Message in Arafatís Headdress
By Jeff Jacoby, 5/23/2002
Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe
THE NEXT TIME you see a picture of Yasser Arafat,
look at his headdress. He wears it in an unusual style, carefully folded so
that it comes to a peak at the top, drapes down over his left shoulder, then tapers to a point at the bottom.
Arafat's oddly arranged keffiyeh is meant to
resemble the map of ''Palestine'' -
the Arab state whose creation is his all-consuming goal. It is an emphatic
symbol: Arafat conveys to everyone who sees him that Palestine
is always on his mind.
But look again. The shape of Arafat's keffiyeh
doesn't correspond with Palestine
at all - not if Palestine means the
West Bank and Gaza.
What it resembles is the map of Israel
- the whole of Israel,
from the northern peak of the Galilee, down along the
Mediterranean coast, and from there to the southern
tip at Eilat.
In short, the Palestine that is
always on Arafat's mind is not an Arab state that coexists with Israel
but an Arab state that takes the place of Israel.
The message conveyed by his keffiyeh is indeed
emphatic: It is a message of war without end.
The notion that Palestine equals
all of Israel -
and that all of Israel
must be ''liberated'' to create a Palestinian Arab state - is no idiosyncracy on Arafat's part. It is an axiom of the
Palestinian movement, constantly repeated in its basic documents, its domestic
rhetoric, its educational curriculum - and its maps.
Visit www.fateh.net, the Web site of Al-Fatah,
Arafat's faction of the PLO, and the first image you see is the Fatah emblem: a map of ''Palestine''
behind crossed guns. But the country depicted is Israel,
from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean
Sea. (On the same Web site you can read the Fatah
constitution, which says the organization's goal is the ''complete liberation
of Palestine, and eradication of
Zionist ... existence.'')
Fatah isn't the only PLO faction whose emblem
features a map of Palestine that
comprises all of Israel.
Most of them do, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,
the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestine Liberation
Front, Al-Saika, and the PLO itself. (You can see the
PFLP logo at www.pflp-palestine.org. Most of the others have been gathered at www.iris.org.il/ whoswho.htm, the Web site of Information
Regarding Israel's Security.)
There is nothing subtle about these symbols or their Palestine-equals-Israel
maps. They are calls for Israel's
abolition. With the signing of the Oslo
peace accords - which began with Arafat's solemn pledge that ''the PLO
recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security'' -
all of them should have been scrapped. And it should go without saying that
maps depicting all of Israel
as Palestine ought to have no place
at all in the Palestinian Authority, the civil administration that rules the
Sadly, they are ubiquitous.
Maps of ''Palestine'' on the
walls of Arafat's offices - occasionally seen in news photos or television
footage - are actually maps of Israel.
Agencies of the Palestinian Authority use the shape of Israel
to denote Palestine in their
emblems, stationery, and Web sites. Click on www.mopa.gov.ps
- the cyber-home of Arafat's Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs - and a large
map of Israel
appears. The logo of the Ministry of Industry is a stylized map of Israel
drawn in the Palestinian colors (www.industry.gov.ps).
And the colorful ''Map of Palestine'' offered by the Palestinian Central Bureau
of Statistics is, in reality, a colorful map of Israel
(see it at www.pcbs.org/english/pal -map.htm).
It would take far more room than I have here to list all of the Palestinian
agencies, publications, organizations, and Web sites in which Palestine
is shown as encompassing all of Israel.
But at this late date, is it really necessary to prove that Arafat's goal, and
that of his regime, is the liquidation of the Jewish state?
On the day he signed the first Oslo
accord at the White House in 1993, Arafat told an interviewer that the agreement
''will be a basis for an independent Palestinian state in accordance with the
Palestine National Council resolution issued in 1974.'' He was referring to the
PLO's ''phased plan,'' which was adopted in Cairo
on June 9, 1974. It calls
for establishing a Palestinian state on any Israeli land that can be acquired
through negotiation, then using that territory as a forward base for
''liberating'' the rest of Israel
Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have never repudiated the phased plan;
on the contrary, they have reiterated it time and again. ''The Oslo
accord was a preface for the Palestinian Authority,'' one of Arafat's
government ministers, Abdul Aziz Shaheen,
said in 1998, ''and the Palestinian Authority will be a preface for the
Palestinian state which, in its turn, will be a preface for the liberation of
the entire Palestinian land.''
Palestinians and Israelis will never know peace until Arafat and his
irredentist vision are expunged from Palestinian life. You will know that has
happened when the word ''Israel''
appears on Palestinian maps.