Arafat’s corruption still stands
Arab News (Saudi Arabia)
It’s been 15 years since Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died, said Ramzy Baroud, and while most Palestinians revere his memory, they are living today with the consequences of his undemocratic behavior. Arafat was effectively an autocrat. Had the people been consulted, there would have been no Oslo Accords. Arafat would not have been allowed to endorse Israel’s right to exist or to establish the unwieldy Palestinian Authority. Heralded by some as a pathway to a Palestinian nation, the accords instead left Palestinians geographically divided between the West Bank and Gaza, surrounded by the Israeli military, and unable to prevent Israel from building ever more settlements on their land. Now Palestinians are “as much trapped in a political maze of unfulfilled agreements and broken promises as they are imprisoned behind Israeli walls, fences, and checkpoints.” Meanwhile, corruption continues unabated. Since Arafat left behind no true democratic institutions Palestinians could use to sort out their differences, his heir—Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas—has been free to use his position to get rich “and insist on his complete domination over all Palestinian affairs.” While most “Palestinians continue to reel under their horrific, Oslo-induced reality,” Abbas and his pals enjoy the perks of their elite status—just as Arafat did.