Be certain that Yasser Arafat’s final days are numbered, but allow us to finish him off our way, not yours. And be sure as well that … the promises I made in front of President Bush, I will give my life to keep.
Hamas, the opponents of Arafat, the opponents of peace, urged a boycott of the election, and yet there was an 85 percent turnout where Hamas is supposed to be strong. Isnt that really quite incredible?
Palestinians no longer blamed Yasser Arafat or Hamas for their troubles. Now they blamed the Israelis for killing their children. But I still couldn't escape a fundamental question: Why were those children out there in the first place? Where were the parents? Why didn't their mothers and fathers keep them inside? Those children should have been sitting at their desks in school, not running in the streets throwing stones at armed soldiers.
There is something very consistent about governance in the Arab world. Among the Arab countries today in which there is a modicum of internal stability, each is controlled by an Arafat-type figure - an anti-democratic strongman who is able to crush all challenges to his authority. Likewise, among those Arab countries that aren't ruled by a despot, the political dynamic is also consistent: In Lebanon, Iraq, and now Gaza, sectarian violence is the dominant form of political expression.
We are a people with no army, no navy, no air force, no arms. It's people, thousands of people, who are feeling, sensing the sense of urgency, fearing for the president of their life - the life of their president, trying to protect their democratic choice, because Arafat is the elected leader of the Palestinian people.