And the problem is?
Posted by aogSunday, 25 April 2004 at 16:16 TrackBack Ping URL

Marcus at Harry’s place writes

After getting rid of two Hamas leaders in the space of a month it’s difficult to know whether Ariel Sharon really does plans to target Yasser Arafat for assassination or whether his words are part of some ongoing psychological war.

Let’s hope, for all the obvious reasons, that it’s merely an example of the latter.

I guess I’m just dense, but I don’t see what the “obvious” reasons are. I can think of some standard tropes:

It would incite more violence — That seems unlikely, given that the response to the Yassin and Rantisi killings was actually less violence. It is the belief of many that the Palestinians and their allies are being as violent as possible, so there’s little to lose on that score.

It would remove the last person who could negotiate — This seems wrong on two counts. The first is that Israeli PM Sharon’s plan seems to be to achieve those things that are possible without any negotiation. The second is that Arafat has had 40 years to negotiate and hasn’t done so in good faith yet.

It would destroy the chances for peace — That doesn’t seem likely either. Does anyone really doubt that Arafat sponsors, organizes and pays for terror? It’s not implausible to argue that Arafat is actually the singlest largest obstacle to peace.

Overall, I can’t think of a single person who has done more to harm the Palestinian cause than Arafat. He’s lead them into death and poverty, looted and cheated them, and squandered any moral capital they had. I’d like to know how Arafat’s continued existence is good for anyone except Arafat and his fellow dictators in the Islamic world.

Sorry, Marcus, I guess I’m just a troglodyte but I can’t think of a single reason, much less an obvious one, to hope that Sharon is just engaging in psychological games on this point.