Yasser Arafat is dead. What can be said of a man who never once put the interests of his people above his own ?
Yasser Arafat could not have been more of a barbarian had he walked around with a bone in his nose. A gangster, a looter and a thug who counted as friends fellow thugs like Nicolae Ceaucescu and for periods of time crackpot dictators like Colonel Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein, Arafat never managed to do as much harm to Israel as he did to Jordan, Lebanon or the Palestinians.
As Palestinian children grew up in squalid refugee camps Yasser Arafat, surrounded by his beefy, East Bloc-trained bodyguards, squired away billions of dollars donated on their behalf. His signal service to mankind was showing up at the rostrum of the United Nations, gun on hip, to lusty cheers - demonstrating that the institution designed as the repository of the best values of the Liberal West was in truth little more than a commode for dictatorships.
In the end, addled, doddering about the ruins of his Ramallah headquarters, Arafat reigned over the unlimited misery of his people who clung to him only as a symbol of hatred - sort of a walking, talking slogan that screamed " Death to the Jews !". He could neither be removed nor gotten around, negotiated with or permanently defeated. He was simply there.