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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    “Girls” creator Lena Dunham responded on Tuesday to charges of antisemitism over an article she had penned for the New Yorker, saying it was all in good humor. Speaking to Variety, Dunham reflected on her “tight-knit Jewish family, where Jew jokes were part of the essential fiber of our communication.” The article Dunham referred to was called “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz,” with options such as “He doesn’t Tip” and “He’s Crazy for Cream Cheese.” Among Dunham’s critics, Anti-Defamation [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Retired NBA player Keyon Dooling tweeted a link on Wednesday to a wildly antisemitic article that accuses Jews of seizing control of the world’s media and using it to promote their own interests. The article, published by an obscure blog in April 2013, highlights six companies it claims are owned by Jews — such as Time Warner, Inc. and the Walt Disney Company – that allegedly “control 96 percent of the world’s media.”  The post includes allegations of “Jewish control” and says [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz responded to an outcry from Jewish fans on Tuesday, saying he will go ahead and play in the season opener despite the fact that it falls on the first night of Rosh Hashanah. “Keep getting tweets about that being the first night of Rosh Hashanah… Don’t know what I’m supposed to tell you. It’s a tough break,” the Jewish athlete wrote, referring to the Giants’ on-the-road game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Sept. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    JNS.org – When David Blatt was hired as head coach of the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers last June, he was not often recognized when he walked the streets of downtown Cleveland. What a difference a year makes. Now, Blatt can go few places without being recognized. For good reason. The Jewish coach has the Cavaliers in the mix to win the city of Cleveland’s first championship in a major sport since the Browns won the National Football League title in [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    A Hebrew tattoo sported by Croatian soccer star Mario Mandzukic became an internet sensation in Israel after it was exposed on Tuesday during a Champions League match between Ateltico Madrid and Real Madrid A first glance, the tattoo, on the athlete’s back, might leave one with the impression that it was an unfortunate artistic mistake, since the Hebrew letters do not make sense as they are written. However, a closer look at the tattoo shows that it was actually written [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    For the past two years, I have served as Opinion Editor at The Algemeiner. I’m perhaps most proud of the paper’s commitment to publishing diverse and opposing viewpoints on the controversial issues of the day. We pride ourselves on voicing different opinions because we know that most issues are not black and white, and because our community is better served by a public debate. In my life outside of the paper, I am a professional actor and playwright. And similarly, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    JNS.org – “Risk: The Game of Strategic Conquest,” the classic Parker Brothers board game, requires imperial ambitions. Players imagine empires and are pitted against each other, vying for world domination. Amid this fictional world war, beginners learn fast that no matter the superiority of their army, every advance is a gamble determined by a roll of the dice. After a defeat, a player must retreat. Weighted reinforcement cards provide the only opportunity to reverse a player’s fortunes and resume the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Sports Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    JNS.org – For Daphna Krupp, her daily workout (excluding Shabbat) at the Jewish Community Center (JCC or “J”) of Greater Baltimore has become somewhat of a ritual. She not only attends fitness classes but also engages with the instructors and plugs the J’s social programs on her personal Facebook page. “It’s the gym and the environment,” says Krupp. “It’s a great social network.” Krupp, who lives in Pikesville, Md., is one of an estimated 1 million American Jewish members of more [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.