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November 11, 2009
Remembering the legacy of late PLO Chairman Arafat

Yasser Arafat with Kofi Annan at the 2001 World Economic Forum. Photo: Flickr user WorldEconomicForum

Palestinians marked the fifth anniversary of the death of PLO leader Yasser Arafat today, as deep uncertainty hovers over the future of the peace process with Israel.

In the West Bank, thousands held a rally to honor Arafat. Meanwhile, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who has declared his intention not to run again, said resuming negotiations depends on Israel changing its position on settlements.

Five years after Arafat’s death, why isn’t there peace in the Middle East?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please remember to be respectful and on-point in your comments. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted and repeat offenders will be banned.

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There has been a war tradition that the winner not only gets to write the history, they get to keep the land they’ve conquered. As I remember it, a outnumbered Israel was attacked by the Arabs for no other reason that they had come into existence – the Arabs LOST! OK, Israel improves it borders & should have proven its right to exist. Didn’t happen. Israel & Egypt make a deal that both have honored for years to their mutual advantage. Carter works at brokering a deal between Israel & Arafat – Arafat WALKS AWAY after Israel puts EVERYTHING & more on the table!

Fast forward. I wish Israel didn’t do the things it does but I can’t think of anything else for them to do.



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Thanks Boris#37. I wasn’t sure anybody else read these things.


Reading the preceding comments reveals extreme polarization over this issue here in the U.S. Taken to the scene, one must realize that there is no solution.

My own take is that the U.S. perceives the need for an ally with a powerful military and nuclear capability as a threat to the Arabian Oil Regimes. (Most likely U.S. nuclear arms are in place or at least the U.S. supplied armaments are capable of delivering them) This one fact alone means that the U.S. will, at a minimum, tacitly support Israeli policy.
Religious issues, as referred to above also lead me to believe there is no solution. Religion by definition is to believe without any proof. Muslim, Jewish & Christian religions all believe that ‘their’ god is the only god and that killing for their god is moral. Also, all 3 claim Jerusalem as Holy Land. If you try to argue any point with a religious person they will counter that the devil is speaking through you. There is no solution either religiously or politically


To dj #16, Michael #18, Peter #28, frank #29: Have you ever heard about CAIR: American Islam Center, its located right next to Congress in Washington. You should advise them how to compete with AIPAC. May be Saudi Arabia sending them not enough money ”to run and operate congress”??


There is no peace because no one in the middle east is truly interested in peace. There is grave mis trust on each side and rightfully so. Outside powers are not truly interested in peace in the middle east. If Israel and the Arabs were truly interested in peace they would work towards peace. Arabs are interest in a militant solution and Israel continues to develop settlements in the occupied lands. Having said this and being of the Christian faith, we as Christians believe that there will “never” be peace until the end of time as we know it. Jim @ USA


The Arab-Israeli conflict is still unresolved primarily because one side has always been asserting permanent sovereignty claims.


The Arab-Israeli conflict is still unresolved primarily because Arabs assert permanent sovereignty claims.


Peace won’t come unless Arabs/Muslims give up this flawed notion that only they are entitled to sovereign rights in the region.


The Arab-Israeli conflict is still unresolved primarily because [ certain] Muslims assert permanent sovereignty claims. Their core reasoning can be summarized this way: once Muslim, must remain forever Muslim. Such rigid reasoning leaves no room for comprise. Peace won’t come unless [ certain] Arabs/Muslims give up this flawed notion that only they are entitled to sovereign rights in the region.


WorldFocus staff,

It is no longer possible to post comments. This is unacceptable no matter how you slice it. Let folks express themselves.


The Arab-Israeli conflict is still unresolved primarily because Muslims assert permanent sovereignty claims. Their core reasoning can be summarized this way: once Muslim, must remain forever Muslim. Such rigid reasoning leaves no room for comprise. Peace won’t come unless the Arabs/Muslims give up this flawed notion that only they are entitled to sovereign rights in the region.


The Brezhnev Doctrine claimed the USSR had the right to invade any satellite country to preserve socialism there. Once socialist, always socialist or so it went till 1989.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is still unresolved primarily because Muslims assert similar territorial claims. Their core reasoning can be summarized this way: once Muslim, must remain forever Muslim. Such rigid reasoning leaves no room for comprise. Peace will come if and when the Arabs/Muslims give up this flawed notion that only they are entitled to sovereign rights in the Mideast.


There can not be a just settlement in the Middle East, because the three religions involved can not clearly verbalize the moral issue: [It is wrong for a nation to invade another. Under such circumstances, Israel should be disarmed]. Moslems would also have to agree that their invasions of India and Spain (for example) were immoral acts. Religion can never be clear on cardinal human values. There can not be a just settlement for the Palestinians, because one religion invades them and another religion fails to protect by failing verbalize to the world community exactly why it is immoral. They can only complain and fight back.


There will be peace in the middle east some day, but it will not be brought about by any man.


Arafat was not a major player,just a trouble maker and a murdering terrorist who brought misery to the World,and he was a deceitful rat.


While it is very difficult, people have to view this as how to solve the situation that exists today, treat people the way that they would themselves want to be treated, and not look backward. There are Jewish people (of Palestinian, as well as European ethnic backgrounds) living in Israel and the West Bank who were born there and did not create today’s situation. They deserve peace, prosperity, and security. There are also Muslim and Christian Palestinians (i.e. people who, or whose immediate ancestors, are from the region now referred to as Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank) who live in the same areas and also deserve peace, prosperity and security. It doesn’t pay to point fingers and say, “well, these people’s parents cheered when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel,” or “well, the West created a Jewish state by partitioning a country against the will of the majority of its inhabitants, who were Muslim.” We are where we are today and we need to be pragmatic about what environment will create peace. As of today the nonJewish Palestinians in many of these areas are impoverished and are discriminated against with respect to jobs, housing, and the ability to have relatives (or others of their religion) immigrate. We in the U.S. have recent experience with the fact that people (in our case, blacks) who are impoverished, discriminated against and/or treated as second class citizens (or worse) will become violent (1960s U.S.A.). It is the natural course. In fact, how many of us, if we were born in the horrible prison/slum known as Gaza, can honestly say that we would behave as model citizens? Massive financial aid from the West helped and continues to help the Jewish people who immigrated from Europe to Israel become successful in their new environment. Massive financial aid from the West needs to be given on a similar scale to the nonJewish people who are from the same region. If even half of the $9 billion plus per year that the U.S. currently spends on Israel (which should be self sufficient by now) were dedicated to a Marshall Plan for the nonJewish Palestinians, we would be moving toward long term peace and security for the entire region. We need to stop fantasizing about “Arabs” providing for their “Arab brethern” (and by Arab, I assume people are referring to Muslims from the Middle East). If one believes that it is the sole responsibility of people of a particular religion to help others of that religion, then the U.S., a majority of whose inhabitants are Christian (or other non-Jewish religions) should not be providing aid to a Jewish state. Moreover, we need to remember that the Palestinian Muslims and Christians are not from Egypt or Saudi Arabia or other “Arab” countries. Palestinian Muslims and Christians (or their immediate ancestors) are from Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. Finally, housing (including all settlements)needs to be provided on a nondiscriminatory basis and needs to be integrated. In America, we have experience with the fact that “separate but equal in inherently unequal.” Although it may take a generation or more, people who live together end up eventually getting along pretty well. I have personally seen massive improvements in religious and racial relations in the U.S. in my lifetime, and the same can occur in the Middle East, but there does need to be equanimity. The time for massive investment is now, whether or not there is infrastructure for a separate state. If we start to alleviate the suffering and the separation, we will start on the road to alleviating the violence.


There will be no peace in the Middle East specifically between Israel and Palestine because the terrorists wanted to keep the flames of hatred keep burning against the Jews and the Americans.

