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Monday, January 01, 2007

PalArabs say again that Arafat was murdered

Here's an object lesson in how activist "journalism" can create lies out of whole cloth.

Stephen Lendman, who writes for far-left rags like Counterpunch, claims to have unearthed evidence from a French book by the late Uri Dan that claims that Ariel Sharon assassinated Yasir Arafat. The Palestinian Arab has been highlighting this story, although it has barely created a ripple in the West.

Let's look a little closer at what Lendman writes:
Former Longtime Confidant Accuses Ariel Sharon of Assassinating Yasser Arafat - by Stephen Lendman

Longtime and now recently deceased confidant to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Uri Dan, published a book in France that may have been his 2006 one titled Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait in which he accused the former prime minister of assassinating Palestinian Authority (PA) President Yasser Arafat by poisoning him.
OK, Lendman is saying straight out that Dan accused Sharon of assassinating Arafat. Here's Lendman's evidence:
Dan claimed Sharon got approval from George Bush by phone early in 2004 to proceed with his plan after he told the US president he was no longer committed to "not" liquidating the Palestinian leader who then was under siege and practically incarcerated in what remained of his Ramallah compound, most of which had already been destroyed by the Israelis in a lawless act of retribution against him.
So his evidence is that Sharon felt that he was allowed to kill Arafat. That's it. He adds stupid irrelevant (and well-known) facts to buttress this idiotic argument:
Based on his record during his tenure as Texas governor, when he authorized more death row inmate executions than any US governor in history (and was called by some the Texecutioner), this revelation should come as no surprise. It's even clearer based on Ariel Sharon's boast once about his relationship with George Bush saying: "We have the US president under our control."
Of course Lendman, completely out of evidence and completely unbound by journalistic integrity, throws in a complete fabricated quote from Sharon (and he doesn't even get the fabricated quote right!)
Arafat died in Paris on November 11, 2004 at age 75. He was taken there on October 29 that year and hospitalized for treatment for an undiagnosed illness that began developing in April and became serious enough for him to need special care. It may have already been too late when he arrived as he slipped into a coma on November 3 and remained in that state till his death eight days later from what was explained at the time as complications from a blood disorder. Indeed it may have been true if his blood was poisoned by a substance able to work slowly and from which no cure was possible at least once the former Palestinian leader arrived in Paris.

To those knowledgeable about Israel's history since it became a state in 1948 and earlier, this revelation, if true, should come as no surprise.


In other words, Uri Dan said no such thing (and Lendman isn't even sure if he has the right book!) but that's enough for this ersatz "journalist" to make wild, unfounded accusations.

Even funnier is that all of this information had been widely available in 2004:
But Uri Dan, a Sharon confidant, wrote in November 2004 that he remembered meetings in 1982 held by Sharon, then defense minister, in his Tel Aviv office "in which he asked the heads of the Mossad when they would finally carry out Prime Minister Menachem Begin's order to eliminate Arafat."

In September 2003, Sharon's vice prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said of Arafat that "killing him is definitely one of the options." He added: "We are trying to eliminate all the heads of terror, and Arafat is one of the heads of terror."

There have been reports in the Israeli press of a secret cabinet decision made in late 2003 to eliminate Arafat, which Dan describes as "a deliberately vaguely worded decision to remove Arafat, since he was an obstacle to peace." Officials have hinted that operational plans were drawn up to eliminate Arafat, although they say no action was taken.

Under American pressure, Sharon agreed simply to isolate Arafat in his Ramallah headquarters after the Israeli military operation to retake control of the West Bank in the spring of 2002.

But Sharon himself said he informed President George W. Bush on April 14, 2004, that he no longer felt bound by his promise to Bush in March 2001 not to harm Arafat, Dan says.

"President Bush replied that it would perhaps be best to leave Arafat's fate in the hands of the Almighty. Sharon said that one should sometimes help Him."

It is no surprise then, Dan concluded, that many Palestinians "are spreading a conspiracy theory that Israel poisoned Arafat."

Now, if Sharon had ordered the assassination fo Arafat it wouldn't bother me in the least, but Lendman has uncovered no evidence at all. That doesn't stop him from publishing it everywhere he can find, thinking he has a scoop, and it doesn't stop the paranoid PalArabs and their terror supporters from taking the story and running with it.
The Ma'an "news" agency added a detail:

>Another writer, Amnon Kabilok, wrote a revision of the book which is entitled 'Sharon,' in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. He inquired how Uri Dan knew about the sickness of Arafat and its causes and symptoms months in advance of the deceased's symptoms appearing.

Amnon said that while reviewing a book by Uri Dan, he received the news that the author of that book has passed away. He also said that he struggled to get a copy of the book, which he finally obtained with the help of a French friend.
So this Kabilok was writing a revision of Dan's book, apparently without meeting Dan (who only died last month), but he didn't have a copy of the book he was revising. Yes, this all makes sense!

This is the state of terror journalism - know the facts before you look for evidence, and then make the "evidence" fit the facts. (Of course, this seems to be the state of mainstream journalism as well.)

So now the PalArab press is filled with new accusations that they claim Sharon's friend and confidante stated.

And they are, simply, lying.