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The communist roots of Palestinian terror

Vrijdag, December 14, 2007 / Last Modified: Zaterdag, Januari 13, 2018

December 14, 2007.

The following is a chapter from David Meir-Levi’s new book, History Upside
Down: The Roots of Palestinian Fascism and the Myth of Israeli Aggression.

The Terrorism Awareness Project previous printed his history of the
“right-wing” influence on Islamic extremism, “The Nazi Roots of Palestinian
Nationalism and Islamic Jihad.” Taken together (with his entire book), these
chapters show that Islamofascism is a political, not merely a religious force; and
the potent and deadly offspring of the totalitarian ideologies of the past. — The Editors.

Although many Nazis found new and ideologically welcoming homes in Egypt
and Syria after World War II, the Grand Mufti’s Palestinian national movement
itself, bereft of its Nazi patron, was an orphan. No sovereign state of any
consequence supported it.

On the contrary, most of the surrounding Arab states, all of them
buoyed by postcolonial nationalism and looking for political stability, perceived
the Palestinian cause, especially as embodied in the Muslim Brotherhood, as a
threat. Egypt aggressively suppressed the Brotherhood. Saudi and Jordanian
royalty watched the growth of radical Islam with suspicion. Syria and Lebanon,
trying to move toward more open societies in the pre-Ba’athist era, feared the
Brotherhood’s opposition to western-style civil rights and liberties and its fierce
condemnation of westernized Arab societies.

More to the point, each of these states coveted some or all of what was
formerly British Mandatory Palestine and were no more enthusiastic about the
creation of a new Arab state there than they were about the creation of Israel.
As a result of these complex national ambitions and antagonisms, no state for
the Arabs of British Mandatory Palestine was created.

Even though Israel offered the return of territories gained in the 1948
war at the Rhodes armistice conference of February 1949, the Arab leaders
(among whom there were no representatives from the Arabs of the former
Palestine) rejected Israel’s peace offers, declared jihad, and condemned the
Arab refugees to eternal refugee status, while also illegally occupying the
remaining areas that the United Nations had envisioned as a Palestinian state –
as Arafat himself tells us in his authorized biography (Alan Hart, Arafat:
Terrorist or Peace Maker?).

Egypt herded Palestinian Arabs into refugee camps in its new fiefdom in
the Gaza Strip, assassinated their leaders, and shot anyone who tried to leave.
Jordan illegally annexed the west Bank and maintained martial law over it for
the next nineteen years.

Egypt was particularly conscious of the threat the Muslim Brotherhood posed to
the westernized and increasingly secularized society it was trying to build, and
both King Farouk and later Gamal Abdel Nasser took brutal and effective steps
to repress the movement. They also made sure that the 350,000 Palestinians
whom the Egyptian army had herded into refugee camps in Gaza would develop
no nationalist sentiments or activism.

Egyptian propaganda worked hard to redirect the Palestinians’ justifiable
anti-Egypt sentiments toward an incendiary hatred of Israel. Its secret police
engineered the creation and deployment of the fedayeen (terrorist infiltrators)
movement, which between 1949 and 1956 carried out over nine thousand
terror attacks against Israel, killing more than six hundred Israelis and wounding
thousands. These fedayeen were mostly Arab refugees, trained and armed by
Egypt.

As the conflict with Israel hardened throughout the 1950s, Nasser came to see
that Palestinian nationalism, if carefully manipulated, could be an asset instead
of just a threat and an annoyance. Although the fedayeen terrorism prompted
Israel to invade the Sinai in 1956, the Egyptian leader saw the value in being
able to deploy a force that did his bidding but was not part of Egypt’s formal
military; which could make tactical strikes and then disappear into the
amorphous demography of the west Bank or the Gaza Strip, giving Egypt
plausible deniability for the mayhem it had created.

But Nasser’s ability to support such a useful terrorist group was limited
by the failed economy over which he presided; and so, in 1964, he was
delighted to cooperate with the Soviet Union in the creation of the Palestine
Liberation Organization (PLO).

Brainchild of the KGB

As Ion Mihai Pacepa, onetime director of the Romanian espionage service (DIE),
later explained, the PLO was conceived at a time when the KGB was creating
‘liberation front’ organizations throughout the Third world. Others included the
National Liberation Army of Bolivia, created in 1964 with help from Ernesto
“Che” Guevara, and the National Liberation Army of Colombia, created in 1965
with help from Fidel Castro. But the PLO was the KGB’s most enduring
achievement.

