Arafat's illness could signal return to extremism

Posted: Thursday, November 04, 2004

The severe illness that has befallen Yasser Arafat has opened ... the Palestine Question yet again.

Even if he recovers, it is unlikely that he will resume the same energetic leadership that he has given to Palestine over four decades. ... Arafat has been the most levelheaded Palestinian leader one capable of working out ... a settlement that takes care of both the Palestinians and Israel. Now that he is ailing, the extremists will be positioning themselves to take authority.

If that happens, the irony is that Israel, who would be great losers, would have been partly to blame. By forcefully marginalizing Arafat over three or so years, the government of Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon silenced the moderate Palestinian leader, giving the opportunity for ascendancy to the more extreme elements who do not believe in Israel's right to exist.

The New Vision, Uganda

Oct. 30

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