July 16, 2004 Special Dispatch No. 746

A Call to Arafat to Resign

July 16, 2004
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 746

In an article in the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, columnist Ahmad Al-Rab'i calls on Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to resign, on the grounds that the continuation of his leadership serves Israel. The following is the translation of the article: [1]

"In the Palestinian Authority, there are 12 security apparatuses, and their number has nothing to do with security but with the fact that there are 12 people who must each be given a security apparatus so they will be important. If there were 40 people with similar characteristics, it would be necessary to please them and establish 40 Palestinian security apparatuses.

"Because there are 12 security apparatuses, each run by a private kingdom, security does not prevail in the PA territories, and it appears that some of the [apparatus] heads are exploiting their apparatuses to gain influence and maybe even to get rich.

"The task of Egyptian intelligence head Omar Suleiman was difficult, because he is interested in consolidating the divided security apparatuses. Lately, Arafat has complied with this demand, but has implemented it in his own way, since he needs to be chairman of every sphere. Arafat has expropriated the right of the prime minister, neglected the role of the Palestinian security minister, and appointed his cronies heads of some of the apparatuses. He has set himself at their head, and transformed his headquarters into the joint operations room of all the security apparatuses.

"Arafat, who lives like a leader with no rival, employs day-to-day tactics with no strategy, and thinks it important to appear in control of everything. This mentality has caused the missing of a rare opportunity, which former prime minister Abu Mazen tried to exploit. Prior to that, other opportunities were missed.

"Great leaders act in the interests of their people. Arafat is a leader under siege, and with no powers. None can negotiate with him, and if there are negotiations with him, it is done for the benefit of the media only, with no purpose.

"Israel is satisfied with the situation of a Palestinian leadership that is the sole legitimate one but at the same time does not participate in the real negotiations. Thus Arafat hangs onto his post, even though he knows that his heading the leadership is truly an obstacle to Palestinian enterprise, and Sharon is satisfied with this situation.

"The greatest service Arafat can do for the Palestinians is to submit his resignation and throw down the gauntlet to Israel and the Quartet. If he does this, the Palestinians will esteem him, and he will do an important service for the [Palestinian] cause."

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 26, 2004.

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