Yasser Arafat, who was celebrated by much of the world as a visionary leader and statesman for the Palestinian people, had one vision: destroy the Jewish state of Israel and replace it with a Palestinian one. As his wife, Suha Arafat, confirmed in an interview with Dubai TV, the murderous September 2000 intifada that was supposedly triggered spontaneously by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s walking on the Temple Mount had been planned by Arafat all along. She said:
Yasser Arafat had made a decision to launch the intifada. Immediately after the failure of the Camp David [negotiations], I met him in Paris upon his return. … Camp David has failed, and he said to me: 'You should remain in Paris.' I asked him why, and he said: 'Because I am going to start an intifada. They want me to betray the Palestinian cause. They want me to give up on our principles, and I will not do so.'
This, of course, flies in the face of the generally accepted version of what happened, where the Palestinians managed to convince the world that their bloody attacks were a spontaneous reaction. Sound like Benghazi to anyone?
Two months before he triggered the intifada, in July of 2000, Arafat was given the chance from then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to obtain 97% of Judea and Samaria (what others call the West Bank), all of the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, and he rejected it. Even the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, supposedly told Arafat that his “rejection” was a criminal act against his own people.
If the Palestinians ever wanted real peace with Israel and not its destruction, and elected leaders who believed that, too, there could be a genuine peace. But as this story about Arafat reminds us again, there has never been a desire for coexistence from the Palestinian people; even with “free” elections, they have never chosen leaders interested in peace.