Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Did Israel Kill Yasser Arafat? And if so, Was it Justified?

December 3, 2012 12:55 pm 5 comments

Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat. Photo: World Economic Forum.

Did Israel kill Yasser Arafat? That is the question being discussed as the Palestinian Authority exhumes his body for French prosecutors investigating his death. This follows the announcement by a Swiss institute that they found remnants of the poison polonium on Arafat’s clothes.

However, the more fundamental questions are why would Israel have wanted to kill Arafat and would it have been justified. The assessment must be based on the objective data as to Arafat’s role at the time. Was he just a political leader or was he also an archterrorist leading the most systematic and deadly terror war that Israel ever faced? Yasser Arafat died in November 2004 after four years of a PA terror campaign, also called the second intifada. One thousand Israelis had already been murdered in attacks coming from PA territory under Arafat’s leadership.

Was Arafat directing this terror campaign? If so, he would belong in the same category as terror leaders like Osama bin Laden and Hamas leader Ahmad Yassin, who were killed by the US and Israel respectively, as measures in the war on terror being fought by democracies.

Evidence abounds that Arafat was the force behind the terror war against Israel. First, the PA actively promoted terror and glorified terror through the structures under Arafat’s control.

PA-owned official TV was used repeatedly to call for killing Jews in the name of Islam.

For example, Ahmed Yusuf Abu Halabiah, a Palestinian religious leader, preached on PA TV: “The Jews are the Jews … it is necessary to slaughter them and murder them, according to the words of Allah … It is forbidden to have mercy in your hearts for the Jews in any place and in any land … Any place that you meet them – kill them … Have no mercy on the Jews, murder them everywhere.” (PA TV, October 13, 2000)

Likewise, PA cleric Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Madi preached: “I was delighted when a youth said to me: ‘Oh, Sheikh, I am 14 years old, I have four more years, and then I will blow myself up among Allah’s enemies’ … We blow them up in Hadera, we blow them up in Tel Aviv and in Netanya … they will not be deterred except by the color of the blood of their filthy people. They will not be deterred unless we blow ourselves up willingly and voluntarily among them.” (PA TV, August 3, 2001) Then as now, PA TV was the official PA mouthpiece and controlled by the PA leadership.

It is impossible that ongoing directives like these to kill Israelis/Jews could have been expressed regularly for four years unless Arafat wanted it.

A second indicator that Arafat supported the killings was the way the PA honored those who succeeded in killing Israelis, including suicide bombers. For example, PA TV repeatedly broadcast a song-tribute honoring Wafa Idris, the first female suicide bomber, who killed one and wounded more than 150 Israelis: “My sister Wafa … Oh the heartbeat of pride, Oh blossom who was on earth and is now in Heaven. Allah Akbar! [Allah is greater] … you chose Martyrdom. In death you have brought life to the aspiration.” (PA TV, May 1, 2002)

The PA leaders actively gave their stamp of approval for murders that were committed by all the various terror organizations. In 2003, the PA Ministry of Education held the Abd Al-Baset Udeh football tournament for 14-year-olds, named after the suicide terrorist who killed 31 at the Passover celebration in Netanya. Each team in the tournament was named after a different terrorist. (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 21, 2003) Another example was when the PA held a football tournament, sponsored by the top PA leadership including Arafat, Saeb Erekat, the Mufti, the minister of sport and others. The event honored the “Martyrs of the Palestinian National Struggle” and the teams were named after 24 “martyrs,” including: Hamas bomb-maker Yahya Ayyash; head of the terrorist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Abu Ali Mustafa; Fatah’s Dalal Mughrabi, whose bus hijacking killed 37, and 21 other “martyrs.”

Had the PA not supported suicide terror and not wanted to encourage more terror, as some Arafat apologists claim, these sermons inciting murder and genocide would not have been preached on official PA TV by PA clerics, suicide bombers like Idris would not have been honored by official PA TV, and sporting events glorifying terrorists like Udeh would not have been held by the PA Ministry of Education. And these are only representative examples among many.

More evidence that Arafat and the PA were actively directing the terror war is found in the testimonies of PA leaders themselves, both during the campaign and since its conclusion.

