It's the fifth anniversary of Yasir Arafat's super-timely demise (in the sense that it happened way too late.) PalArab papers are filled with articles about him, and about various events and rallies commemorating his "departure" (or "murder," depending on the paper.)
This article, for example, recalls how Arafat symbolized unity, as it recalls how Arafat mourned the assassination of Hamas leaders Rantisi and Sheikh Yassin, as well as terrorist Yahya Ayyash. It also points out that when Arafat was holed up in the Muqata that he would accept gifts of "candy or medicine" from all visitors and this could be how Israel supposedly poisoned him.
Islamic Jihad newspaper Palestine Today darkly hints that Arafat's death was the result of a huge conspiracy between Israel, the US, and the current PA leadership. Even Suha Arafat, his wife, is mentioned as part of the cover-up.
Islamic Jihad leader Sheikh Khaled al-Batsh praises Abbas for his unwillingness to compromise, and warns that he may face assassination the way Arafat did.
Even though Hamas had banned some celebrations of Arafat in Gaza, it came out with a statement that highlighted Yasir's terrorist cred. Hamas was pleased that Arafat spurned negotiations and went back to his terror roots in 2000.
In other news, Ma'an interviews various Palestinian Arab leaders (including plenty of terrorists) as to the wisdom of unilaterally declaring a state on the 1967 borders, which many suspect is what prime minister Fayyad is planning to do in 2011. Such a state was already declared in 1948 (for Gaza, briefly) and in 1988, and both of those are now remembered as bad jokes.
Gaza tunnel smugglers ambushed an Egyptian patrol.
Egypt stopped a number of leaders of terror groups from going to Hajj along with some 4000 other Gazans who have been streaming through the Rafah crossing in recent days (flying out of El Arish to Saudi Arabia.) I originally thought that this was from a request from Israel, as terrorists going to Hajj tend to take detours to Iran to pick up cash and military training. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case, as Egypt relented and allowed them to continue on their journey(s) this morning.
Someone has anonymously placed billboards in the West Bank saying that Al Jazeera was half owned by Israelis. Al Jazeera is upset.
Jordan admits to cooperating with Israel on preparations for natural disasters, but denies a "joint military exercise" with the IDF on that issue as had been reported in Israeli media.
Paula R. Stern – The Last Day
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