Peace in the region will weaken the cause of the radical Muslims to make Middle East inot a Theocratic Government.


As long as AIPAC dictates US foreign policy and the American taxpayer picks up the tab for the Israeli occupation, Israel will have no motivation to compromise. No compromise; no peace.


The root of the problem is policy of the USA that blidly support Israel. Every year about 3 billion dollars are quietly sent to Israel. When Bush tried to stop payments, pressuring Israel to freeze settlements, his goverment got paralized by juish lobby. Hopefully, Obama’s goverment will be more successful.


Want peace? Then recognize the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab lands, as equal to the Arab refugees.

Accept resettlement of Arab refugees in the West Bank – not in pre 1967 Israel as Mahmoud Abbas demands.

Accept that Israel uplifted all the Jewish refugees from Arab lands, and the Arab world could do the same for its own.

Accept Israel as a Jewish state, alongside a Palestinian state.


If the Arab world wanted peace and a two-state solution, they could have had it in 1948, 1967, 2001, and last year. They don’t want a solution. They need the conflict to be kept alive.


to dj: #16 and #17:

The influence of Arab lobbies is never mentioned. The Arab world has a stranglehold over much of the United Nations, and related international bodies.

The Arab League has huge influence in the oil companies.

The Arab regimes, especially Saudi Arabia, pump huge amounts of money to set up institutes in US universities that act as Arab lobby groups.

Jimmy Carter’s Carter Center is funded largely by Arab money.

Finally, the Saudi have always had a direct line to the White House – watch how even President Bush always deferred to Prince Bandar.


Boris have you red anything in the last year other than that sentence


To those who talk of AIPAC: their influence is nothing compared to Arab influence in the oil companies, in the UN.

The Saudi ambassadors always had a direct line to the White House. President Carter boasted of shooting grouse many times with the Saudi envoy. Even President Bush kept deferring to him.

The power of Arab lobbies, especially in the UN, is never mentioned


America has always pressured Israel for territorial concessions. Yet “land for peace” has only encouraged Arab extremists, and brought nmore rocket attacks.

It is time for a new strategy – demanding that every Israeli concession be matched by a concret Arab concession.


The Arab regimes don’t want peace. They need the Arab-Israeli conflict as a distraction from their own failures, and their own totalitarian rule.

No chance of peace before Arab reform.


The Palestinians and Arab world have not made a single compromise – even as Israel handed over Gaza and parts of the West Bank.

They still see the “peace process” as a means to destroy Israel step by step through political means, after the failure of all their wars.

Until the Arabs change their attitudes, there never will be peace.


The problem is all the money the Israili’s funnel to U.S. politicians, making America a puppet of Israeli. This makes Israel to strong for it’s own good.


Israel receives many billions of dollars from the US, EU, and individuals that is motivated in no small part by Israel’s need to defend itself from the Palestinians and other Arab countries. To commit to peace with Palestine would mean the loss of a good deal of this annual stipend. In addition, no one is stopping them from stealing Palestinian land. There are those that make feeble groanings but no one stops them. So, lots of money and free land is a very good reason for never achieving peace. I believe that Israel has a right to exist and be secure. But, I am embarrassed by the land grabbing and abuse fostered on the Palestinians. This is unquestionably immoral and should never be supported by any government or people. Why is it allowed to go on like this? In part, it is because the US is a Jewish controlled state and fears the potential backlash from its powerful Jewish population and being seen as anti-Semitic. The same may be true of the EU. All these things aside, it’s pathetic for such intelligent and dignified people as the Israelis to behave in this manner.


The most popular agenda of the ‘Two State Solution’ is totally impractical. Physically, there is a logistical dilemma of how two separate territories (Gaza and the West Bank) can function as a single State and yet still dependent on the State of Israel. That solution is a joke, which is like calling a Native American Reservation an Independent state or a Tribal homeland in South Africa as an independent state. Those two examples are just from recent history; however the Israeli – Palestinian issue has a precedent from Ancient history. Israel and Palestine should be one nation integrated and shared equally. They both Palestinians and Israelis should be equally represented in a coalition government. In this way the both have a stake in preserving the peace and well being of the nation. All Palestinians should have a right of Return and all Israelis should have a right to settle where ever they want by legal means. Let them all be citizens of one nation, with equal rights.


