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Arafat's corruption costly



Published: Wed, August 10, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Dallas Morning News: This coming Sunday, the formal stage of Israel's withdrawal from its Gaza Strip settlements will begin, giving the Palestinian people another opportunity to create the closest thing to a viable state they've had since Yasser Arafat green-lighted the second intifada in 2000, botching the Oslo Accords.

Coming events in Gaza should be seen in the harsh light of "How Arafat Destroyed Palestine," the extraordinary cover story in the current Atlantic Monthly, which details the late Palestinian strongman's catastrophic misrule.

Arafat was a squalid hustler and master manipulator who sacrificed his people for power and self-glorification. That's not news. What's most remarkable about the story is that the accusations against Arafat are now being made not by his enemies, but by his friends.

Use of terrorism

A top deputy confesses that even into his later years, Arafat orchestrated the strategic use of terrorism, including planning in advance the disastrous "al-Aqsa intifada" that destroyed Oslo. Even worse, Arafat and his cronies stole billions in foreign aid meant to help the people.

Gaza is a poor, miserable and severely overcrowded sandbar of despond, seething with rage. Yet when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visits, he stays at a luxury villa Arafat built on land set aside for a public park. One would be hard-pressed to find a more apt symbol of Arafat's legacy to the Gazans than that complex.




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