Arafatuation

Mark Steyn on the myth of Palestine and the “Palestinian People.”

An excerpt:

“They stole almost everything,” complained Fatah spokesman Ahmed Abdel Rahman, “including Arafat’s Nobel Peace Prize medal.” There was something rather poignant about the looting of the late Chairman Arafat’s home in Gaza City by Hamas’ finest – and not just because, as the blogger Maynard pointed out on Tammy Bruce’s web site, if Hamas had only waited a year or two, the Nobel wallahs would have been happy to give the lads a Peace Prize of their own. Sadly, Israel’s latest designated “partner in peace” was in too much of a hurry for their piece.

It will be the first of many indignities heaped on the Chairman’s memory. In years to come, the world’s late 20th-century Arafatuation should make an interesting case study on the ease with which western illusions and Arab opportunism can combine in entirely disastrous ways. A good starting point would be the famous 1974 resolution by the Arab League declaring Arafat’s PLO to be the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”. Scholars will marvel at the way the region’s kings and dictators not only ran this absurd banner up the flagpole but persuaded just about everybody on the planet to salute it: The United Nations began treating Arafat as the leader of a sovereign nation, giving him “official” status and inviting him to make speeches. He was a head of state lacking merely a state to head, and in overlooking that technicality the UN only underlined his inevitability.

To be the “sole legitimate representative” is an impressive claim for an organization barely a decade old. But, that aside, how does any group get to be the “sole” representative of a people? In Afghanistan and Iraq, for example, we understood there were multiple representatives representing different slivers of their diverse peoples. But in “Palestine” it was a lot easier. The rap against most Middle Eastern nations is that they’re the artificial inventions of the French and British colonial administrators of 1922. There may be an Iraq drawn on a map by Winston Churchill after lunch but there’s no “Iraqis” – just Sunni, Shia, Kurds. But it’s the opposite scenario in “Palestine”. There has never been a Palestinian state yet there is apparently a Palestinian people, fully formed and of one mind and marching in lock-step behind their “sole legitimate representative”.

We now know this is not the case.

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