Absolute and entire ugliness is rare, observed the Victorian author John Ruskin. He did not have the pleasure of meeting Yasser Arafat.
In his last photo opportunity, Arafat, whose soul reflected his countenance, wore pajamas and a fur hat. As he clasped the hands of members of his entourage, sporting a syphilitic grin, he made an obscene attempt to raise an aide’s hand to his grotesque, giant lips. The Arab on whose hand Arafat had orally fixated pulled away persistently, embarrassed, as though a hound had mounted his leg.
But Arafat’s mug and manners were the least of his obscenities. The Egyptian-born representative of the Palestinian People began his campaign of violence against Israel well before the 1967 war — his official pretext.
One of his first acts of terror within Israel was in 1965 — a failed attempt by the Fatah to bomb the National Water Carrier, the country’s irrigation and reservoir system. One of the last atrocities to have been carried out by Arafat’s Fatah and Al Aqsa Martyrs occurred in March. Fatah and Hamas collaborated in a double-suicide bombing in the port of Ashdod. Ten Israelis were killed and 16 wounded.
OFFICIALLY, ARAFAT STOPPED claiming responsibility for acts of terror in 1988. The West ignored the body count and took him at his word—his English word.
In Arabic, however, Arafat persistently promised to maintain the struggle to “eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state,” in the words of a 1996 speech delivered in Stockholm. It was a vow he repeated often, most notably in the same year at a rally near Bethlehem: “We know only one word — jihad. jihad, jihad, jihad. Whoever does not like it can drink from the Dead Sea or from the Sea of Gaza.”p>Or, as he prated to Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, newspaper of the Palestinian Authority (PA): “O my dear ones on the occupied lands, relatives and friends throughout Palestine and the diaspora, my colleagues in struggle and in arms, my colleagues in struggle and in jihad … Intensify the revolution and the blessed intifada … We must burn the ground under the feet of the invaders.” br> br> My fear and loathing of Yasser Arafat was born of personal experience as an Israeli. In 1974 Arafat sent the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), an offshoot of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), into northern Israel. They infiltrated a high school in Maalot, killing 26 people; 21 were children only a little older than I was. /p>
In April of that year, PLO terrorists attacked Kiryat Shmona, murdering 18, including eight children. The pathologist who performed the autopsies on the Maalot and Kiryat Shmona children was a close family friend. He arrived at my father’s home distraught and later suffered a nervous breakdown.
In March 1978, Fatah terrorists took over a bus on the Coastal Haifa-Tel-Aviv highway (on which I traveled daily — in a bus — to school and back), killing 21 Israelis.
THE COMMITTEE FOR ACCURACY in Middle East Reporting in America has provided a potted historyof Arafat’s mass murders from 1965 until 2004. Some of the most ghastly acts on his rap sheet are the slayings of 47 people on a Swissair flight in 1970; nine pupils and three teachers in an attack on a school bus from Moshav Avivim, also in 1970; 27 religious pilgrims at Lod Airport; 11 Israeli athletes in the 1972 Munich Massacre.