Abba Eban famously described the Palestinians as having "never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity." No doubt many will see this quotation as an appropriate epitaph for Yasser Arafat, whose final passing in Paris was made official just hours ago. Had it been Arafat's purpose to establish a second state alongside Israel for the Palestinian people, then there would be no doubt that he repeatedly missed opportunity after opportunity to accomplish that purpose, and never more dramatically than when he rebuffed Ehud Barak's far-reaching concessions on July 12, 2000.
Looking back over Arafat's life, however, it is plain that Arafat did not purpose to establish a second state for the Palestinians alongside Israel. The state he sought to establish was not a separate and equal state, but a single Palestinian state to replace the state of Israel.
Just one month ago, Michael Tarazi, legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization, explicitly made the call for a one-state solution, in an editorial published by the New York Times
(October 4, 2004), "Two Peoples, One State"
As a result, many Palestinians are contemplating whether the quest for equal statehood should now be superseded by a struggle for equal citizenship. In other words, a one-state solution in which citizens of all faiths and ethnicities live together as equals.
Talk of democracy and equal rights from Arafat and the PLO was only meant for those easily gulled in the West. Arafat's true goal was the destruction of Israel and the end of Zionism. Thankfully, he never had the opportunity to miss the opportunity to accomplish that end.
Labels: Israel, Michael Tarazi, Palestine Liberation Organization, Yassir Arafat