In 1964, the first PLO Council, consisting of 422 Palestinian representatives
handpicked by the KGB, approved the Soviet blueprint for a Palestinian National
Charter – a document drafted in Moscow – and made Ahmad Shukairy, the
KGB’s agent of influence, the first PLO chairman. The Romanian intelligence
service was given responsibility for providing the PLO with logistical support.
Except for the arms, which were supplied by the KGB and the East German
Stasi, everything, according to Ion Pacepa, “came from Bucharest. Even the
PLO uniforms and the PLO stationery were manufactured in Romania free of
charge, as a ‘comradely help’. During those years, two Romanian cargo planes
filled with goodies for the PLO landed in Beirut every week.”

The PLO came on the scene at a critical moment in Middle East history. At the
Khartoum conference held shortly after the Six-Day war, the defeated and
humiliated Arab states confronted the ‘new reality’ of an Israel that seemed
unbeatable in conventional warfare. The participants of the conference decided,
among other things, to continue the war against Israel as what today would be
called a ‘low intensity conflict’. The PLO’s Fatah forces were perfect to carry
out this mission.

The Soviets not only armed and trained Palestinian terrorists but also used them
to arm and train other professional terrorists by the thousands. The
International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party
(CPSU), the Soviet Security Police (KGB), and Soviet Military Intelligence (GRU)
all played major roles in this effort. From the late 1960s onwards, moreover,
the PLO maintained contact with other terror groups – some of them neo-Nazi
and extreme right-wing groups – offering them support and supplies, training
and funding.

The Soviets also built Moscow’s Patrice Lumumba People’s Friendship
University to serve as a base of indoctrination and training of potential ‘freedom
fighters’ from the Third world. More specialized training in terrorism was
provided at locations in Baku, Odessa, Simferopol, and Tashkent. Mahmoud
Abbas, later to succeed Yassir Arafat as head of the PLO, was a graduate of
Patrice Lumumba U, where he received his Ph.D. in 1982 after completing a
thesis partly based on Holocaust denial.

Cuba was also used as a base for terrorist training and Marxist indoctrination,
part of a symbiotic relationship between its revolutionary cadre and the PLO.
The Cuban intelligence service (DGI) was under the direct command of the KGB
after 1968. Palestinian terrorists were identified in Havana as early as 1966;
and in the 1970s DGI representatives were dispatched to PLO camps in
Lebanon to assist terrorists being nurtured by the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). In late April 1979, an agreement was reached for
the PFLP to have several hundred of its terrorists trained in Cuba, following a
meeting between its chief George Habash and Cuban officials.

The PLO and the Arab States

In the chaotic aftermath of the Six-Day war, Yassir Arafat had seen an
opportunity for himself and his still embryonic Fatah terror organization in the
rubble of the Arab nations’ war machines and the humiliation of the Arab world.
He forged an alliance with President Nasser, whom he won over to his belief
that after traditional warfare had failed them yet again, the future of the conflict
for the Arabs was in the realm of terrorism, not the confrontation of massed
armies.

From September to December 1967, Nasser supported Arafat in his
attempt to infiltrate the west Bank and to develop a grassroots foundation for a
major terror war against Israel. These efforts were unsuccessful because local
west Bank Palestinians cooperated with Israel and aided in the pursuit of Arafat
and his Fatah operatives.

Despite such setbacks, Arafat later described this era in his authorized
biography as the time of his most successful statecraft. When word reached
him of Israel’s post-Six- Day-war peace overtures to the recently defeated Arab
countries, he and his adjutants understood at once that if there were ever
peace between Israel and Jordan, for instance, there would be no hope for a
Palestinian state. So he set off on a grueling exercise in shuttle diplomacy
throughout the major Arab countries, preaching the need to reject
unconditionally any peace agreement with the Jewish state.

Arafat later claimed credit for the results of the Khartoum conference (August-
September 1967), in which all the Arab dictators unanimously voted to reject
Israel’s offer to return much of the land it had occupied as a result of the war in
exchange for peace. Had he not intervened, Israel might conceivably have made
peace with Jordan, and the west Bank would have reverted to Jordanian
sovereignty, leaving his dream of leading a state there stillborn.

