I find that viewpoint bizarre, because no one (and I mean no one) did more damage to the Palestinians than Arafat. His entire career consisting of selling out the Palestinians for his own benefit, generally to either Arab dictators or the chattering classes in Europe and elsewhere. I cannot think of one thing Arafat ever did that benefitted his subjects. Arafat didn’t advance the cause of Palestinian statehood, he strangled it in its crib. But Arafat didn’t limit his depredations to the Palestinians, he didn’t just slaughter Israelis indistriminately, he also coarsened and degraded the social fabric of the entire world. People are upset about the attack on a school in Beslan, but that was a tactic introduced to modern history by — Yassir Arafat. For this he’s considered an admirable figure?
This is why Bush’s snub of Arafat demonstrates more real concern for the fate of the Palestinians that I’ve seen from any other world leader. If you have a wino, you don’t improve his condition by getting him a better vintage. You take the bottle away. Arafat was the tasty but poisonous drink keeping the Palestinians bleeding in the gutter. Every award, every prestigious meeting with him was just putting a better label on the same old bottle of rotgut. I suspect much of it was moral cowardice, because the besotted get surly if you take away the sauce. Only Bush had the courage to say “that’s enough - get sober”.