Marlowe's Shade

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Fiefdom of Lies

It seems like the PA officials are finally ready to end the charade of increasingly ludicrous reports on Arafat's condition.

A late-night report by Itim quoted senior Palestinian sources as saying that PLO Secretary General Mahmoud Abbas - the most senior Palestinian politician after Arafat - would announce in Ramallah this morning that Arafat had died. According to the report, Arafat was already dead last night, but the Palestinian leadership would make the official announcement only after Abbas returned to Ramallah from Paris, via Amman, overnight.

Even better news is that there are signs that they may have abandon plans to bury him on the Temple Mount.

Arafat's bureau director, Tayeb Abdul Rahim, indicated in Ramallah last night that the Palestinian leadership had decided to turn the Muqata into a mausoleum for Arafat, making it his final resting place until circumstances allow him to be buried in Jerusalem.

I'm still skeptical of the emerging leadership being qualitatively better than Arafat, but maybe there are those who want to return to happier times before the Al Aqsa Intifada.

Note the last line in this segment on the funeral arrangements:

Presumably, the large empty field used as a helicopter pad to lift Arafat out of Ramallah and fly him to Amman - where a flying hospital flew him to France last week - could serve the large gathering of mourners expected, including many foreign statesmen.

Followed by an ominous note

Among the foreigners anticipated for an Arafat funeral are Libya's Moammar Gaddafi and many other Arab leaders. However reports that the funeral is slated for Ramallah have some worried about security.

I think an orderly funeral will be a sign that there is effective leadership emerging in the PA. Whether it can be trusted to negotiate in good faith is another story. Before that could happen there would have to be a total break with Arafat's fiefdom of lies, corruption and violence. Hamas is still a wild card, and can be expected to make a power grab at some point. If the situation degenerates into chaos before the funeral is over, we can count on that power struggle to be long and bloody.
papijoe 7:11 AM