But while Arafat’s proposals to engage in a continuing terror war might
be enthusiastically received by Arab leaders, there was no support to speak of
among the Arabs of the west Bank, who readily gave him up to Israeli
authorities. Arafat was forced to flee with the Israel Defense Forces hot on his
trail, and finally established a base for his force in the city of Salt, in
southwestern Jordan. From there he executed terrorist raids across the Jordan
river and began to set up clandestine contacts with officers in the Jordan
Legion, almost half of whom were Palestinians.

The Israeli army, under the direction of Moshe Dayan, launched a limited
invasion of Jordan in March 1968 to stop Arafat’s raids. Its objective was the
village of Karama, near the Jordan river, where most of Arafat’s men were
encamped. The raid took a terrible toll of terrorist fighters. when Jordanian
artillery forces, under the command of Palestinians, unexpectedly opened fire
on the Israeli force, the Israelis retreated, not wishing to escalate the raid into a
confrontation with Jordan.

Showing his brilliance as a propagandist, Arafat redefined Israel’s strategic
retreat into a rout. Organizing his defeated and demoralized force into a
cavalcade, he marched into Salt with guns firing victoriously in the air, claiming
in effect that it was his force, rather than fear of a diplomatic incident, that had
caused the Israelis to move back. Arafat claimed that he had liberated both
Palestinian and Jordanian karameh (“dignity” in Palestinian Arabic) by smashing
the Israeli force and driving it back across the Jordan river in shame and
disarray. It was pure fiction, but the Arabs believed it.

Soon money and recruits were pouring in, and Arafat was able to reconstitute
and equip his haggard Fatah force. Shrewdly leveraging his “victory”, Arafat
challenged Ahmad Shukairy as head of the PLO in February 1969. Acting
through Nasser, the Soviets backed Arafat and he emerged as the unchallenged
leader of the Arab terrorist war against Israel. while remaining distinct
organizations, the PLO and Fatah were unified beneath the umbrella of his
leadership.

At this point, Soviet involvement became critical. Under Russian tutelage,
Arafat signed the ‘Cairo Agreement’ in November 1969, which allowed him,
with overt Egyptian and Syrian backing and covert Russian support, to move a
large part of his force into southern Lebanon. There they set up centers of
operation to prepare for terror attacks against Israel’s northern border, while
Arafat and the rest of his force remained in Jordan.

The three years of Arafat’s sojourn in Jordan were not without internal
problems. Fatah terrorists routinely clashed with Jordanian soldiers (more than
nine hundred armed encounters between 1967 and 1970). Arafat’s men used
Mafia tactics to smuggle cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol, and to extort money
from local Jordanians, setting up roadblocks to exact tolls and kidnapping
notables for ransom to finance “the revolution”. When Jordanian forces tried to
keep order, Fatah engaged and in some cases killed them. Jordan’s King
Hussein was not eager for a confrontation.

Faced with Arafat’s threats of civil war, he offered the PLO leader a position in
the Jordanian parliament. Arafat refused, saying that his only goal in life was to
destroy Israel. When the U.S. assistant secretary of state, Joseph Cisco, came
to Jordan in April 1970, Arafat organized massive anti-American riots
throughout the country, during which one American military attache was
murdered and another kidnapped. Humiliated before his most important ally,
Hussein did nothing.

In July 1970, Egypt and Jordan accepted U.S. secretary of state William
Rogers’ plan for Israel’s withdrawal from the west Bank and Gaza in exchange
for peace and recognition. But instead of embracing the plan and taking control
of the West Bank and Gaza, Arafat denounced the Rogers proposal, reiterating
his determination to reject any peace agreement. He then organized riots
throughout Jordan in order to prevent a political solution. The liberated
Palestine he sought would stretch from the Jordan river to the sea, with no
Israel, and could only be achieved through fire and blood. All peace agreements
that left Israel intact were in his view betrayals of the Palestinian cause.

Nasser was furious and let King Hussein know that he had withdrawn his
support for Arafat. Blundering ahead, Arafat announced it was now time to
overthrow King Hussein, and he launched an insurrection.

Throughout August 1970, fighting between Arafat’s forces and the Jordan
Legion escalated. Arafat looked forward to support from Syria when he
launched his final coup, but the Syrians had backed off because they had
learned that the United States had given Israel a green light to intervene if they
became involved.

