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 on Jewish Chronicle: https://www.thejc.com/news/world/the-arafat-i-knew-was-undermining-oslo-from-the-very-start-237jHyxOq2BBXdE2ZpO6Gv