Arafat, Oslo, Sabra & Shatila Massacre; Betrayal of Palestine

September 20, 2017 Asia , Middle East , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo

 

By

Sami Jamil Jadallah

 

 

“Arafat was a narcissist self-serving, incompetent, corrupt fraud and a lie who did irreparable damage and harm, to the Palestinian people and cause. History will prove me right.”

 

The months of September and November are and should be “months of infamy” for Palestinians. It was on the 2nd of November 1917, when the infamous Lord Balfour of England gave his “promise” to Zionists leaders to establish a “Jewish Homeland” in Palestine.

And it was September 13th, 1993, when another infamous man, Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Accords granting Israel full and unconditional recognition fulfilling the promise Lord Balfour gave to the Zionists.

It was also September 18, 1982, when Yasser Arafat turned his back on the thousands killed and massacred in Sabra and Shatila and turned his back on the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Turning his back on his people is a trademark Arafat excelled in and perfected, from Jordan to Kuwait to Occupied Palestine and to all the millions of Palestinians in refugee camps and in the Diaspora.

Since taking over the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1969, Yasser Arafat insisted to have absolute and unconditional control over all decisions, certainly all-financial issues, accountable to no one, resulting in the misuse and looting of tens of billions of dollars that remains unaccounted for. According to a CBC 60 Minute segment aired on November 7, 2003, and according to Jim Prince and a team of American accountants hired by Arafat he was able to divert at least $1 billion in public funds” to ensure his political survival, but a lot more is unaccounted for.”

Yasser Arafat ran the PLO as a “mafia” boss, rendering obsolete the establishment of any viable, independent and accountable Palestinian institutions. He rendered the Palestine National Council (PNC) into a toy, a joke, shameless, and discredited “institution” waiving and forfeiting all of its rights as the representative of the Palestinian people under occupation and in the Diaspora.

He succeeded in doing that using the money to corrupt, bribe, silence and even threaten anyone who dared to challenge him. With no sense of duty, most if not all members of the PLO and PNC just accepted Arafat dictates without any credible challenge thus setting the stage for the irreparable damage, harm, and certainly betrayals Arafat did to the Palestinian people, certainly to the Palestinian cause.

Money and threats were his tools. He shamed all his subordinates by allowing them to loot, cheat and misuse funds, that when they dared challenge him, he pulled his little “black book” to silence them.

What I could never understand was with many respectable and financially independent members of the PNC, why no one dared to question Arafat and his political and financial management style. Back in ’85 in the Hotel Richmond in Geneva, I asked two very wealthy Palestinians who were members of the PNC this question and both were unable to give any reasons. The same is true of Palestinian intellectuals.

The financial corruption of Yasser Arafat and the PLO is legendary. Their incompetence and corruption will take many volumes; the essay here is about his criminal negligence and derelict of duty, which he promised to fulfill toward the Palestinian people, enough of a crime to convict him of high treason posthumously.

The prelude to Sabra and Shatila and the Oslo Accords was Lebanon when Arafat and the PLO escaped from Jordan after losing the battle to challenge King Hussein in Jordan.

Arriving in Lebanon, Arafat went ahead creating his banana republic “Fakhani Republic,” a state within a state in Lebanon. Arafat once again was the master at corrupting everything he touched. He allowed the PLO and Fatah operatives and thugs to misuse and abuse their powers and presence in Lebanon, for which most Lebanese hated the PLO.

Many of his cadre’s senior cadres behaved with reckless disregard to the dignity of the Lebanese, the host country, no different from the way they behaved in Jordan, misusing their power and challenging the authority of the host country. More troubling, disgusting and shameful is the way they treated the citizens of both Jordan and Lebanon especially.

In Lebanon, PLO operatives made extensive use of the bars and brothels of Lebanon as a way to “liberate” Palestine. While committed volunteers were stationed in camps in South Lebanon, the leadership, both military and political, made extensive use of the “good life” Lebanon offered, especially to executives of the PLO and Fatah with open expense accounts.

