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Saturday, November 13, 2004

CNN.com - Cheney leaves hospital after tests on heart - Nov 13, 2004

CNN.com - Cheney leaves hospital after tests on heart - Nov 13, 2004Cheney leaves hospital after tests on heart
Vice president had shortness of breath Saturday morning
Saturday, November 13, 2004 Posted: 7:16 PM EST (0016 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney underwent tests at a hospital Saturday after experiencing shortness of breath, the White House said.

Cheney walked out of George Washington University Hospital on Saturday afternoon, smiled and waved to reporters, but made no comment. Asked how she felt about the incident, his wife, Lynne, said, "Great. Thanks."

An electrocardiogram and a scan of the vice president's implant cardioverter defibrillator showed nothing abnormal, White House adviser Mary Matalin said.

Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, said Cheney has been suffering from a cold recently. (Cheney's health history)

Cheney returned from an annual pheasant hunting trip in South Dakota within the past few days, Matalin said.

Cheney experienced shortness of breath Saturday morning while at his residence and talked to his cardiologist, Matalin said. There was no indication the shortness of breath was related to his heart, but Dr. Jonathan Reiner recommended the hospital tests, given Cheney's history.

"But this was not a scramble," she said. "They went there calmly and in regular order."

Matalin talked to Cheney about two hours before he left for the hospital and told CNN "he sounded fine" and was joking and talking about the recent campaign.

Cheney undergoes regular heart checkups, she said. His most recent EKG, within in the past month or so, was normal.

History of heart problems
Cheney, 63, has had four heart attacks.

His health has been a persistent concern since he was picked as President Bush's running mate in 2000. He had three mild heart attacks and quadruple-bypass surgery before he was 50, and one attack since.

His first came in 1978, when he was 37.

He underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 1988. A coronary stent was inserted in November 2000.

The implant cardioverter defibrillator, a device that monitors and normalizes an irregular heartbeat, was put into his chest in June 2001. Cheney refers to it as his "pacemaker plus."

In May 2004, doctors gave Cheney a clean bill of health after his annual heart checkup. They found that his pacemaker had detected no irregular heartbeat.

President Bush and Cheney won re-election November 2 after a grueling year on the campaign trail.

Cheney, a former defense secretary and congressman, is considered a policy-maker and, outside of the campaign trail, does not often appear in public.

CNN's John King and Elaine Quijano in Washington contributed to this story

Yahoo! News - China urges calm after Japan demands apology for submarine intrusion

Yahoo! News - China urges calm after Japan demands apology for submarine intrusionChina urges calm after Japan demands apology for submarine intrusion

Sat Nov 13, 8:26 AM ET World - AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - China urged Japan to stay calm in solving bilateral disputes a day after Tokyo demanded an apology for the intrusion of a Chinese nuclear submarine into Japanese waters.
"Sometimes there are problems between China and Japan, but we should respect each other and need to seek a solution in a calm manner," Chinese Ambassador Wang Yi told a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in western Japan.

Wang made no direct reference to the submarine incident, according to Jiji Press, but used the speech to take a new swipe at Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi over his visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine which honors Japanese war dead including convicted war criminals.

If Japan "justifies class-A war criminals, who were the symbols of Japanese militarism, it not only hurts the feelings of Chinese people but reverses the foundation of Sino-Japanese relations," Wang said.

China harbors deep resentment over its brutal occupation by Japan from 1931 to 1945. Bilateral friction has been growing, including over Koizumi's visits to the shrine and a gas field disputed by the major energy importers.


Japan says the submarine violated its waters for two hours Wednesday near the disputed gas field, triggering a two-day chase on the high seas.

After initial caution about blaming its neighbor, Japan said Friday that the submarine belonged to the Chinese navy and demanded an apology. It summoned Chinese embassy number two Cheng Yonghua, as the ambassador was out of Tokyo.

Cheng told Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura he could not apologize as his government's investigation over the submarine was pending, a Japanese diplomat in Beijing said.

