The young Jewish man from Brooklyn who famously shared breakfast with Yasir Arafat last April, holed up in his Ramallah compound, says the Palestinian leader is corrupt and should be replaced as the administrator of funds for his people.
But Adam Shapiro defended Arafat as committed to peace with Israel, rejecting the widely held belief (now part of U.S. Mideast policy) that the aging PLO founder has been tainted by ties to terrorism and is an obstacle to peace.
The New York congressman who visited Yasir Arafat last week said the meeting accomplished nothing, and he denounced the waning Palestinian leader as an obstacle to peace efforts.
But Rep. Maurice Hinchey would not call the meeting, unsanctioned by the State Department and condemned by Jewish groups, a mistake.
"We wanted to press him to behave in the proper way," the Democrat from upstate Saugerties told The Jewish Week in a phone interview from Athens, Greece. "But it was the same old Arafat, dealing from the bottom of the deck."
Using as an excuse Israel’s aborted 10-day siege of his Ramallah compound, Yasir Arafat this week delayed reforms of the Palestinian Authority demanded by the United States. And bolstered by a rise in his popularity during the siege, the Palestinian leader scuttled plans to appoint a prime minister until after the creation of a Palestinian state.
Ramallah, West Bank — Saying he feared attacks by Islamic extremists who have created a bloodbath in Algeria, Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat pleaded with representatives of the American Jewish Committee to help him revive the stalled peace talks with Israel.
“We are in need of an outside push — both of us,” said Arafat. “We are in need of mediation to rebuild again confidence between both of us. Maybe American mediation, Moroccan mediation, Arab mediation from [Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak or [Jordan’s] King Hussein.”
As the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks inched fitfully forward this week, Yasir Arafat moved to shore up his leadership position in the Palestinian community by seeking to reunite with several Palestinian groups that had rejected his leadership after he signed the 1993 Oslo peace accord.
Although Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat has promised to spend the next two weeks considering a modification of the Wye accords, he strongly hinted that the answer would be no.
“We must see the precise, accurate implementation of agreements signed on the basis of reciprocity,” Arafat said at a joint news conference Tuesday night with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
As Israeli leaders waited for Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to signal an easing of his uncompromising position on Jerusalem, they were pessimistic that it would come in his talks here this week with President Bill Clinton.
Clashes erupted this week for the first time between radical Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority, a sign political analysts see as a weakening of Palestinian President Yasir Arafat’s hold on his people even as the popularity of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rises among Israelis.
The handsome, charismatic head of state has somehow maintained public support despite a series of incredible, seemingly fatal setbacks — from political scandals to being labeled a liar within his own party to well-publicized extra-marital affairs. He’s been counted out a dozen times in the last year alone, but he has survived and now even seems to be gaining ground. How does he manage to do it?It’s a question Benjamin Netanyahu and Bill Clinton could have asked of each other when they met at the White House this week.
Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader who brought his people to the brink of statehood only to throw it away on a senseless, four-year reign of terror that claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis, was near death Wednesday in a Paris hospital.