 

 

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

 

With the tacit approval and green light from both President Reagan and General Alexander Haig, who served both as US Secretary of State and White House Chief of Staff, Menachem Begin, the Israeli Prime Minister and then under Ariel Sharon, Minister of Defense, decided to invade Lebanon with the expressed purpose of chasing the PLO out of Lebanon.

In 1982, Israel mobilized its army and within a couple of weeks laid siege of Beirut, the first Arab capital ever invaded by Israel. The siege of Beirut was cruel, savage, and destructive forcing the Reagan administration to interfere to put an end to the relentless crime Israel was committing as an “Occupying Power.”

To facilitate this the Reagan Administration dispatched ambassador Philip Habib as Middle East Special Envoy. In that, a wider conflict was averted between Syria and Israel and between the Israel and the PLO.

Under the plans worked by ambassador Habib, there was a ceasefire, Arafat, and the PLO to withdraw and vacate Lebanon, and Israel withdraw from Beirut toward international borders. (Israel continued to occupy South Lebanon for 20 years, notwithstanding UNSC calling for its unconditional withdrawal).

More important of all, and recognizing the very volatile atmosphere between the Lebanese, especially Israel’s allies the Lebanese Phalange, ambassador Habib gave US assurance that no harm would come to the remaining hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and their families. Well, the US never kept its promise and Arafat never took the cause of the thousands who were massacred.

As soon as the ships carrying Arafat and his fighters, the Lebanese Phalange under the command of Elie Hobieka, surrounded the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Shatila, the Israelis provided the needed security for the 300-400 members of the Lebanese militia, making sure there was no way out. The Lebanese Phalange under the supervision and floodlights went ahead, massacring over 3,500 Palestinians women, children, young and old, using both bullets and knives.

It was only a few days later the world woke up to the most heinous crime committed in Lebanon. The horrific pictures they saw shocked the UN and the world.

Sean MacBride, assistant secretary general and president of the UN General Assembly indicted Israel “as the occupying power was responsible for the violence- the massacre was a form of genocide.”

Israel, on the other hand, was in shock and after a massive demonstration of 400,000 in Tel-Aviv, Begin and his government decided to appoint a “special commission” to look into what happened.

Israel’s Kahan Commission, after 4 months of deliberation released its finding on 8 February 1983 and “concluded that direct responsibility rested with Gemayel Phalangists led by Fadi Frem and that no Israelis were deemed directly responsible, although Israel was held to be directly responsible.”

The Kahan report continued to state “the decision on the entry of the Phalangists into the refugee camps was taken without consideration of the danger which the makers and the executors of the decision were obligated to foresee as probable. The Phalangists would commit massacres and pogroms against the inhabitants of the camps, and without examination of the means for presenting this danger. Similarly, it is clear from the course of events that when the reports began to arrive about the actions of the Phalangists in the camps, no proper heed was taken of these reports, the correct conclusions were not drawn from them, and no energetic and immediate action were taken to restrain the Phalangists and put stop to their actions.”

As a result of the Kahan report, Ariel Sharon as defense minister was forced to resign, later to become Prime Minister, Menachem Begin resigning and retiring from Israeli politics.

In contrast, Yasser Arafat, the PLO Executive Committee, and the PNC did not take any action or hold a formal hearing or called for and set up an international board of inquiry into the massacre. They all walked away, happy to escape with their lives and their bank accounts.

Unlike the Israelis who took to the streets forcing Begin and Sharon to resign, no credible Palestinian action was taken to hold Yasser Arafat, the PLO Executive Committee and the PNC liable or at least accountable for not only the massacres that took place, but for failing to hold the US, the Phalange and Israeli accountable; they all simply did nothing that anyone can one day pursue the criminals. The worst was yet to come when Suha Arafat took on one of the senior Phalange security officers as her trusted financial advisor, and who also happened to come to Washington on Arafat’s private plane when Arafat came to sign the Oslo Accords. No Palestinian organization cared, challenged Arafat, nor called on him to resign.

