July 23, 2004 Special Dispatch No. 751

Following Recent PA Anarchy, Arab Press Attacks Arafat

July 23, 2004
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 751

The increasing anarchy in the Palestinian Authority has prompted increasing attacks on PA Chairman Yasser Arafat in the Arab press, with columnists blaming him for the anarchy and corruption in the PA, and calling on him to resign. The following are excerpts from several articles:

Editor of Kuwaiti Daily Al-Siyassa: Arafat, Like Saddam, Has Led His People to Terrorism, Destruction, and Death

Ahmad Jarallah, editor of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, wrote in an editorial: "Finally, the Palestinians have begun today to take the reins into their own hands. They have begun to act directly against Arafat's men, the czars of corruption… Arafat himself must go, as head of the corrupt PA and as someone whose political survival is pointless – particularly when the military arm of the Fatah organization that he heads is accusing him of responsibility for this tragedy…

"Arafat has destroyed the foundation of the life of the Palestinian people, and led it to terrorism, destruction, and pointless death out of despair. He has torn the land apart, as Saddam Hussein tore the Iraqi homeland apart and humiliated his people. This man has entered the stage of political idiocy that is manifested by clinging to power and hoping for longevity.

"The leader of the corruption is Arafat himself, and the first to know this are the Arab leaders… Clearing the path to peace or to the road map will be impossible as long as this man, who abuses the lives of his people in order to survive, remains [in power]." [1]

Editor of Egyptian Government Daily Al - Akhbar: 'Arafat Gave a Wonderful Gift to Sharon'

Galal Dawidar, editor of the Egyptian government daily Al-Akhbar,who is close to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, wrote in his column: "What joy for the Israeli aggression! What joy for the master murderer Sharon and his bloody gang! They deserve this wonderful gift from President Arafat, who has given it to them with his stubbornness and determination to buck the tide that is demanding reform in the PA…

"We reiterate our request to President Arafat who, despite everything that has happened, still has the power to take control of matters. He is to blame, and he must comply with the desire of the Palestinian people and the international community, and must act quickly for the sake of repairing the Palestinian home in order to cope with the dangers and conspiracies against the legitimate hopes and rights [of the Palestinian people]." [2]

Editor of Pro-Saddam London Daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi: 'Arafat Allowed Corruption to Spread Until the Palestinian Body Politic was a Reeking, Rotting Corpse'

Abd Al-Bari 'Atwan, editor of the pro-Saddam London daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, wrote: "Palestinian President Yasser Arafat lost much of his honor in the attack on his police commander General Ghazi Al-Jibali. Then Arafat lost the last vestige [of his honor] when he made an even greater mistake, appointing his cousin General Moussa Arafat head of General Security. The new commander is no less corrupt than his predecessor, and he is loathed by most of the Palestinian people. It may be that the rapid decision to appoint [Moussa Arafat] will even lead to civil war in the Gaza Strip – or, at best, a series of assassinations and liquidations…

"All the PA institutions are corrupt and illegitimate. Corruption is a contagious disease, and President Arafat allowed this disease to spread until it turned the Palestinian body politic into a reeking, rotting corpse…

"In the name of the silent majority, we demand that President Arafat withdraw his support of the corrupt ones, fire them all, and use the younger forces with clean [hands] among the Palestinian people. This is the only way out of this anarchy and decline…" [3]

Columnist for Jordanian Gov't Daily Al-Ra'i: 'Arafat Clings to His Seat at the Expense of International Support for the Palestinian People'

Columnist Dr. Fahd Al-Fanek wrote in the Jordanian government daily Al-Ra'i: "Arafat is internationally ostracized, but clings to his seat at the expense of international support for the Palestinian people and its cause. Thus he has become a heavy burden… What is necessary now is to sacrifice a Palestinian state for the sake of preserving the Muq'ata [Arafat's headquarters] in Ramallah.

"Now that the situation is as bad as it can get, does Mr. Arafat realize that his time is past and that he must retire willingly – or that things will reach their natural end in other ways?" [4]

Former Editor of London Arabic Daily Al-Hayat Reiterates Call on Arafat to Quit

Jihad Al-Khazen, former editor of the London Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat, who has called on Arafat to resign several times, again reiterated his call: "According to the road map, which Arafat had already agreed to, the [Palestinian] security agencies were supposed to consolidate over 12 security agencies into three. Nevertheless, he resisted, only to declare limited steps when it was too late. The people of Gaza, who had demanded the removal of police chief Ghazi Al Jabalifor his corruption, also demonstrated against appointing Moussa Arafat, the Palestinian leader's cousin, as head of national security. They demanded the removal of an official for his corruption, only to find that Arafat brought in someone even more corrupt…

"In May, I wrote in this column calling on Arafat to resign. Last week, UN special envoy to the Middle East Terje Roed-Larsen, who is a great supporter of the Palestinians, criticized Arafat's act. If this is the opinion of a [friend], then Arafat must rethink the opinions of others, and [about] who should be blamed [for this]." [5]

Columnist For London Daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: Arabs Must Tell Arafat that 'The Palestinian People is More Important than You'

Columnist Dr. Mamoun Fandy wrote in the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "Arafat no longer cares about anything but his own 'freedom of movement.' He doesn't care about [UN special envoy to the Middle East Terje Roed] Larsen's statements to the [U.N.] Security Council regarding the transition from Sharon's Gaza withdrawal to the beginning of a full withdrawal [from the Palestinian territories] and 1.5 million Palestinians' liberation from the yoke of occupation and humiliation. Arafat's personal freedom is more important than the freedom of the Palestinians. In all negotiations conducted by Arafat, it appeared that he was acting according to the saying … 'If I'm not part of the solution, I'll ruin the [whole] game.'

"All Arabs, particularly their rulers, must tell this man, 'This matter is bigger than you are,' and the Palestinian people is much more important than Abu Ammar [Arafat]. Abu Ammar's actions are not liberation strategy but survival maneuvers, and [as far as he is concerned] the Palestinian people, and the region, can go to hell.

"The question remains: [should] we imprison the entire region together with [Arafat] in his prison in Ramallah? Or should we first liberate the Palestinians, leaving Arafat for last? In my view, liberating the Gaza residents and taking them out of Sharon's prison takes priority over liberating Arafat from his prison." [6]

[1] Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), July 20, 2004.

[2] Al-Akhbar (Egypt), July 21, 2004. Galal Dawidar also wrote an article critical of Arafat in Al-Akhbar on July 19, 2004.

[3] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), July 19, 2004.

[4] Al-Ra'i (Jordan), July 20, 2004.

[5] Al-Hayat (London, in English), July 20, 2004.

[6] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 19, 2004.

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