A nearly 5000 word hagiographic profile of Yasser Arafat by Hussein Agha and Ahmad Samih Khalidi in the Guardian characteristically obfuscated the decades-long record of planning and carrying out terror attacks against innocent Israelis by the late Palestinian leader and groups under his control.
Here’s the key passage in the Guardian’s ‘long-read’ (Yasser Arafat: Why he still matters, Nov. 13) concerning the man known to some as the “father of modern terrorism.”
Without armed struggle the Palestinian awakening heralded by Fatah was unlikely to have occurred, yet Arafat and his colleagues knew both the value and limits of force. They were aware of the need to modulate or discard force entirely when necessary. Their political programme developed accordingly, from an emphasis on armed action as the sole means of struggle in 1968 to its eventual disappearance from the PLO’s political programme altogether after 1990.
However, the fact is that, though in 1988 he claimed to accept Israel’s right to exist and in 1993 shook hands with Yitzchak Rabin (inaugurating the Oslo Accords), Arafat continued to encourage and provide financial support to “groups directly under his command, such as the Tanzim and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade”.
The West largely took him at his word – his English word, that is. But, in Arabic, Arafat promised to continue using terrorism to “eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state”.
(Palestinian Media Watch video of Arafat speaking in Bethlehem three years after he signed the Oslo Accords.)
Whilst the wording in the final sentence of the Guardian article (cited above), regarding the PLO abandoning terror, is a touch ambiguous (and the writers note, later in the essay, that some “accused him instigating or turning a blind eye to violence” during the 2nd Intifada), for those under any illusions regarding Arafat’s post-Oslo record, here’s some background on his continuous support for jihad.
Here, per a report by CAMERA, are some of the terror attacks since September 2000 perpetrated by groups under Arafat’s command:
- May 29, 2001: Gilad Zar, an Itamar resident, was shot dead in a terrorist ambush by Fatah Tanzim.
- May 29, 2001: Sara Blaustein, 53, and Esther Alvan, 20, of Efrat, were killed in a drive-by shooting south of Jerusalem. The Fatah Tanzim claimed responsibility for the attack.
- June 18, 2001: Doron Zisserman, 38, shot and killed in his car by Fatah sniper fire.
- Aug 26, 2001: Dov Rosman, 58, killed in a shooting attack by Fatah terrorist.
- Sept 6, 2001: Erez Merhavi, 23, killed in a Fatah Tanzim ambush shooting near Hadera while driving to a wedding.
- Sept 20, 2001: Sarit Amrani, 26, killed by Fatah terrorist snipers as she was traveling in a car with her husband and 3 children.
- Oct 4, 2001: 3 killed, 13 wounded, when a Fatah terrorist, dressed as an Israeli paratrooper, opened fire on Israeli civilians waiting at the central bus station in Afula.
- Nov 27, 2001 – 2 killed 50 injured when two Palestinian terrorists opened fire with Kalashnikov assault rifles on a crowd of people near the central bus station in Afula. Fatah and the Islamic Jihad claimed joint responsibility.
- Nov 29, 2001: 3 killed and 9 wounded in a suicide bombing on an Egged 823 bus en route from Nazereth to Tel Aviv near the city of Hadera. The Islamic Jihad and Fatah claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Dec 12, 2001 – 11 killed and 30 wounded when three terrorists attacked a bus and several passenger cars with a roadside bomb, anti-tank grenades, and light arms fire near the entrance to Emmanuel in Samaria . Both Fatah and Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Jan 15, 2002: Avi Boaz, 71, an American citizen, was kidnapped at a PA security checkpoint in Beit Jala. His bullet-riddled body was found in a car near Bethlehem. The Fatah’s Al-Aksa Brigade claimed responsibility for the murder.
- – Jan 15, 2002: Yoela Chen, 45, was shot dead by an Al Aqsa Brigade terrorist
- Jan 17, 2002: 6 killed, 35 wounded when a Fatah terrorist burst into a bat mitzvah reception in a banquet hall in Hadera opening fire with an M-16 assault rifle.
- Jan 22, 2002: 2 killed, 40 injured when a Fatah terrorist opened fire with an M-16 assault rifle near a bus stop in downtown Jerusalem.
- Jan. 27, 2002: One person was killed and more than 150 were wounded by a female Fatah suicide bomber in the center of Jerusalem.
- Feb 6, 2002 – A mother and her 11-year-old daughter were murdered in their home by a Palestinian terrorist disguised in an IDF uniform. Both Fatah and Hamas claimed responsibility.
- Feb 22, 2002: Valery Ahmir, 59, was killed by terrorists in a Fatah drive-by shooting north of Jerusalem as he returned home from work.
- Feb 25, 2002: Avraham Fish, 65, and Aharon Gorov, 46, were killed in a Fatah terrorist shooting attack south of Bethlehem. Fish’s daughter, 9 months pregnant, was seriously injured but delivered a baby girl.
- Feb 25, 2002: Police officer 1st Sgt. Galit Arbiv, 21, died after being fatally shot, when a Fatah terrorist opened fire at a bus stop in the Neve Ya’akov residential neighborhood in northern Jerusalem. Eight others were injured.
- Feb 27, 2002: Gad Rejwan, 34, of Jerusalem, was shot and killed by one of his Palestinian employees in a factory north of Jerusalem. Two Fatah groups issued a joint statement taking responsibility for the murder.
- March 2, 2002: A suicide bombing by Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem killed 11 people and injured more than 50.
- Mar 5, 2002: 3 were killed and over 30 people were wounded in Tel-Aviv when a Fatah terrorist opened fire on two adjacent restaurants shortly after 2:00 AM.