 

 

Oslo Accords

 

The Oslo Accords was yet another criminal undertaking by Arafat, the PLO Executive Committee, and the PNC. All three are guilty as charged.

Arafat, the narcissist and clown he always was cared about how he appeared to the world with his headdress, his pistol at his side, his military fatigues, comparing himself to the likes of Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara, and Fidel Castro. None of whom looted billions and had extensive use of private jets traveling the world.

Arafat, never caring for those under Israeli Occupation, was too busy to keep himself in the limelight and was so surprised, being caught off guard when the First Intifada broke out. He and the PLO Executive Committee were at a loss.

The First Intifada put Israel and its then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the front pages and in the mainstream news as the Israeli army faced protesting Palestinians using stones with guns and tanks and a policy of “broken bones.”

Arafat, having sided with the criminal Saddam Hussein, and having lost support from the Gulf countries, his chief financial support, saw the First Intifada as a golden opportunity to be in the driver seat. Arafat did Rabin the biggest favor of his political career, ending and aborting the First Intifada. Rabin then had to reciprocate the favor.

He opened secret channels with Israel and using the money was able to undermine the First Intifada by purchasing “agents” from the inside who were after two years of truly popular resistance able to abort the First Intifada. The agents later became the heads of Arafat’s security forces. Israel and its image were saved, though it continued to use iron fists in the Occupied Territories.

President George Bush and his secretary of state James Baker took the opportunity of the successful Desert Storm campaign to try and open direct negotiations between Israel and the Arab countries, into what became known as the Madrid Peace Conference.

Arafat and the PLO were not official members of the Madrid Conference, however, members of the Palestinian delegations were associated with the PLO, and were included as part of the joint delegation with Jordan.

The negotiations continued in Washington with the late Dr. Haidar Abdel-Shafi, a very well respected Gaza physician, led the delegation. Arafat always worried about anyone who may have posed a challenge to his leadership and was wary of the independence and integrity of Dr. Abdel-Shafi, sending one of his close associates Dr. Nabil Shaath to keep an eye on him and the negotiations.

Sensing that Dr. Abdel-Shafi was taking an independent line from the PLO, Yasser Arafat collecting on the favor he did to Rabin to open a ‘secrete channel” with Israel sponsored and hosted by Norway’s Fafo Institute.

Unlike David Ben-Gurion who was all about establishing the State of Israel with its running institutions from day one, Yasser Arafat was never about having governing institutions, it was all about him, surrounding himself with flunkies and “yes men” waiting for handouts. When it came to Oslo, Arafat could not count on anyone within the PLO or his office to organize a competent team of professionals to lead the negotiation.

With literally hundreds of thousands of professional Palestinians around the world with the highest professional degrees, lawyers, professors, and successful professionals, Arafat chose to do it alone. Here I must fault the so-called “Palestinian intellectuals,” a closed circuit club of professors who were part or close to the PLO and Arafat, who never took nor chose to take the cause of the people and Palestine and challenge Yasser Arafat, his management style and his failing to establish sound credible accountable governing institutions. This failure also became clear after Oslo when Western powers felt sorry for the state of affairs of the Palestinians under Arafat that the Adam Smith Institute decided to hire top-quality professionals to help the PLO to negotiate with Israel after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.

What became clear is the criminal negligence and derelict of duty by Yasser Arafat and the PLO delegation to the negotiations, Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qurei.

All three are at best intellectually incompetent, professionally unfit and unqualified, and are no match to the Israeli delegation of Yossi Beilin, Yair Hirschfeld, Shimon Peres, Ron Pundak, Yitzhak Rabin and Uri Savir.

While Israel gathered the best brains to lead the negotiations, Arafat chose the most stupid, incompetent, unqualified team to lead the negotiations, PLO senior members with hardly any or no legal experience and barely competent in the English language, certainly with no knowledge of the Norwegian language.

