November 17, 2004 Special Dispatch No. 814

Egyptian Columnists: We Do Not Regret the Death of Arafat, who Expressed his Joy at Sadat's Assassination

November 17, 2004
Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 814

While PA Chairman Yasser Arafat was dying, some columnists in the Egyptian government press avoided expressing hope for his recovery. They explained their position as stemming from Arafat's joyful behavior following the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Al-Sadat. The following are excerpts from two articles on the subject:

'I Do Not Care at All Whether He Remains Unconscious'

Anwar Wagdi, a c olumnist for the Egyptian government weekly Akhbar Al-Youm, wrote on November 6, 2004:

"I do not know what will become of the Palestinian president Yasser Arafat, and I do not care at all whether he remains unconscious in the recovery room of a hospital in Paris or whether he suddenly awakens, dons his military uniform, and boards the plane to return to Ramallah, with a broad grin on his face and his two famous fingers reaching the skies in [his] traditional sign of victory, a victory that never was throughout the long decades that have gone by…

"My lack of interest in Arafat's fate does not stem from a lack of humanity toward a poor, sick person, who is suffering the agony of dying, but [stems from the fact] that I have not forgotten, and will not forget, as long as I live, how Arafat jumped for joy, dancing, singing, and praising [the killers] as soon as he learned of the death of the late Egyptian President Anwar Al-Sadat on October 6, 1981.

"The picture of Yasser Arafat exchanging congratulations with those surrounding him on the occasion of the death of the 'traitor' and the 'agent' – as they had the audacity to describe the Egyptian president … prevents me from expressing solidarity with Abu Ammar [i.e. Yasser Arafat], whatever his fate may be." [1]

'We in Egypt will Never Forget how Yasser Arafat Broadcast the Song 'Rejoice My Heart' in the [West] Bank and the [Gaza] Strip when President Al-Sadat was Assassinated'

In a similar vein, columnist and former editor Anis Mansour wrote on November 10, 2004 in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram:

"Life is in the hands of Allah, O Abu Ammar. and one must not gloat over a death. [However,] we in Egypt will never forget how Yasser Arafat broadcast the song 'Rejoice My Heart' in the [West] Bank and the [Gaza] Strip when President Al-Sadat was assassinated, [nor will we forget] the exclamations of joy regarding 'the fall of the Zionist traitor, agent, criminal, and exterminator Anwar Al-Sadat!'

"What has passed is dead. And the dead has already paid his debt and must not be beaten. Yasser Arafat has left the Palestinian people facing a difficult choice and a test. This opportunity must not be missed. The Palestinian people must prove to the world that it can have one stand and one leadership in order to renew the struggle in a different form…

"In the event that the Palestinians are divided in their opinions regarding who should be their leader and in the event that they direct their guns toward themselves and there is a civil war – they will give Israel, the U.S., and the entire world a strong justification to cease all negotiations, because there is no one [Palestinian leader] with whom an understanding can be reached, but [instead there are] many.

"If the absence of such a person continues for a long time, Israel will shelve the road map plan and there will be no map and no road, but anarchy

in Palestine, and that will constitute a danger to Israel's security. [In such an event,] there will be no escape, and the U.N., the U.S., the European Community, and the Arab League will publish a resolution concerning Palestine, and in the future there will be those who [talk] about the need to occupy Palestine or make it a protectorate.

"In order to avoid such a thing, the Palestinian people must quickly choose a wise leadership – otherwise, there will be thousands of bad scenarios that will take us back for another century." [2]

[1] Akhbar Al-Youm (Egypt), November 6, 2004.

[2] Al-Ahram (Egypt), November 10, 2004.

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