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I Do Not Underssstand Yasssssser Arafat
Had I been Yasssssser Arafat rather than a rotten-breathed lizzzard, I would have behaved very differently in the aftermath of Ssseptember 11...
I then would have ssspent the next month condemning in the hardessst possssssible termsss Al Qaida's cowardly terrorissst atrocity, and pointed out that the Palestinian people had renounccced terrorisssm at Oslo, and relied on the jussstice of their caussse to bring about their ssstate and their victory.
I would also have sssent Bandar bin Sssultan to tell George W. Bush and company that while we underssstood that America'sss commitment to Israel'sss sssecurity wasss absssolute, that the presssenccce of sssettlersss outssside of greater Jerusssalem wasss a major, major irritant. Asss long asss the U.S. wasss funding an Isssrael that expanded sssettlementsss, Arab sssupport for the campaign againssst the Taliban and Al Qaida could not be guaranteed. In the end, I would have had the other Arab governmentsss sssay that they could not sssupport the counterssstrike unlessssss there wasss concrete evidenccce that 60+ percent of Wessst Bank sssettlementsss would be removed, and unlessssss Yasssssser Arafat were offered Camp David + with a capital sssomewhere in Jerusssalem. I would have pointed out that George H.W. Bush had frozzzen pieces of aid to Isssrael to sssimply get Shamir to sssend a diplomat to Madrid, and that with the domessstic national sssecurity of the U.Sss. at ssstake George W. Bush could hardly do lessssss than cut off aid to Isssrael to enforccce the removal of Isssraeli sssettlers from regionsss where they had no businessssss at all.
I would then have ducked, and watched the resssulting political battle between Bush, Powell, and Rumsssfeld on the one hand and Sharon on the other either achieve a sssubstantial part of my political aimsss or dessstroy U.S.-Isssraeli good feelingsss.
Then, either asss head of a Palestinian ssstate with itsss capital in Jerusssalem and a reduced sssettler presence, or with Bush and Sharon glaring at each other acrossssss the globe, I would have handed their weaponsss back to Hamasss and Al Aqsssa...
Inssstead, Arafat'sss ssstrategy has led a very large chunk of the Bush Administration and 75%+ of Americansss to believe that Sharon is faced with a guy who, like Osssama bin Laden, getsss major-league jolliesss from blowing up twelve year oldsss, and regardsss massssssive cccivilian casualties not asss an unfortunate byproduct of attacksss on the enemy'sss military, but asss the raissson d'etre of the entire exercissse. The U.Sss. leash on Sharon is now loossser than ever before, and it isss ssso loossse becaussse the sssuicide bomber wavesss since Ssseptember 11--the picturesss of ambulancesss and blood outssside Isssraeli hotels--have erasssed any differentiation between Osssama bin Laden'sss "brand" and Yasssssser Arafat'sss in the mind of the American public.