Progress Via Mortality...
Yasser Arafat is very ill according to numerous sources. No one, at this point, has been able to pinpoint the exact illness, but we have been given a plethora of symptoms and maladies which the old goat might be suffering from, running the gamut from a severe flu to gallstones. In any case, Arafat is to be taken to Paris for medical treatment, provided the Israelis let him leave and return. I believe they will let him go, but I have a feeling he won't be coming back.
The man is ancient. It's time for the old-man-bane of pneumonia to set it and finish him off. In a socialized-medicine French hospital (which usually doesn't even have air conditioning in the summer) he's almost sure to die. I for one, will shed no tears at his passing. However, the death of this piece of shit will give me a glimmer of hope.
Hope because now the "Palestinian people" will have some form of choice before them: they can either continue on the present course of attrition against a superior Israeli foe that will continue to deplete their gene pool while affecting the Israelis very little, or they can get serious and start behaving like civilized people who actually go about getting what they say they want --- peace and a nation of their own. The biggest stumbling block to both was always Arafat who loved the perogatives of power but who also knew that power was largely symbolic and linked to ensuring that conflict was constant. Arafat could never make peace and still walk around, let alone be accorded the wealth, respect and dignity afforded to a legitimate leader.
In the final analysis, when this reprobate finally shuffles off this mortal coil, a few scenarios come to mind, all of which make me somewhat giddy:
1. Palestinians get serious and conclude peace - someone emerges from the cesspool of Palestinian politics to offer the olive branch, and a Palestinian state is finally born. Any peace will, of course, be subject to several variable factors (what to do about Hamas? What happens when Pallies all over the Middle East start coming home without jobs or means of support? Do the Palestinians actually form something resembling a government? etc). An infant Palestinian state offers a great chance to observe, close up, the future --- do these people actually have the capacity for self-rule in a peaceful, meaningful manner, or was all the talk of a Free Palestine just a joke as they continue to butcher for no other reason than they have nothing else to do?
When Arafat kicks the bucket, the Palestinians will have no more excuses. They will either have to belly up to the bar and prove they are civilized folks or follow their "leader" in circling the bowl. The onus will now be where it has always belonged: on them. No more excuses about the West, the Israelis or the Boogeyman. They either produce, for their own sake, or they continue to be beggars.
2. A Bankrupt Palestinian state is formed - and millions of folks from around the Mid East suddenly show up, swamping what little social and economic system there is. The state will be stillborn, a cesspool, and a breeding ground for future terrorists. It will be found out that Arafat and his cronies siphoned off all the money and what is left will be a hollow shell: a mass of government buildings with no real government, twenty-five competing "political parties", and a return to "might-makes-right" power politics over a country and apparatus with no power. Palestinians will finally demostrate that Arabs are incapable of forming a state without outside help, if not outright occupation. All sides in the resulting chaos will cry for western help, especially American, while at the same time buying into conspiracy theories about how the West, espeically America, rigged this sorry state of affairs to hurt, embarrass, demean and humiliate the Palestinian people. The "intifada" (which is Arabic for "rock-throwing-discontents") will continue, proving once and for all that a Palestinian state was never anything more than a set of words. Palestinians will simply devolve into Boston Red Sox fans: denied their Holy Grail forever, and now having achieved it, will find something else to be miserable about.
Hamas and Al-Aqsa and all the rest of them will fight for control over the rubble (and more importantly, the EU aid that will be sure to pour in, but which will mysteriously never arrive), in which case Palestinians will be doing the world a favor by turning on each other, becoming less of a threat to Israelis and assorted passers-by.
I would probably guess that 2 happens before 1. In ether case, the targets of Palestinian violence will be other Palestinians, and while this a bad thing (violence of any kind is a bad thing, usually), at least this violence will have a good result --- the terrorists wil now kill each other. Let's see how Palestinian rhetoric about peace marches with reality when the biggest obstacle to it has been reclaimed by the earth.