Japanese newspapers said Saturday the country's distrust of China had grown due to the submarine's intrusion.

"Tokyo had every reason to request an apology from Beijing for its violation of Japanese sovereignty and demand it ensure nothing like the recent incident will ever happen again," the best-selling Yomiuri Shimbun said in an editorial.

"The Chinese submarine's behavior was enough to arouse our great distrust," it said.

The Mainichi Shimbun, which is known for its liberal views, said Beijing should respond promptly to the apology demand.

"The fact is clear that (China) has entered our territorial waters," the Mainichi said in an editorial.

"China must immediately disclose the outcome of its investigation and come up with preventive measures," it said. "We demand China's honest response."

The conservative daily Sankei Shimbun called China's behavior "unforgivable."

"At least China must clarify the cause of the incident and promise us it will never do this again," the Sankei said in an editorial, adding that Japan should take unspecified "counter-measures" if China failed to show an "honest response."

"If we are soft in handling the incident, China will likely repeat illegal acts over and over," the Sankei said.

The major liberal daily Asahi Shimbun did not have an editorial on the submarine intrusion, but quoted a senior foreign ministry official as saying: "This is a game of diplomacy. We'll see how they respond and find out whether China is a country like North Korea (news - web sites) or a country with transparency."




Thursday, November 11, 2004

CNN.com - Bush?attorney?general pick?is?Alberto?Gonzales - Nov 10, 2004

CNN.com - Bush attorney general pick is alberto Gonzales - Nov 10, 2004WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Wednesday nominated his White House legal counsel, Alberto Gonzales, to be the next U.S. attorney general, replacing John Ashcroft.

"His sharp intellect and sound judgment have helped shape our policies in the war on terror," Bush said at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

"He always gives me his frank opinion; he is a calm and steady voice in times of crisis. He has an unwavering principle of respect for the law."

Gonzales said the day was one of "conflicting emotions." He said if confirmed he would miss interacting with the members of the White House staff on a daily basis.

"I will work hard to build upon [Ashcroft's] record," he said.

In a news release, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said, "It's encouraging that the president has chosen someone less polarizing. We will have to review his record very carefully, but I can tell you already he's a better candidate than John Ashcroft."

Gonzales, a former Texas Supreme Court justice appointed by then-Gov. Bush, was named White House counsel in January 2001. He had also served as Texas' secretary of state.

More conservative Republicans, however, have found some of Gonzales' relatively moderate votes on the Texas Supreme court troubling, including a majority vote not requiring some teenage girls to get parental permission for an abortion.

In his opinion on the ruling, Gonzales wrote, "While the ramifications of such a law may be personally troubling to me as a parent, it is my obligation as a judge to impartially apply the laws of this state without imposing my moral view on the decisions of the legislature."

Gonzales told associates at the time he felt the complaints about the memo -- written in January 2002 -- were taken out of context.

The memo warned Bush administration officials that they could be held accountable for "war crimes" if they did not agree with the conclusion of Justice Department attorneys that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to al Qaeda and Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Gonzales' memo was a result of the State Department's request that Bush reconsider his decision to follow the Justice Department conclusion.

If confirmed as attorney general, Gonzales will be the first Hispanic American to hold the Cabinet position.

Bush received Ashcroft's handwritten resignation letter a week ago, but did not formally accept the attorney general's resignation until this week.

The president praised the outgoing attorney general as "another superb public servant."

During his nearly four-year tenure as the nation's chief law enforcement officer, Ashcroft "reorganized the Department of Justice to meet the new threat of terrorism," Bush said. "He fairly and forcefully applied the Patriot Act and helped to dismantle terror cells inside the United States."



The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial: The Man Who Refused to Say Yes

The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial: The Man Who Refused to Say YesNovember 6, 2004
EDITORIAL
The Man Who Refused to Say Yes

It's tempting to wonder what sort of tributes world leaders would be preparing for the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat if during the negotiations that grew out of the Camp David meeting in 2000, he had somehow found the courage to say yes to Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton. Would we be documenting the life of the father of a nation, the man who, through a singular act of statesmanship, signed off on a final agreement that established an independent Palestinian state on almost all the land occupied by Israel in 1967? It is not often in history that someone's legacy can come down to one single defining moment, to one single critical choice. But such is the story of Mr. Arafat's life, and it is almost unbearably disappointing that four years ago, faced with the admittedly difficult choice of saying yes to Israel, Mr. Arafat said no.