I have just returned from Palestine/Israel this past Sunday and ethnic cleansing and apartheid practiced by Israel is alive and well. The current Israeli government of Netanyahu like many in the past does not want peace. Israelis want to confiscate what little land remains in the West Bank inhabitted by Palestinians. The settlements continue to grow, homes continue to be demolished and Palestinian communities continue to be divided by the wall, fences and Israelis highways all under the protection of the IDF. The goal of zionism hasn’t changed; get more/all the land. From Ben-Gurion to Sharon to Netanyahu this has been the publically espoused mantra of the zionist/Israeli Government.the only country that can change the dynamics in the M.E. is the U.S. and it is too influenced by AIPAC to challenge Israeli policy. Therefore, no peace or two state solution in the near future.


Until the U.S. taxpayer stops giving Israel Billions of dollars every year and more Billions in military weapons there will be no peace in the middle east. Arafat was totally underminded by the U.S. and the EU.


It’s popular to say that the middle east issue is complicated, and that is somewhat true, but much of the problem would be resolved by Israel finally having the national courage, cultural intelligence, and humanity to end its unlawful occupation of the Palestinian territories. They made one of the great mistakes of world history when they stole their neighbor’s land, for no reason other than the folk tales in their bible telling them that some god somewhere gave them land they did not deserve. David Ben-Gurion, the great grandfather of Israel, spoke out against the stealing of the arab land; so did the directors of Mossad. Now the zany Netanyahu, propped up by the puppets in the Knesset who represent the fanatics in the settlements, seems determined to defeat the peace process by demanding land he does not deserve and part of a city which does not belong to him or his country. The US should stop funding Israel’s awful behavior. The Arab League is willing to work with a sensible Israel, should one ever come to pass.

Jerusalem should be declared an Open City, and does not need to belong to anyone; it is one of the historically great cities of the world.

And Israel, finally, will have to ditch the stupid idea of a Jewish Theocratic State since only a minority of its citizens are jews. Most of the arab world will live at peace with Israel once it stops demanding that its neighbors accede to its tiresome preconditions, which are all grounded in falsehoods and delusion.


Peace will not come to the Middle East as long as the US congress is run and operated by AIPAC.


Peace will not come to the middle east as long as US congress is run and operated by AIPAC.


To Robert #9, vijay #10, robin #12: All of you should learn the History: Arab stole territory of 16 million sq. km and conquer N. Africa, Egypt and Middle East.


Arafat gave much and still the Israeli’s continue their apartheid practices. Peace will not come until the Palestinians are free and have the land that belongs to them – before the 1967 occupation. It is absolutely shameful what the Israeli’s are doing in the name of security and with the help of the US taxpayer. If security is so important to them why are they building settlements right in the middle of where they say the enemy is? It is not about security at all – it is about land and resources and Israel wants it all.


What idiot came up with this question? There is no logical connection between the death of uglyboy and making peace. That due to the fact that the entire Arab population has been propagandized for decades to believe as fact many big lies of those who want only destruction. The Arabs (there is no such thing as a “Palestinian”) were given a state in 1948 which they abandoned with the hope of mass murder rather than building a civilization. Their downtrodden situation is self-inflicted. Peace will only come when the Arabs accept the Zionist state as providential fact which is to their benefit when they all choose cooperation over conflict. And good luck getting to that day.


i do not see any hope for the peace process in the current conditions.


Israel will not be satisfied until all of Palestine is theirs . That is why they will not nrgotiate in good faith . Since the famous Oslo agreement they have continued to steal more Arab land despite UN condemnation but the US continues to back them . The atrocities in Gaza recently would have condemned if it was the other way round . Even when a Zionist report criticises Israel it is not accepted .


Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. Even Fatah cannot negotiate with Hamas. Their agenda requires the return of Palistinian refugees to Israel, which, rightfully, will never be accepted by the Israelis.


because the zionist want to steal all the land.


Israel has a policy that has been backed for the past 61 years of blocking evry attempt at their obeying the findings of international law and UN Sanctions by using American vetoes. The West Bank building is gong to continue until it is a fact accomplished and thaey have stated that intent.The US has to demand that Israel remove the so called settlers, take doen the walls and to share the resources of the area.The US has vetoed hundreds of UN Sanctions against the actions of Israel in their treatment of fellow humann beings, Christian and Muslim Arabs. National Geographic has had three issues that carried unfavorable articles of mal treatment to the indigenous peoples.


arafat was great, yet was not given his due in history as a proponent of peace in the middle east, his tollerance was equal to gods grace, yet the future will reveal that israel and american jews will never be other than preditors od jentiles and userpers of humanity !


I believe that the The US gov’ts.Israeli policy has been detrimental to the peace process.The continued building of Jewish settlements is a constant threatto Palestinians and must cease.


Palestinians and Arabs in general do not have a forward thinking mantality. They draw on dark age events to rule their lives.
In modern times, Anwar Sadat took the incredibly bold step to attempt a future with Israel. His people saw to it that this would not take place.
That, speaks volumes for relationships in the Middle East.


Too many Israelis (and their supporters in our own country) would rather see military occupation for ever rather than a Palestinian state free of Jewish settlers. Israel, with our support, has enough power to contain unrest and the occasional suicides. The plight of the Palestinians is not foremost on their radar screens or of concern to their moral values.


Peace starts with total acceptance of the right of the Jewish state to exist in peace.


Now there is an easy question………the Palestinians will accept nothing less than the total removal of Jews from the Middle East. The death of Arafat has nothing to do with that goal.


Although I was very slow in coming to this conclusion it has now become obvious to me that Israel never has had any intention of permitting an Arab state to exist side by side with it. The Arabs have fallen into the Israeli plans as if puppets on a string. The Arab war cry of the 1948-49 War, “Push the Jews into the Sea” was perfect. The best paid Jewish ad agency could not have done better.

I imagine the Jews were as surprised as anyone in the world with Moshe Dyan’s easy conquests in 1967. That bold stroke finalized the Jewish plan. In one masterful stroke they had knocked the Egyptians out of Gaza – of no value – and the Sinai – there was oil there. The “useful” Jordanians were easily pushed out of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The harassing Syrians were likewise thrown out of Golan.

It only remained for the Israeli to make life so miserable, so hopeless and so intolerable for the surviving Arabs that ultimately they will all move elsewhere or die from lack of food, medical care, and education that is a necessary perquisite to opportunity.

This Israeli have learned how to “coach” always eager and ill informed Americans with constant “negotiations” with non-representative Arabs. The Israeli, by allowing the Hamas to smuggle enough bottle rockets into Gaza to harass nearby Israeli have kept the Americans in their corner. We are now in the END game. When there are NO Arabs in sight in the land given to the Jews by GOD himself, the game is over. Let us quit wasting our time on this. The Middle East is not the Center of the Universe as the Jewish lobby has convinced our Government. We have better chickens to fry, so let’s move on!


If the structure is artificial the Whole
will lack soundness.
Peace lacks, fractionally: any structure that may be perused from any genuine Whole as that Whole
may be perceived by the World’s internal Focus
though the outer conciousnesses of the Many
may fragment what is perceived artificially despite the constant seeking for a model which
will represent the Whole…genuinely.


The Palestinian people were ill served by Arafat. He was such a bumbler that some thought he was a Mossad agent. He should have retired decades ago on the money he stole from his people. Ergo, peace delayed. Now we have right-wing Israeli extremists in power. What a mess!

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