestinian combatants in Israel/Gaza/West Bank.

I question the solidity of any peace treaty reached with him, because I do not believe he has the power to say, “OK, guys. They’ve given us this and this and this, so now give them that and that and stop all violence.”

In a certain sense, it’s like negotiating an end to the L.A. riots with Al Sharpton.

The PLO charter calls for the elimination of the Jewish state.

And here’s an earlier thread about “What exactly is a Palestinian?”

If he makes peace, he has to compromise away things that his hard-liners are ready to declare jihad over. They’d overthrow him quickly and presumably violently.

If he makes war, he loses badly and gets overthrown for it, quickly and presumably violently.

No way can he come out a hero to his own people. If he mor or less maintains the status quo, he stays alive and in power. Easy call.

The PLO charter calls for the elimination of the Jewish state. Sounds like war to me already.

Well, Webster’s 1913 edition, page 1032:

But I guess that is technically not between 1948-1970 so I don’t win anything. :rolleyes:

BTW: The PLO charter was drafted at the formation of the PLO in July, 1968 in the Tel-Aviv Hilton Hotel.

Just a little trivia for ya, there.


blessedwolf wins the bet. The word Palestinian being used to refer to diaspora Arabs from Palestine in 1968. :slapsforehead: I should have thought of looking there.

I agree with that – as the charter defines “liberate” I can’t see anyway to do it without war. I’m just wondering what the hold up is. Thoughful answers so far.