Perspective: Same Leopard, Same Spots

YASSER Arafat's very first victim was an Arab. The PLO terrorist chief was just 20 years old when he killed Rork Hamid, a Palestinian boy suspected of disloyalty. (Around that time another Arab youth, was castrated at Arafat's command after being sexually abused by him. He then committed suicide.)*

The subsequent revelation of Hamid's innocence meant nothing to Arafat. The killing had served him well, ensuring his acceptance as a serious contender for leadership of the Palestinian Arabs' campaign against Israel.

In the ensuing years, as he grew in "stature" in the eyes of his followers and supporters, this man was to order the murder and torture of tens of thousands of Arabs, Christians and Muslims. During his seven-year reign of terror in Lebanon alone, over 100,000 of that country's people were killed by his PLO, and its Christian community was devastated.

Pregnant women, school-children, tourists, travelers, journalists, diplomats, cinema-goers, office workers, human-rights workers, medical personnel, nuns and clerics--Yasser Arafat has brought death to people in almost every walk of life.

In a very real way then, he founded his ignoble career on innocent Arab blood. And it was with the shedding of blood that he was to build his movement for Palestinian Arab nationalism whose cause is today championed by the so-called freedom- and justice-loving nations of the world.

For just a few weeks in May and June though, it appeared as if a new groundswell of anti-Arafat opinion could stack some of that favour against him. In America, they were saying the PLO leader had finally blown it by refusing to denounce or reject a Nazi-style law making the sale of land to a Jew a capital offence. Shock and anger were expressed in Washington DC and Europe's capitals. It increased when Arab estate agents started to die brutal, extra-legal deaths, and Arafat tried to justify the murders. World the decision to implement the law. He refused, weathering the outrage with the sure knowledge that it would soon die out, and be forgotten. Needless to say, the expressions of anger have evaporated, and are now nowhere to be heard.

Even so, it is all rather perplexing. Why should it have shocked or even surprised anyone--even for a few days--when a man who has ordered and applauded the deaths of so many in his life does so once again?

And how blatantly he did it. First his minister of justice (now there's a laugh) warned that it would happen. And it's known that Arafat's underlings never do anything without the blessing of their boss.

Secondly, the word went out publicly that three Arab land dealers would be killed to demonstrate the sincerity of the Palestinian Authority's commitment, and to put fear in all realtors' hearts.

Thirdly, three estate agents were kidnapped and killed for selling land to Jews.

Arafat, it seems, can openly commit this kind of crime precisely because he knows he will get away with it. More than that, he knows from sweet experience that the murder of these men will help him achieve his goals.

Who can deny, after all, that he is well on the way to securing a Palestinian state because of the countless people he has had killed and maimed in the past?

Peace prizes don't convert people. By giving Arafat that award, the Nobel Committee and the international community told him very clearly that crime, terrorism, and murder does pay.

Small wonder, then, that he should continue in his ways.

Stan Goodenough

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