The final straw came on September 6, 1970, when the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), nominally under Arafat’s control, skyjacked one
Swiss and two American airliners. Two of the planes landed in Jordan, where
they were emptied of their passengers and then blown up. The passengers
were held as hostages, to be released in exchange for PLO and other terrorists
in Israeli jails.

At this point, King Hussein declared martial law, and ordered Arafat and
his men out of Jordan. Arafat responded by demanding a national unity
government with himself at its head. Hussein then ordered his 55,000 soldiers
and 300 tanks to attack PLO forces in Amman, Salt, Irbid, and all Palestinian
refugee camps.

In eleven days it was over. Seeing his forces tottering on the brink of total
defeat and perhaps annihilation, Arafat, having promptly fled to safety in
Sudan, agreed to face a tribunal of Arab leaders who would adjudicate an end
to the conflict. After six hours of deliberation, the rulers of Egypt, Kuwait,
Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan decided in favor of King Hussein.

And to make matters worse, Arafat’s last patron, the dictator Nasser,
died of a heart attack while seeing members of the tribunal off at the Cairo
airport. As Hussein forced the remaining PLO terrorists out of his cities, Arafat
had no choice but to leave. By March 1971, he had made his way clandestinely
to Lebanon, the only Arab country too weak to throw him out.

Once in Lebanon, he sought to take control of the PLO forces, but he
discovered that his chief surviving officers quite correctly blamed him for the
Jordan debacle, which had become known as ‘Black September’. Their
resentment for the great and senseless loss of life in Jordan led to two attempts
on his life.

Arafat not only survived, but was able to use his ample diplomatic skills to turn
the tables on his opponents inside Fatah and the PLO. He argued that in the
few short years that he had led his liberation army, he had awakened
Palestinian nationalism (in fact, he had virtually invented it), recruited and
armed a substantial terror army (the PLO forces in Lebanon were unscathed by
the Black September catastrophe), initiated war against Israel, rebuffed efforts
by Egypt and Syria to control the PLO, made his organization into a state within
a state in both Jordan and Lebanon, and raised substantial support from a
growing number of rich expatriate Palestinians and supporters throughout the
Arab world.

By early 1971, despite the animosity that his debacle in Jordan had
engendered, he successfully reestablished himself as the unchallenged PLO
military and political leader.

Arafat’s ability to stay at the top of Fatah and the PLO in Lebanon was the
result, at least in part, of the support he received from the USSR. Soviet
interest in Arafat was motivated largely by his success in organizing and
motivating his terrorist followers.

The Soviet Union’s Cold war agenda required someone with just those
talents to expand and develop the terror arm of Soviet activity in the Third
world, and especially in the Muslim world. Within a few years, Russian-trained
PLO operatives were manning a dozen terror-training camps in Syria and
Lebanon, and deploying terror cells across the globe from Germany to
Nicaragua, Turkey to Iran.

By 1973, Arafat was a Soviet puppet (and would remain such until the fall of
the USSR). His adjutants, including Mahmoud Abbas, were being trained by the
KGB in guerrilla warfare, espionage, and demolition; and his ideologues had
gone to North Vietnam to learn the propaganda Tao of Ho Chi Minh.

The PLO Discovers ‘Wars of National Liberation’

As early as 1964, Arafat had sent Abu Jihad (later the leader of the PLO’s
military operations) to North Vietnam to study the strategy and tactics of
guerrilla warfare as waged by Ho Chi Minh. At this time, Fatah also translated
the writings of North Vietnam’s General Nguyen Giap, as well as the works of
Mao and Che Guevara, into Arabic.

Arafat was particularly struck by Ho Chi Minh’s success in mobilizing left-wing
sympathizers in Europe and the United States, where activists on American
campuses, enthusiastically following the line of North Vietnamese operatives,
had succeeded in reframing the Vietnam war from a Communist assault on the
south to a struggle for national liberation.

Ho’s chief strategist, General Giap, made it clear to Arafat and his
lieutenants that in order to succeed, they too needed to redefine the terms of
their struggle. Giap’s counsel was simple but profound: the PLO needed to
work in a way that concealed its real goals, permitted strategic deception, and
gave the appearance of moderation:

“Stop talking about annihilating Israel and instead turn your terror war
into a struggle for human rights. Then you will have the American people eating
out of your hand.”

