Why Didn’t the Peace Process Create a Palestinian State? Because Yasir Arafat Didn’t Want One

Sept. 15 2023

Concluded 30 years ago last Wednesday, the Oslo Accords were intended to begin a process that would eventually lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian polity. Yet this final-status agreement was never reached, despite considerable efforts. Paul Cainer, recalling an interview he conducted with Yasir Arafat, explains why:

Arafat really did not feel he needed a “final status,” which would condemn him to the obloquy of most of the Palestinian and Arab elite, and which would reduce him to the leader of a small and unimportant “state.” He felt much more comfortable politically and psychologically in being portrayed internally and around the Islamic world as a revolutionary, not as a statesman, or, worse, as a sell-out. During our interview with him he was pleased to show us his tiny bedroom, still displaying some small holes made, he said, by Israel shrapnel. In reality, he had a much grander bedroom reachable by a corridor to the other side of [his compound].

What Arafat desired and got was a path to continued and expanded influence and international importance. . . . The Accords allowed 30,000 of Arafat’s armed men, mostly those who had fled Beirut during the 1981 PLO-Israel war, to enter the West Bank and Gaza. They promptly replaced local mayors and more moderate leaders who had spent their lives co-operating with the Israelis to some extent.

His system ensured that the corrupt leadership cadres of the PLO could become immensely fat cats, siphoning off many millions of dollars of international money that had flowed into the coffers of the newly constituted Palestinian National Authority, an offshoot of the PLO.

His repression of dissent of any kind was legendary: he even had a Palestinian newspaper editor arrested and tortured for putting Arafat’s photo on page seven, not the front page.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Palestinian statehood, Peace Process, PLO, Yasir Arafat


Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy