Monday, September 15, 2003

Rights and Reason: A terrorist's nine lives

Reuters reports on the half-hearted war against terrorism, reporting that Israel has backed down to a threat to kill Yasser Arafat:

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom Monday dismissed comments by a cabinet minister that Israel could kill Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, but the remarks served to increase international pressure for caution.

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Israeli Foreign Minister Shalom, responding to Olmert's comments, told foreign journalists at a briefing:

"There will be no immediate action. It's not official policy of the Israeli government...We don't speak about killing (him). We didn't speak about it before, and we don't speak about it today."


The United States has voiced opposition to any attempt to kill or expel Arafat, moves that Secretary of State Colin Powell said would spread "rage throughout the Arab world."
I'll repeat John Bragg's question from yesterday: Why is Arafat still alive? Would the Colin Powell accept as legitimate concerns that the death of Osama bin Laden at US hands would spread "rage throughout the Arab world"?

And rather worry about Arab rage, why doesn’t Powell worry about increased Arab intransigence that comes from knowing that the US does not have the stomach to let Israel fight its war against terror?

UPDATE: Colin Powell is not the only American voice condemning Israel for its assassination talk.

Former President [Jimmy] Carter on Monday criticized Israeli threats to kill Yasser Arafat saying they send "a wave of increasing animosity not only through the Palestinians but the entire world."

Carter told The Associated Press that statements by Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other Israeli officials are "totally contrary to the position of the U.S. government" and U.S.-backed road map for peace in the Middle East even rules out a threat to exile the Palestinian leader.

Speaking by phone from his home in Plains, Ga., the former president said Arafat could be more forceful in condemning violence, but can't control Hamas, which is responsible for scores of suicide bombings in Israel. The State Department calls Hamas a terrorist organization.

"I don't think he is in charge of everything, but I know he can be a stronger leader," Carter said, however.
If Arafat can not control Hamas, what is he worth? What is the value of a leader who can not control huge terror cells within his own borders?

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