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Sunday, November 07, 2004
The debate on the burial site of Yasser Arafat is starting to heat up now the he is in a coma and on the verge of death or just sleeping, depending on who you talk to. The Palestinians want Arafat buried in Jerusalem, the Israelis don't. As you may have guessed, I think Arafat has not earned the right to be buried to Jerusalem.
I think he should be buried in Ramallah. It would be very symbolic indeed if Arafat was buried there, where he was couped up by the Israelis after he missed a glorious opportunity for a Palestinian state offered to him by Ehud Barak in 2000-01. When Arafat again resorted to violence, when he should have been preparing his people for compromise and a solution to the situation that has plagued them.
You have to give Arafat some credit for getting the Palestinian cause support from around the world in the early years, but he never prepared his people to move beyond terrorism as a means for resolving the issue. Though his all or nothing attitude, he missed chance after chance to get a deal done, in turn letting all Palestinians and all residents of the Middle East down in the process.
A burial place for Arafat in Ramallah will be a symbol for everyone on both sides of the conflict, helping them remember all the lost opportunities Arafat was responsible for, and reminding future leaders to learn from their past mistakes, not to repeat the same ones over and over, as Arafat had done.
That's why I think Ramallah would be the ideal spot for Arafat, because its the only place he managed to lead the Palestinians, to a dead end. Hopefully future leaders will have more vision and wisdom, because all parties involved deserve better leadership than Yasser Arafat could or can provide.
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