The Father of Modern Terrorism



The political season is already underway, after a brief post election hiatus, and end of year reflections on the passing year very much in order. One event stands out as worthy of consideration, for contained within it are the elements of the current crisis that consumes much of the energies of our nation, this being the passing of Yassir Arafat. He died, as most of us know, amidst mysterious circumstances, in a Paris Hospital, and was buried in Ramallah, in the West Bank, at the compound where he stayed for the last several years under house arrest. He was mourned by his followers, of course, the many well paid cronies and vigilantes who clung to his coattails with great tenacity, his adoring Palestinian public, upon whom he unleashed catastrophe and ruin, Arab leaders who were probably delighted to see him go, the Vatican, slavish European leaders and, of course, the bollixed UN. Mainstream media and commentators, too, hapless as always, queued up to lavish praise on the scented memory of Yassir Arafat.

But the current conflict with radical Islam, euphemistically referred to as the War on Terror, is very much the legacy of Yassir Arafat, for he, along with his sympathizers in the West, legitimized the butchery of innocents for political purposes. Those who flew jet liners into the World Trade Center, firebombed tourists in Bali, blew up trains in Madrid, killed innocent children in Beslan (Russia), and continue to massacre African Muslims in Darfur (Sudan), include in their pedigree the man Palestinians brainlessly refer to as the George Washington of the Palestinian movement. The wanton killing of innocents in Iraq by terrorist insurgents or in Afghanistan by remnants of the Taliban were all nursed on his effulgent bosom. The worldwide Islamist terrorist movement and its perverse adherents, from the jungles of the Philippines, to the Middle East, Africa, and the streets of Amsterdam and New York, are all the blighted offspring of Mr. Arafat. For in his bloody career, he demonstrated in this television age, the power of unabridged slaughter to fix attention to a particular cause, and, in a nightmarish, pathologic way, to lend credence to it. This combination of terror and appeasement, which worked shamefully well for the Palestinian movement, became the model for all future such renegade Islamic terror campaigns.

Arafat established the PLO in 1964, and from the beginning, he embraced terrorism and hatred of Israel. The Palestinian Charter rejects the right of Israel to exist and calls for its destruction by violent means. Arafat, true to his word, sent his agents to slaughter athletes at the Munich Olympics, blow airliners out of the sky, bomb schools and cafeterias, and gun down passengers in airports. He was expelled from Jordan in 1970 and Lebanon in 1982, after embroiling each in violent civil war. In 1991, he endorsed Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. In 1993, an incredibly naive Israeli leadership rehabilitated him under the now defunct Oslo Accords. In exchange for limited autonomy, Arafat would renounce violence and accept Israel's right to exist. Instead, he funded terrorist groups, stockpiled tens of thousands of illegal weapons, supported the creation of bomb factories, and refused to extradite or incarcerate known terrorists. He glorified suicide bombers as martyrs. He created a culture of vile anti-Jewish hatred. He also became one of the wealthiest dictators in the world. He paid off his supporters, ruthlessly suppressed opposition, and siphoned off millions into personal accounts. In the summer of 2000, Israel offered him his own state with a capitol in Jerusalem. Arafat launched a war. It was during the Intifada that Arafat added a noxious innovation to world terror, the suicide bomber, yet another essential piece of his legacy.

In 1974, Arafat murderers attacked a school in Ma'alot, in northern Israel, killing 2 dozen children. At the time, the deliberate targeting of children was relatively new, and Israelis, long inured to acts of terror, could scarcely believe that any group or individual could do such a thing to advance a political cause. They thought surely the international community would unite and demand an end to such attacks. There was however no outrage, but silence. European capitols insisted on maintaining relations with the PLO, and sent the message that there would be no consequences for Arab terror. The age of appeasement was upon us, and the seeds of modern Islamic terror planted.

The death of Arafat can only be seen as a positive development. The one regret is that he died peacefully in bed; the gallows, as we shall find for his ally, Saddam Hussein, would have been more fitting.


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