Norway was no innocent bystander and was not the honest broker it pretended to be as was seen later when the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned the well respected Norwegian academician Hilde Henriksen Waage to do a full study of the role Norway played in the secret negotiations. Professor Waage was surprised to discover that all the records and notes of the secret negotiations were missing or destroyed, concluding that the “missing documents would have shown the extent to which (the) Oslo Process was conducted on Israeli premises, with Norway acting as an Israeli helpful errand boy.” Oslo was not the honest broker everyone thought it was, accepting Israel’s red line and accepting the Palestinians were desperate for a deal at any cost.

The Oslo Accords, as negotiated and signed, was nothing about ending the Israeli Occupation or reaching a final peace that takes into consideration the rights of return and the rights to stolen and confiscated properties. Oslo was nothing more than a commercial and security business agreement between the State of Israel and Arafat and the PLO.

Arafat, as a favor to Israel and desperate to conclude a deal that “saves his ass,” left out all the important issues of concerns to the Palestinians; Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements, security and safety for the Palestinians and borders.

In the “Letters of mutual recognition” between the PLO and Israel, Arafat signed on to an unconditional recognition of the State of Israel (with open borders and Jerusalem as its capital and pledged to put an end to “violence” deeming all these years of his claim of “liberation” as violence and terrorism against the State of Israel. In exchange, Israel gave its recognition to the PLO as “representative of the Palestinian people and the partner to of the negotiations” thus securing for itself a stupid politically, professional, illegitimate reckless negotiating partner and making sure it excluded any future organization from ever sitting at the table to negotiate with Israel a final peace. Simply put there was never a promise of a Palestinian Statehood, all of this is nothing but “bullshit” the Palestinian leaders gave the people as morphine.

In these 24 years, the PLO/PA saved Israel over $50 billion in operational costs of the Israeli Occupation, saving Israel billions to put to good use for providing every settler with a $28,000 bonus, benefiting from the 80,000 strong Palestinian Security Forces that provide auxiliary security to the IDF and the settlers while never providing any security for the Palestinians from the daily attacks of the IDF and Settlers. Oslo was and is a windfall for the senior members of the PLO and members of Fatah, certainly a windfall for the Palestinian Oligarchs. It is but a disaster for all Palestinians, under Occupation and those in the Diaspora.

Concluding with a quote from one of the senior executives of the PLO Executive Committee; “Oslo was the greatest idea Israel ever had, it let them continue with the occupation, without paying the costs,” Dr. Mustafa Barghouti. The question to Dr. Bargouthi is if this is your opinion, why did you join and became part of this management team?

 

 

 

 

sami-jamil-jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah, is a Palestinian-America, a Veteran of the US Army (66-66) he holds a BA (72), MPA/School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Doctor of Jurisprudence (77) from Indiana University.

With over 35 years of international legal and business experience with wide range of responsibilities from legal associate as on the major Wall Street law firm, to general counsel for one the largest civil and electro-mechanical construction company in Saudi Arabia, to director of a defense and marketing company in Switzerland to owner representative of major hotel project in Tangier to managing director of a major airline agency in Morocco and founder, trustee and managing director of a major conservation foundation in Morocco.

Sami also has experience with technology holder of two US patents for the use of smart card technology for tracking operation and maintenance of machine and founder of a start up company and continue to consult for international organizations and clients.

Sami is engaged on Pro-Bono work for the New Arab Foundation and its initiative the Arab Peace Corps and the Veterans Housing & Education Foundation, both are not for profit, tax-exempt organization. He lives in Fairfax, VA.

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1 Comment

  1. Rupen Savoulian September 20, at 06:43

    A better and more balanced summation of the political trajectory of Arafat, and the organisation which he led, may be found here:https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2004/11/araf-n12.htmlThank you

    Reply

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