English translation by Nidra Poller with the express permission of Metula News
What should be done with the undesirable tenant of the Mouquat’a? Tsahal and the Israeli secret services agree on the aim but disagree on the method. Mofaz wants to send Arafat into forced exile (most likely in Egypt or a North African country). The Kehilat ha-modin [secret services, in Hebrew in the text] are pushing for a domestic solution: total exile in Ramallah or
elsewhere as long as it’s in Israeli-controlled territory. The Kehilat ha-modin argues—and I agree—that Arafat unleashed, free to gallivant around Arab and European countries, will be even more dangerous than he is today. He’ll be wearing a martyr’s halo and, what’s worse, he’ll terrorize all Palestinians in the territories who want to make peace with Israel. Banishment will give him a relative legitimacy to command his armed groups and he won’t hesitate to push them into a new wave of unprecedented terrorism.
Instead of sending Arafat into exile, which would be a big mistake, the Israelis should cut him off from all contact with the outside world, including Palestinian politicians. It would go down better with the international community and could be easily implemented: just confiscate a few cell phones and make one single building completely watertight.
One thing is sure, Arafat is not only killing the peace, he is destroying the Palestinian people. Readers who may have thought I was exaggerating when I called him the undertaker of the Palestinian people—thinking perhaps that I was too friendly with my Metula News Agency colleagues—should meditate on the incident that occurred during the September 11, 2003, meeting at the Mouqata’a:
The discussion was focused on the eventual prerogatives of Abou Ala’s cabinet as compared to the fallen Abbas government. Arafat explained that he intended to keep a tight hand on security and negotiations with Israel (even though he’d gotten his marionette Nabil Shaath appointed as minister for Foreign Affairs.)
Security and negotiations would be controlled through a National Security Council refurbished by Arafat to serve his new needs, with Arafat as self-proclaimed president, exercising the absolute power that goes with the job.
That’s when the discussion started to get nasty. A future minister asked Arafat point blank what was the use of ministers if he intended keep all the power for himself? Another snapped at him: aside from those two key posts, what is the new government going to do? Bear the brunt of the people’s impatience and American and Israeli rage?
That’s when Arafat-appointed interior security minister Nasser Youssouf snarled in a near whisper but visibly furious, “In fact you don’t want us to ever make peace, you want us to talk about peace in public to hide the pursuit ad aeternam of your war, you want to get us all killed down to the
last man!” Arafat went into a rage. Trembling from head to toe, he shoved Youssouf and spat in his face. In front of everyone. Youssouf stormed out. On his way to the door he turned and shouted at Arafat: “All the revolutions in this world have succeeded. The only one that’s going to fail is the Palestinian revolution and it’s all your fault!”
Today, both Dahlan and Youssouf refused to take part in the meeting called by Arafat to deal with security problems.
Quite a few of us Palestinian intellectuals and politicians realize today that the Rais has lost his mind. What did he have against Mahmoud Abbas? What did Abbas do wrong in trying to lead the Palestinian people to peace and survival? Why did Arafat refuse to give the Palestinian government control of the armed forces? And today, having replaced the men he didn’t want with others that he chose himself one by one, why does he persist in this refusal? Why won’t he let the government crack down on the Islamist terrorists when this is an integral element of the Road Map he read and ratified, and all Palestinians know that unless the terrorists are disarmed there will be no negotiated settlement of this war? And why did Arafat order the terrorist attack in Ariel just when the Israelis were going to liberate four important Palestinian cities? What was wrong with regaining autonomy in Bethlehem and the northern Gaza strip? Why did it bother him?
Too many questions…and the answers, already known, show that the founder of the Fatah is a dangerous uncontrollable element who is placing us in danger of total self-destruction, both political and structural. And that is the sole unique reason why I, as a Palestinian nationalist aspiring to live in harmony with our adversaries of today in a Palestinian state established on the 1967 borders, think it is time to get rid of Arafat.
And I am convinced that the destitution of Arafat, just like the neutralization of terrorist movements, should be done by Arab and not by Israeli hands. All the more in that these are symbolic acts, a demonstration of political maturity. If the Jews have to clean house for us it will be a long time again before we are emancipated; if we take our destiny in hand we can make and respect a non-belligerence treaty within two or three months.
And don’t forget, Abbas, Abou Ala, Ashraoui, Dahlan, Rajoub, Nusseibah and many others authentically favor a two-state solution. They have made a clear pragmatic choice that could lead to serious negotiations.
I rarely get involved in questions of psychological symbolism, ordinarily treated by my Mena colleague [Gérard] Huber, because it’s not really my specialty. But on this point I don’t mind saying that the father of the contemporary Palestinian revolution has gone mad and is destroying his work; so we have to envisage killing the father if we don’t want to die with him.
That is what several of my friends have been thinking these last few days…carefully weighing all the political and ethical questions involved. Let’s be frank: the Jews are asking themselves what kind of exile would be best for Arafat, but for us it’s a question of how to overthrow him…by making an uprising, a revolution, a putsch, with the inherent risk of using brute force if he tried to resist.
Anyway this is what people are talking about when they come out of the Mouqata’a.