- Mar 5, 2002: Devorah Friedman, 45, of Efrat, was killed and her husband injured in a Fatah shooting attack on the Bethlehem bypass “tunnel road”, south of Jerusalem.
- Mar 9, 2002: Avia Malka, 9 months, and Israel Yihye, 27, were killed and about 50 people were injured when two Fatah terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at cars and pedestrians in the coastal city of Netanya on Saturday evening, close to the city’s boardwalk and hotels.
- March 21, 2002: An Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade suicide bomber exploded himself in a crowd of shoppers in Jerusalem, killing 3 and injuring 86.
- March 29, 2002: Two killed and 28 injured when a female Fatah suicide bomber blew herself up in a Jerusalem supermarket.
- March 30, 2002: One killed and 30 injured in an Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.
- April 12, 2002: Six killed and 104 wounded when a female Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade suicide bomber blew herself up at a bus stop on Jaffa road at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda open-air market.
- May 27, 2002: Ruth Peled, 56, of Herzliya and her infant granddaughter, aged 14 months, were killed and 37 people were injured when a Fatah suicide bomber detonated himself near an ice cream parlor outside a shopping mall in Petah Tikva.
- May 28, 2002 – Albert Maloul, 50, of Jerusalem, was killed when shots were fired by Fatah terrorists at the car in which he was traveling south on the Ramallah bypass road.
- May 28, 2002 – Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade terrorists killed Netanel Riachi, 17, Gilad Stiglitz, 14, and Avraham Siton, 17, three yeshiva high school students playing basketball.
- – June 19, 2002: Seven people were killed and 37 injured when a Fatah suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded bus stop and hitchhiking post in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem.
- June 20, 2002: Rachel Shabo, 40, and three of her sons – Neria, 16, Zvika, 12, and Avishai, 5 – as well as a neighbor, Yosef Twito, 31, who came to their aid, were murdered when a terrorist entered their home in Itamar, south of Nablus, and opened fire. The PFLP and the Fatah Al Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.
- July 25, 2002: Rabbi Elimelech Shapira, 43, was killed in a Fatah shooting attack near the West Bank community of Alei Zahav.
- July 26, 2002: St.-Sgt. Elazar Lebovitch, 21, of Hebron; Rabbi Yosef Dikstein, 45, of Psagot, his wife Hannah, 42, and their 9-year-old son Shuv’el Zion were killed in a Fatah Al Aqsa Brigade shooting attack south of Hebron. Two other of their children were injured.
- July 30, 2002: Shlomo Odesser, 60, and his brother Mordechai, 52, both of Tapuach in Samaria, were shot and killed when their truck came under Fatah fire in the West Bank village of Jama’in.
- Aug 4, 2002: 2 killed and 17 wounded when a Fatah terrorist opened fire with a pistol near the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City.
- Aug 5, 2002: Avi Wolanski (29) and his wife Avital (27), of Eli, were killed and one of their children, aged 3, was injured when terrorists opened fire on their car as they were traveling on the Ramallah-Nablus road in Samaria. A splinter group associated with Arafat’s Fatah movement claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Aug 10, 2002: Yafit Herenstein, 31, of Moshav Mechora in the Jordan Valley, was killed and her husband, Arno, seriously wounded when a Fatah terrorist infiltrated the moshav and opened fire outside their home.
- Sept 18, 2002: Yosef Ajami, 36, was killed when Fatah terrorists opened fire on his car near Mevo Dotan, north of Jenin in the West Bank.
- Oct 29, 2002: Three people, including 2 fourteen year olds, were shot to death by a Fatah terrorist.
- Nov 10, 2002: Revital Ohayon, 34, and her two sons, Matan, 5, and Noam, 4, as well as Yitzhak Dori, 44 – all of Kibbutz Metzer – and Tirza Damari, 42, were killed when a Fatah terrorist infiltrated the kibbutz, located east of Hadera near the Green Line, and opened fire.
- Nov 28, 2002: 5 killed and 40 wounded when two Fatah terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at the Likud polling station in Beit She’an, near the central bus station, where party members were casting their votes in the Likud primary.
- Apr 24, 2003 – 1 was killed and 13 were wounded in a suicide bombing outside the train station in Kfar Sava. Groups related to the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the PFLP claimed joint responsibility for the attack.
- May 5, 2003 – Gideon Lichterman, 27, was killed and two other passengers, his six-year-old daughter Moriah and a reserve soldier, were seriously wounded when Fatah terrorists fired shots at their vehicle in Samaria.
- May 19, 2003: 3 were killed and 70 were wounded in a suicide bombing at the entrance to the Amakim Mall in Afula. The Islamic Jihad and the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades both claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Aug 29, 2003: Shalom Har-Melekh, 25, was killed in a Fatah shooting attack while driving northeast of Ramallah. His wife, Limor, who was seven months pregnant, sustained moderate injuries, and gave birth to a baby girl by Caesarean section.
- Jan 29, 2004: 11 people were killed and over 50 wounded in a suicide bombing of an Egged bus no. 19 at the corner of Gaza and Arlozorov streets in Jerusalem. Both the Fatah-related Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Mar 14, 2004: 10 were killed and 16 wounded in a double suicide bombing at Ashdod Port. Hamas and Fatah claimed responsibility for the attack.
- May 2, 2004: Tali Hatuel, 34, and her daughters – Hila, 11, Hadar, 9, Roni, 7, and Merav, 2 – of Katif in the Gaza Strip were killed when two terrorists fired on an Israeli car at the entrance to the Gaza settlement bloc of Gush Katif. Fatah and Islamic Jihad claimed joint responsibility for the attack.
The Guardian piece ends by predicting that future Palestinian leaders will likely not be in “Arafat’s mould”.
Terror victims and their families – and anyone for that matter genuinely seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict – can of course only hope and pray that this is true.