Mr. Arafat embodied the Palestinian national movement, from the campaigns of terror through exile and the promising rise, and dismal demise, of the peace process. His unique stature made him the only Palestinian who could have signed the Oslo accords, with the recognition of the Jewish state they entailed, and for this he was awarded a shared Nobel Peace Prize.

He has had as many faces as his movement: to the Palestinians, Mr. Arafat will always be Abu Amar, the leader who stares down from every wall in his checkered keffiyeh and military tunic; to Israelis and to many Americans, a terrorist, pure and simple; to the Europeans, a national leader; to ordinary Arabs, the hero of a national liberation struggle; to most Arab leaders, a nagging, unavoidable problem. Still, he became the only leader unequivocally recognized by all Palestinians, in the West Bank, in Gaza and in the diaspora.

Mr. Arafat was also the only Palestinian who could have prepared his people to accept the glass as half full at Camp David, but there, he failed. He may have accurately gauged the grass-roots reaction to an agreement that would have offered the Palestinians far less than they had been taught to expect. But it was Mr. Arafat more than anyone else who was responsible for their distorted vision of reality. The hardest and most important responsibility of a leader is to prepare his or her followers for the pragmatic direction in which they must move; the worst failing is to abandon reality for oratory.

As with so many other revolutionary leaders, Mr. Arafat mastered only one style of leadership: when he entered Gaza as the head of the Palestinian National Authority, he added only the pomp and ceremony of bagpipes and honor guards to his authoritarian, secretive, patronage-ridden rule. He worked at night; he controlled the purse, down to the cents; he wore only his military tunic. Worse, he made no serious attempt to build a competent government below him or to prepare his people for the required compromises of a peace deal or the responsibilities of statehood. To him, disagreement was disloyalty, and aides who gained too independent a posture were abruptly pushed into the background.

As president, Mr. Arafat ruled without fully trusting anyone. When he was once asked why he had eight security forces, he looked surprised and answered, "Why, Hosni Mubarak has 12." From the same conspiratorial impulse, Mr. Arafat never chose a designated deputy or a political heir.

That is what makes this moment so difficult and fateful for the Palestinians. Their organizations, from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, have been either under Mr. Arafat or against Mr. Arafat. Now they must face existence without him.

If they hope to achieve the hopeful future that Mr. Arafat failed to give them, that means agreeing on a leader or a team acceptable to the West Bank and Gaza, as well as to Palestinians in exile. It also means firmly resisting the inevitable efforts by Hamas to expand its influence. Such potential leaders are available, especially in the Palestinian Legislative Council, whose members were democratically elected and have shown considerable political courage over the past decade.

For the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, it must have been a moment of some satisfaction when his lifelong Palestinian nemesis departed for what many suspected would be a final flight to seek medical treatment in Paris. But for so long now, Mr. Sharon has dodged responsibility for creating a climate for potential peace by saying that there was no Palestinian negotiating partner so long as Mr. Arafat was in charge. Mr. Sharon may be running out of excuses.

Debates will rage forever about who lost Camp David, and it is certainly true that had Mr. Arafat made a different choice, he might have shared the fate of Anwar Sadat and Yitzhak Rabin, leaders who paid for their courage with their lives. But it is also possible to imagine that had Mr. Arafat made a different choice, he would not have lived these last years in a darkened rubble of an old British military compound, and he would have been lauded with all the pomp and ceremony of the father of a nation.




