There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.
– Miracle Max, “The Princess Bride”
Yasser Arafat was poisoned in 20004 with polonium, a dangerous radioactive substance, a Swiss laboratory concluded and Al Jazeera reported this week. Arafat’s wife, Suha, literally went through his clothes and underwear to find loose change to prove her husband was poisoned. Now she has called on the Palestinian Authority to exhume her husband’s body from the mausoleum in Ramallah.
What is her motive? She told Al Jazeera she seeks to enhance Arafat’s “great legacy. [This will] glorify more his legacy, will get people to go more into his footsteps, not giving up the land….But his legacy…will be more and more as a great leader from our century, one of the great leaders of all the world. This will intensify this down-to-earth, lovable, humble person.”
Such a eulogy is surely expected from a wife who, according to some reports, absconded with hundreds of millions of dollars of aid money deposited in the Palestinian accounts to which she had signing powers.
But make no mistake. Yasser Arafat was a murderous, genocidal, diabolical, duplicitous sexual deviant who died at the age of 75. He was despised by Arab and Israeli alike. Syria’s Hafez Assad tried to jail him. King Hussein of Jordan once said of Arafat, “He never came to a bridge he didn’t double-cross.” And Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak considered him a cur.
On August 30, 1982, I stood on the roof of a warehouse in Beirut port in a forward IDF position and watched the evacuation of Arafat and his fighters. Firing volleys of victory “fantasia” rounds into the air, the terrorists drove past US Marine sentries protecting their departure. From our perch, meter-long camera lenses recorded every face, so it’s easy to believe the reports that Israeli snipers had Arafat in their cross-hairs. But Prime Minister Begin reportedly gave the order for the snipers to stand down. Over the years of intifadas and suicide bombings I often regretted his decision.
In the rogues gallery of the 21st Century, he certainly ranks with Osama Bin Laden for pure malevolence and blood thirst.
Lest we forget, the body lying in the elaborate Ramallah crypt belonged to an evil man who commanded brigades of terrorists that mowed down or blew up thousands of innocent civilians in Israel and across Europe. He ordered the murder of Israel’s Olympic athletes in 1972. In 1973, he gave the orders to execute three diplomats (two American, one Belgian) in Khartoum, Sudan. He ordered the massacres of Christians in Lebanon. He mocked the United Nations when he showed up with a pistol on his hip in 1974. He embraced Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian revolution in 1979. And he was behind the massive arms smuggling attempt on board the Karin A in 2002.
When it came to the peace process, he spoke with a venomous forked tongue, beguiling gullible Westerners with promises of peace while inciting jihad against the Jews in his Arabic declarations. His promises to cancel the genocidal “Palestinian Charter” were never carried out.
I was in the auditorium in Cairo in 1994 when Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin were supposed to sign the Oslo II Accords under President Hosni Mubarak’s sponsorship. Arafat pretended to put his signature on the document, but an observant Israeli team saw that he had faked it. “Ya kalb!” (“You dog”), Mubarak shouted, and he demanded that Arafat come back and sign.
Is this the legacy of a “great leader?” Or is this the next myth the Palestinian people want to perpetuate, along with the Nakba, the UNRWA-perpetuating tale of millions of refugees, and the denial of Jewish ties to Eretz Yisrael? (Arafat, after all, told President Bill Clinton that there never was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.)
Murder by poison is as legendary as it gets (Socrates, Napoleon, and Snow White come to mind), especially since polonium can only be produced in an advanced radioactive research center. Russia used the poison to kill a dissident six years ago.
Less romantic and mythical, however, is the more likely cause of Arafat’s death – AIDS.
Arafat’s sexual proclivities have been an open secret for years. The former head of Rumanian intelligence, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa , disclosed in his book “Red Horizons,” that one of his officers reported, “the ‘Fedayee’ [Arafat’s code name] is in his bedroom making love to his bodyguard. The one I knew was his latest lover. He’s playing tiger again. The officer monitoring his microphones connected me live with the bedroom, and the squawling almost broke my eardrums. Arafat was roaring like a tiger, and his lover yelping like a hyena.”
In an in-depth 1976 biography of Arafat, writer Thomas Kiernan chronicled the life of a young Arafat in Cairo. When Arafat discovered his girlfriend, Jinan al-Oraby, was friendly with the daughters of the Harkabis, an Egyptian Jewish family, he arranged for the murder of their father. When Jinan expressed sorrow for her friends, “Yasser went into a rage… he proceeded to beat me, tearing my clothes off…he threw himself on me… He tried to penetrate me, but he could not do so. This made him even more irrational.”
Kiernan also relates Arafat’s relationship with a boy, Ahmed, whose parents ended up on the Israeli side of the border after the 1948 war. An associate of Arafat’s related, “Yasser tried to get the boy to publicly denounce his parents…Yasser really loved the boy. He was delicate, sensitive, like a flower. He was very much a part of Yasser’s inner circle – four of five boys who lived in the same place, and well, you can imagine what I mean.”
Kiernan continued: Arafat held a “kind of formal hearing for the boy” because of his refusal to denounce his parents. “Arafat sobbed and sobbed as [a young associate] proceeded to castrate the boy. The next day the boy was dead.”
After Arafat’s death, his personal physician admitted in a TV interview that his patient died of AIDS.
Today, Suha Arafat and the Palestinian leadership are demanding an international tribunal to investigate Arafat’s death comparable to the tribunal established after the bombing death of Lebanon’s Rafik Hariri.
Their worship of Arafat as a hero and martyr reflects just how delusional Suha and some members of the Palestinian leadership have become.
The chemical element polonium was discovered and named by Marie Curie in honor of her country of origin, Poland. But perhaps it should be named for Polonius of “Hamlet” fame who could look at Suha’s attempt to lionize Arafat and warn, “Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.”