At the same time that he was getting advice from General Giap, Arafat was also
being tutored by Muhammad Yazid, who had been minister of information in
two Algerian wartime governments (1958-1962): wipe out the argument that
Israel is a small state whose existence is threatened by the Arab states, or the
reduction of the Palestinian problem to a question of refugees; instead, present
the Palestinian struggle as a struggle for liberation like the others.

Wipe out the impression that in the struggle between the Palestinians
and the Zionists, the Zionist is the underdog. Now it is the Arab who is
oppressed and victimized in his existence because he is not only facing the
Zionists but also world imperialism.

To make sure that they followed this advice, the KGB put Arafat and his
adjutants into the hands of a master of propaganda: Nicolai Ceausescu,
president-for-life of Romania.

For the next few years, Ceausescu hosted Arafat frequently and gave him
lessons on how to apply the advice of Giap, Yazid, and others in the Soviet
orbit. Arafat’s personal ‘handler’, Ion Mihai Pacepa, the head of the Romanian
military intelligence, had to work hard on his sometimes unruly protege. Pacepa
later recorded a number of sessions during which Arafat railed against
Ceausescu’s injunctions that the PLO should present itself as a people’s
revolutionary army striving to right wrongs and free the oppressed: he wanted
only to obliterate Israel.

Gradually, though, Ceausescu’s lessons in Machiavellian statecraft sank
in. During his early Lebanon years, Arafat developed propaganda tactics that
would allow him to create the image of a homeless people oppressed by a
colonial power. This makeover would serve him well in the west for decades to
come.

Although Arafat was pioneering the use of skyjacking during this time
and setting off a wave of copycat airborne terrorism, he discovered that even
the flimsiest and most transparent excuses sufficed for the western media to
exonerate him and blame Israel for its retaliatory or preventive attacks, and to
accept his insistence that he was a statesman who could not control the
terrorists he was in fact orchestrating.

But while Arafat was finally absorbing and applying the lessons he learned from
his Romanian and North Vietnamese hosts and handlers, as Pacepa describes it
in Red Horizons, the Soviets still questioned his dependability. So, with
Pacepa’s help, they created a highly specialized ‘insurance policy’. Using the
good offices of the Romanian ambassador to Egypt, they secretly taped
Arafat’s almost nightly homosexual interactions with his bodyguards and with
the unfortunate preteen orphan boys whom Ceausescu provided for him as part
of ‘Romanian hospitality’.

With videotapes of Arafat’s voracious pedophilia in their vault, and
knowing the traditional attitude toward homosexuality in Islam, the KGB felt
that Arafat would continue to be a reliable asset for the Kremlin.

Whether or not Arafat’s homosexuality was the key to the Soviets’ control over
him, it is clear that by the early 1970s the PLO had joined the ranks of other
socialist anti-colonial ‘liberation’ movements, both in its culture and in its
politics; and had reframed its terror war as a “people’s war” similar to those of
the other Marxist-Leninist terrorist guerrillas in China, Cuba, and Vietnam.

Thanks to input from Ceausescu, General Giap, and the Algerians, Arafat
gradually saw the wisdom of jettisoning his fulminations about “throwing the
Jews into the sea”, and in its place he developed the images of the “illegal
occupation” and “Palestinian national self-determination”, both of which lent his
terrorism the mantle of a legitimate people’s resistance.

Of course, there was one ingredient missing in this imaginative reconfiguration
of the struggle: There had never been a ‘Palestinian people’, or a ‘Palestinian
nation’, or a sovereign state known as ‘Palestine’.

Creating ‘Palestine’

The term Palestine ( in Arabic) was an ancient name for the general geographic
region that is more or less today’s Israel. The name derives from the Philistines,
who originated from the Eastern Mediterranean and invaded the region in the
eleventh and twelfth centuries B.C. The Philistines were apparently from
Greece, or perhaps Crete, or the Aegean Islands, or Ionia. They seem to be
related to the Bronze Age Greeks, and they spoke a language akin to
Mycenaean Greek.

Their descendants were still living on the shores of the Mediterranean when
roman invaders arrived a thousand years later. The Romans corrupted the name
to ‘Palestina’, and the area under the sovereignty of their littoral city states
became known as ‘Philistia’. Six hundred years later, the Arab invaders called
the region ‘Falastin’.

