Mr. Arafat, take the camel and ride
Yassir Arafat had a dream (actually, a nightmare) in which he went to rent a camel. But the owner of the camel stable was the infamous Mr. Hobson who, choosing from his stable of lame camels, selected for Mr. Arafat the lame camel closest to the stable door.
In real life, Mr. Arafat faces a number of Hobson’s choices. If he claims that he cannot control the suicide and other bombers residing within the Palestinian Authority of which he is the duly elected head, Mr. Arafat proves himself to be irrelevant to the so-called peace process.
If he actually clamps down on the anti-Israeli terrorists in his midst and the terrorists actually stop their attacks on Jews, the world has a right to ask: Mr. Arafat, why didn’t you stop these terrorist attacks before when you promised you would?
So, is Arafat a weak, ineffectual leader with no power to control the violent elements in his society? Or, is he a liar and a cheat who could have stopped this violence all along?
But wait. There’s a third aspect to all this. It goes back to Abraham. If only Abraham and Sarah could have produced Isaac first, then Sarah would not have suggested to Abraham that he use the Egyptian servant, Hagar, to produce an heir to whom they gave the name: Ishmael. But then, God (Allah) gave Sarah the ability, at age 99, to give birth to Isaac The two brothers went their separate ways and produced two different religions: Judaism and Islam.
This creates another Hobson’s choice for Mr. Arafat. Does he blame Abraham or Allah or both? None of those choices would go down very well in the Muslim world.
Or, he could blame Lord Balfour who, in a 1917 letter to Lord Rothchild, declared the support of Great Britain for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
Or, he could blame the United Nations for partitioning Palestine between Arab and Jews. Many Arabs objected to the partition. They tried to flee into neighboring Arab states rather than live within the new nation of Israel.
Or, maybe Mr. Arafat should blame the neighboring Arab states for refusing to give asylum to their Arab brothers and sisters and causing them to live in the running political sore and refugee camp known as The Gaza Strip.
Or, he could blame the neighboring Arab states for their military failures when they attacked Israel and tried to destroy it and its people in 1948, 1967 and 1973. If only they had killed all the Jews, Mr. Arafat would not be faced with his current problems.
But what about the so-called peace accords the Israelis were pressured into agreeing to by Bill Clinton in his pursuit of the Nobel Peace Prize? Mr. Arafat rejected those proposals, which made no military sense for the Israelis because they mandated the abandonment of key Israeli defensive terrain such as the Golan Heights and would have reduced Israel to being only nine miles wide at one point. Why is that?
If someone hands you a clear diplomatic victory that assures the establishment of a secure Palestinian state, why wouldn’t you accept it? Because those agreements did not address the terrorists’ true objectives which are: (drum roll) the extermination of the Jews and the destruction of Israel.
But wait. Blame Israel’s prosperity on us. After all, we exported the knowledge of our great system of agricultural and mechanical colleges into Israeli. Using modern American methods of irrigation, fertilization and crop selection, the Jews made the desert bloom.
We and the Israelis -- using those dastardly systems known as capitalism and democracy -- conspired to bring to the world stunning advances in medical science, physics, communications, food production, computers and commercial aircraft design.
Finally, out of excuses, Mr. Arafat may have to take Mr. Hobson’s camel and ride off into the desert.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and commentator for USA Today, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy by William Penn – a novel about terrorism in America.
©2001. William Hamilton.