ARAFAT, Yasser

A wealth of information about the founder of the PLO is found in the Wikipedia article about him. In this short entry, we want to point out something that is less well-known, but is an important illustration of the Muslim approach to honesty in politics (cf. LYING). It is taken from an earlier (May 2003) edition of the article, Converging Destinies: Jerusalem, Peace and the Messiah.

Deceitful Politicians Undermine Peace

Since 1948 most Arab nations have tried to destroy Israel in an ongoing "war of elimination and massive massacre" – the words of Azzam Pasha, then Secretary General of the Arab League. Arafat finally realised that the Palestinians were not winning the world’s sympathy with their bloody rhetoric of ‘destroying Israel’ so, in 1993, he cleverly accepted a ‘peace’ strategy for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

But it was not easy for Arafat to convince his fellow freedom fighters from Hamas and Islamic Jihad to join him in this new peacemaking venture with the ‘Zionist enemy’. He had to show his comrades in arms that this approach was actually a stepping-stone to achieving their goal of recapturing all of Palestine.

When Arafat was in the spotlight of world media he spoke of peace and acknowledged Israel’s right to exist but when speaking to Muslims it was a different story; "after this agreement," he said, "you have to understand our main battle is Jerusalem – ... it is not their capital. It is our capital ... This agreement, I am not considering it more than the agreement which had been signed between our prophet Mohammed and Quraish. But Muhammad accepted it and we are accepting now this peace offer ... Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all out war." (from a lecture by Arafat in a Johannesburg mosque, 10 May 1994).

How can Arafat speak of making a peace treaty and then promptly talk of ‘preparing for all out war’? You must realize that Muhammad took advantage of the treaty of Hudaybiyya to reopen hostilities at a more opportune time and ultimately gain victory over the Meccans. Using Muhammd's example as a precedent, the mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdel Aziz Bin-Baz, explained that "peace with Israel is permissible only on condition that it is a temporary truce, until the Muslims build up the strength needed to expel the Jews." (IMRA, March 2002) The mufti speaks of ‘expelling the Jews’ but Arafat bluntly calls for "the destruction of Israel".

Shortly after Oslo, he explained how he would accomplish this, "Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory we can of Palestine ... and use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel." (from an interview on Jordanian Television, as quoted in "The Threat Inherent in a Palestinian State" by Don Feder, Insight Magazine, 13 May 2003)

Arafat used similar words to encourage radical Muslim groups to cooperate with him. Arafat wrote to them in a letter dated 18 November 1994, "In order to obtain the goal of returning to Palestine, all of us sometimes have to grit our teeth but it is forbidden that this harm the continued struggle against the Zionist enemy. Cooperation between the PLO and the rejectionist organizations is what will lead to the ... establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem. Only a state like that, can continue the struggle to remove the enemy from all Palestinian lands." (quoted in "Unholy War: America, Israel and Radical Islam" by Randall Price)

Fifteen months later Arafat had not changed. Speaking in Stockholm to a group of Arab ambassadors he said, "We plan to eliminate the state of Israel ... We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem." (as reported to the Norwegian daily ‘Dagen’, 6 Feb. 1996).

Has Arafat changed since then? Since the latest intifada started organizations like Al Aqsa Brigade and Tanzim, under Arafat’s authority, have repeatedly claimed responsibility for killing Israeli civilians. Also, documents captured in Arafat’s head-quarters show his signature authorizing payment for arms and explosives for a variety of terrorist groups.

Arafat’s bloody intentions are seen in his repeated calls for "a million martyrs to march on Jerusalem". A Palestinian comrade responded to this call by blowing himself up along with 24 Israeli teenagers at the Dolphinarium disco in 2001. European leaders pressed Arafat to make a statement condemning the attack. Shortly afterwards Arafat wrote a letter to the bomber’s family praising him as a "martyr" and "a model of sacrifice".

With Jerusalem as his rallying cry, Arafat recently signed into ‘law’ a document claiming all Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Perhaps this was a way of countering Ariel Sharon’s declaration, "Jerusalem is the indivisible capital of Israel for all eternity." Opposing claims like these are fueling the conflict and hope for peace is virtually dead.

Deceitful Clerics Undermine Peace

As we move from the political arena to religion, the plot thickens. Mufti Ikrama Sabri, the leading religious figure in Palestine, sanctioned Arafat’s claim to Jerusalem, saying, "There is not the smallest indication of the evidence of a Jewish temple on this place in the past. In the whole city there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history." (in an interview in Jan. 2000 with the German paper Die Welt). Such blatant denials and lies have not gone unnoticed by other Muslim clerics.

Abdul Palazzi, Secretary General of the Italian Muslim Association (PhD. Al-Azhar University) noted, "The Palestinian Arabs deny that the Holy Temple ever stood on the Temple Mount. I was part of an international delegation that visited Israel in 2000. The Wakf took us to visit Al Aqsa. Right outside of the Dome of the Rock is a small chapel on the eastern side.

‘What is this place?’ I asked.
‘It is the place where Solomon stood to dedicate the Temple,’ was the reply.
‘Then why do you deny this?’ I asked.
With a smile I was told, ‘For political reasons.’"

Palazzi rejects these lies saying, "Imam Tabari wrote, ‘Lives of Prophets and Kings’. He described the life of King Solomon and the Temple he built. Anyone who denies this not only denies history, but denies Islamic sources." Such denials contradict a statement by the Supreme Muslim Council of Jerusalem (1930), The sanctity of the Temple Mount "dates from the earliest times. Its identity with the site of Solomon’s temple is beyond dispute."

Such blatant lies seem to evoke no shame. But there is something else just as detestable that many Muslim clerics are guilty of – poisoning the minds of Palestinians with teaching that implies genocide, "The Last Hour would not come til the Muslims fight against the Jews and the Muslims kill them until the Jews hide themselves, and the stones and trees would speak up saying, ... There is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him." (Sahih Muslim, Book 40, #6985)

If we do not understand the religious roots of Muslim hatred against Jews and Arafat’s deceitful schemes we will have unrealistic expectations about new peace initiatives. Generations of Palestinians have been fed on propaganda denying the legitimacy of the state of Israel and glorifying martyrdom. It is not surprising, therefore, that a clear majority of Palestinians continue to support suicide bombers and about 50% believe the goal should be the "total liberation of Palestine", i.e. the elimination of Israel. For nearly 10 years P.A. leaders have falsely promised to prohibit schools and the media from allowing inciting statements to be made against Jews. As a result a deep rooted bitterness has infected many Palestinians. Arafat’s heart has not changed and, unfortunately, neither have the attitudes of his people.

As for Abu Mazen, the new Palestinian Prime Minister, recently said, "the intifada must continue ... It is the right of the Palestinian people to rise and use all the means at their disposal." Also, it does not bode well, that Abu Mazen offered two cabinet positions in his government to the terrorist group Hamas. The fact that he made this offer calls into serious question his commitment to root out terrorism. In spite of all the faults with the Palestinians, they are not the only ones hindering peace – the Jews also share responsibility. ...

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