In 2002, the year 452 Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terror, Mazen Izzadin, deputy director of PA National Education, said proudly on PA TV that Arafat was directing the entire campaign: “The Al-Aqsa intifada – if we want to be truthful and open, history will reveal one day – that it [the intifada] and all its directives belong to the President and Supreme Commander Yasser Arafat.” (PA TV, May 28, 2002)

Ashraf al-Ajrami, former PA minister of prisoners, likewise credited Arafat with being responsible for the terror war: “The master of resistance is, without doubt … Yasser Arafat. Even this intifada, whose flag Hamas has tried to wave unjustly, forcibly, falsely and fraudulently – that flag belongs to Yasser Arafat alone … The greatest number of [Palestinian] prisoners is from the [PA] security forces [under Arafat]. They are the ones who bore arms and carried out the greatest and most important [military] operations.” (PA TV June 29, 2009)

More than once, PA leaders have emphasized Arafat’s duplicitous strategy of condemning the terror as part of a facade to please the West and conceal his responsibility and at the same time orchestrate it and encourage Palestinian terror.

Sultan Abu al-Einein, currently an adviser to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, explained: “Yasser Arafat used to condemn martyrdom operations [i.e., suicide attacks]. He used to condemn these operations in very severe terms, but at the same time, it is clearly determined that the martyr Yasser Arafat financed these military operations.” (Al-Quds TV, April 6, 2009)

Muhammad Dahlan, then member of the Fatah Central Committee, also highlighted Arafat’s successful deception strategy: “Arafat would condemn [military] operations [i.e., terror attacks] by day while at night he would do honorable things. I don’t want to say any more about this.” (PA TV, July 22, 2009)

Even the current PA chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, has admitted publicly that Arafat and the Palestinian Authority were the ones who ordered the killings. During a PA TV interview, Abbas argued for the release of all terrorists in Israeli prisons, saying: “I demand [the release of] prisoners because they are human beings, who did what we, we, ordered them to do. We – the [Palestinian] Authority. They should not be punished while we sit at one table negotiating. This is war. One [i.e., Israel] ordered a soldier to kill, and I ordered my son, brother, or others, to carry out the duty of resistance. This person killed and the other person killed.” (PA TV, February 14, 2005) Significantly, Abbas admitted that it was “we” – the PA led by Arafat – who had given the orders to kill. The killers according to Abbas were merely following orders, and “did what we, we, ordered them to do.”

Arafat, according to Abbas himself, had instructed his people that killing Israelis, even civilians, was their “duty of resistance.”

So was Arafat the leader of the terror war responsible for the murder of over 1,000 Israeli civilians. His religious leaders called to kill Jews. His social frameworks and media glorified those who succeeded in murdering Israelis. Abbas said Arafat “ordered them… to kill” and al-Einein said Arafat “condemned” and “financed” the same suicide bombings.

In fact, the people closest to Arafat and the current internal Palestinian narrative, unanimously credit Arafat with the decision to start the terror war and the overall responsibility for the killings.

Did Israel kill Arafat? Certainly, there is no evidence of it, nor is it the critical question. What is important is that Arafat’s role as the terror leader made him no different than the other terrorists who pulled the triggers or detonated suicide belts. The year was 2004. Over 1,000 Israelis had already been murdered under Arafat’s guidance and direction. Arafat wasn’t just a political leader during a conflict; he was leading a terror war that was targeting and murdering civilians at every opportunity.

There was ample justification if Israel had wanted to kill him.

Itamar Marcus is director and Nan Jacques Zilberdik senior analyst of Palestinian Media Watch. They are the authors of Deception: Betraying the Peace Process. This article was originally published by the Jerusalem Post, republished with permission of the author.

5 Comments

  • He was supposed to have died of aids, but even if they did kill him, so what? Arafat was nothing but a thieving, murderous muslim low-life.

  • Since he was a leader of a Terror Group, shud’ he not face the same consequence as any of his fighters – the prospect of death – for his role in the many killings of innocent civilians ?

  • Fredric M. London

    There was a cartoon when he died, which showed him talking to the devil. The devil says, “Well, you don’t look like 72 virgins to me either.”

  • Polonium was the same substance the Russians used to kill their rogue agent in London. The usual anti-Israel sociopaths should ask themselves (if they are indeed capable of any reflection at all) who might have a greater interest in a dead “icon”, Israel or Islamists? Given the marginalization of Mahmoud Abbas over the years, the answer is apparent as to who gained from his demise.

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    No they did not. He died of AIDS. End of story.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    JNS.org – Rugelach (singular: rugala) are a beloved traditional Jewish pastry, with a quirky history to boot, but they often present a kosher conundrum. Though parve rugelach are often a preferred dessert after a meat meal for those observing kosher laws (which stipulate a waiting period between eating meat and dairy), some of today’s most popular rugelach are known for their dairy fillings. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer—author of the books “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and […]

    Read more →