Throughout all subsequent history, the name designated only a vague
geographical entity. There was never a nation of ‘Palestine’, never a people
known as the ‘Palestinians’, nor any notion of ‘historic Palestine’. The region
never enjoyed any sovereign autonomy, but instead remained under successive
foreign sovereign domains, from the Umayyads and Abbasids to the Fatimids,
Ottomans and British.

During the British Mandate period (1922-1948), the Arabs of the area
had their own designation for the region: Balad esh-Sham (the country, or
province, of Damascus). In early 1947, in fact, when the UN was exploring the
possibility of the partition of British Mandatory Palestine into two states, one for
the Jews and one for the Arabs, various Arab political and academic
spokespersons vociferously protested against such a division because, they
argued, the region was really a part of southern Syria. Because no such people
as ‘Palestinians’ had ever existed, it would be an injustice to Syria to create a
state ex nihilo at the expense of Syrian sovereign territory.

During the nineteen years from Israel’s victory in 1948 to Israel’s victory in the
Six-Day war, all that remained of the territory initially set aside for the Arabs of
British Mandatory Palestine under the conditions of the UN partition was the
West Bank, under illegal Jordanian sovereignty, and the Gaza Strip, under illegal
Egyptian rule.

Never during these nineteen years did any Arab leader anywhere in the
world argue for the right of national self-determination for the Arabs of these
territories.

Even Yassir Arafat, from his earliest terrorist days until 1967, used the
term ‘Palestinians’ only to refer to the Arabs who lived under, or had fled from,
Israeli sovereignty; and the term ‘Palestine’ only to refer to Israel in its pre-1967
borders.

In the PLO’s original founding Charter (or Covenant), Article 24 states: “this
Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the west Bank in
the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in the Gaza Strip or the Himmah area.”

For Arafat, ‘Palestine’ was not the west Bank or the Gaza Strip, which
after 1948 belonged to other Arab states. The only ‘homeland’ for the PLO in
1964 was the State of Israel.

However, in response to the Six-Daywar and Arafat’s mentoring by the Soviets
and their allies, the PLO revised its Charter on July 17, 1968, to remove the
language of Article 24, thereby newly asserting a ‘Palestinian’ claim of
sovereignty to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Part of the reframing of the conflict, along with adopting the identity of an
‘oppressed people’ and ‘victim of colonialism’, then, was the creation, ex nihilo,
of ‘historic Palestine’ and the ancient ‘Palestinian people’ who had lived in their
‘homeland’ from ‘time immemorial’, who could trace their ‘heritage’ back to the
Canaanites, who were forced from their homeland by the Zionists, and who had
the inalienable right granted by international law and universal justice to use
terror to reclaim their national identity and political self-determination.

That this was a political confection was, perhaps inadvertently, revealed to the
West by Zahir Muhse’in, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, in a 1977
interview with the Amsterdam-based newspaper Trouw:

The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a
Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of
Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between
Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical
reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since
Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct
‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism.” [Emphasis added.]

Arafat himself asserted the same principle on many occasions. In his authorized
biography he says, “The Palestinian people have no national identity. I,
Yasir Arafat, man of destiny, will give them that identity through conflict with
Israel.”

But even these admissions – that the concept of a ‘Palestinian people’ and a
‘Palestinian homeland’ were invented for political purposes to justify and
legitimize terrorism and genocide – could not stem the enthusiasm of western
leaders. Within the space of a few years, the Middle East conflict with Israel
was radically reframed. No longer was little Israel the vulnerable David standing
against the massive Goliath of the Arab world.

As the PLO’s Communist-trained leaders saw the inroads that Vietnam,
Cuba, and other ‘liberation struggles’ had made in the west, Arafat promoted
the same script for the Palestinians. Now it was Israel who was the bullying
Goliath, a colonial power in the Middle East oppressing the impoverished,
unarmed, helpless, hapless, and hopeless Palestinians.

Despite the changing imagery, however, one thing remained constant. From his
earliest days, Arafat was clear that the PLO’s aim was “not to impose our will
on [Israel], but to destroy it in order to take its place . . . not to subjugate the
enemy but to destroy him.”

The Palestinian nationalism that he and his Communist advisers created would
be the only national movement for political self-determination in the entire
world, and across all of world history, to have the destruction of a sovereign
state and the genocide of a people as its only raison d’etre.

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