Arafat's removal must be the first step

Monday, July 1, 2002

European leaders are cautious. The secretary-general of the United Nations is outright opposed. Other world leaders are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

The issue? President Bush's plan for the Mideast that hinges on the removal of Yasser Arafat as head of the Palestinian Authority.

It's about time someone had the fortitude to make the demand upon which all other demands must depend. Arafat is a terrorist, crook, despot and wily, hard-fisted conniver who has little regard for the welfare of Palestinians he claims to represent and whose first concern is for his own well-being.

Arafat claims legitimacy because he was elected to lead the Palestinian Authority. Some world leaders worry that a new election -- as demanded by Bush -- could result in the selection of someone even worse than Arafat.

While that may be the case, Arafat is a known quantity. The United States -- nor any other nation -- has no business cutting deals with a man whose actions under any other circumstances would be considered downright criminal.

It's time for Arafat to go. Unfortunately, Palestinians are so controlled by Arafat and his henchmen that they probably don't even know they have a choice. Is that what we want for a new Palestinian state?

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