If Arafat were still aliveThe rest of the piece is about how Israelis should not be gloating over the fighting in the Occupied Territories.
Israel should take no comfort from inter-Arab conflicts. Peace depends on Palestinian unity
Wednesday January 31, 2007
'If Arafat were alive..." One hears this phrase increasingly often in conversations with Palestinians, and also with Israelis and foreigners. "If Arafat were alive, what's happening now in Gaza wouldn't be happening..." "If Arafat were alive, we would have somebody to talk with..." "If Arafat were alive, Islamic fundamentalism would not have won among the Palestinians and would have lost some force in the neighbouring countries!"
In the meantime, the unanswered questions come up again: how did Yasser Arafat die? Was he murdered?
On the way back from Arafat's funeral in 2004, I ran into Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Israeli Knesset. I asked him if he believed that Arafat was murdered. Zahalka, a doctor of pharmacology, answered "Yes!" without hesitation. That was my feeling too. But a hunch is not proof. It is only a product of intuition, common sense and experience.
Recently we got a kind of confirmation. Just before he died last month, Uri Dan, Ariel Sharon's loyal mouthpiece for almost 50 years, published a book in France. It includes a report of a conversation Sharon told him about, with President Bush. Sharon asked for permission to kill Arafat and Bush gave it to him, with the proviso that it must be done undetectably. When Dan asked Sharon whether it had been carried out, Sharon answered: "It's better not to talk about that." Dan took this as confirmation.