The New York Times > International > Middle East > Arafat Forced His People's Plight Into the World Spotlight

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Arafat Forced His People's Plight Into the World Spotlight: "
Arafat Forced His People's Plight Into the World Spotlight
By JUDITH MILLER

Yasir Arafat, who died on Thursday in Paris at age 75, was the wily, enigmatic father and leader of Palestinian nationalism for almost 40 years and symbolized his people’s longing for a distinct political identity and independent state.

Mr. Arafat "died at the military hospital Percy, Klamart on November 11, 2004 at 3:30" on Thursday morning, Christian Estripeau, the chief doctor at the hospital, told reporters, according to the Reuters news agency.

No other individual so embodied the Palestinians’ plight: their dispersal, their statelessness, their hunger for a return to a homeland lost to Israel. Once hailed in major capitals as a romantic hero and world-class statesman, his luster and reputation faded in recent years. A brilliant navigator of political currents in opposition, once in power he proved himself more tactician than strategist, and a leader who rejected crucial opportunities to achieve his declared goal.

At the end of his life, he governed Palestinians from an almost three-year confinement by Israel to his Ramallah headquarters. While many Palestinians continued to revere him, others came to see him as undemocratic and his administration as corrupt, as they faced growing poverty, lawlessness and despair over prospects for statehood.

A co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1994 for his agreement to work toward peaceful coexistence with Israel, Mr. Arafat began his long political career with high-profile acts of terrorism against Israel.

At the beginning, in the 1960’s, he pioneered what became known as “television terrorism” air piracy and other forms of mayhem staged for maximum propaganda value. Among the more startling deeds he ordered was the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. In 1986, a group linked to Mr. Arafat but apparently acting independently seized the Achille Lauro cruise ship, shot Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old American Jew, and pushed him overboard in his wheelchair.

In 2000, after rejecting a land-for-peace deal from Israel that he considered insufficient, Mr. Arafat presided over the Palestinians as they waged a mix of guerrilla warfare and terror against Israeli troops and civilians that has lasted more than four years.

Indeed, shifting between peace talks and acts of violence was the defining feature of his political life. This was evident in his appeal for a Palestinian state at the United Nations General Assembly in 1974, when he wore a holster while waving an olive branch. After his pledge of peace with Israel in 1993, Palestinians sent by groups associated with him carried out suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. He officially condemned such violence but called for “martyrs by the millions” to rise for the Palestinian cause.

Mr. Arafat assumed many poses. But the image that endures and the one he clearly relished was that of the Arab fighter, the grizzled, scruffy-bearded guerrilla in olive-green military fatigues and his trademark checkered head scarf, carefully folded in the elongated diamond shape of what was once Palestine. He seemed to thrive when under siege. Surrounded in the spring of 2002 by Israeli tanks in two rooms of his compound in Ramallah, he cried out, “Oh God, grant me a martyr’s death.”

Through the 1980’s, he repeatedly rejected recognition of Israel., He insisted on armed struggle and terror campaigns, opting for diplomacy only after his embrace of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq during the Persian Gulf war in 1991 and the earlier collapse of the Soviet Union left his movement politically disgraced and financially bankrupt, with neither power nor leverage.

In September 1993, he achieved world acclaim by signing a limited peace treaty with Israel, a declaration of principles that provided for mutual recognition and outlined a transition to Palestinian autonomy in parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, territories that Israel had controlled since its decisive victory in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The culmination of secret negotiations in Oslo, Norway, the agreement was blessed by President Bill Clinton and sealed with a stunning handshake between Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and Mr. Arafat on the White House lawn.

But in 2000, he walked away from a proffered settlement based on the Oslo accords proposed by Prime Minister Ehud Barak the most forthcoming compromises Israel had ever suggested.

The Israeli offer appeared to meet most of his earlier demands but he held out for more. Mr. Clinton and Mr. Barak charged that Mr. Arafat failed to respond with proposals of his own, effectively torpedoing the American-brokered talks. The Palestinians spread the blame for the talks’ failure on all three parties.

After the talks collapsed, Ariel Sharon, then in opposition in Israel, visited the Jerusalem plaza outside Al Aksa Mosque in September 2000. Palestinians erupted in violent protest, beginning what came to be called the “second intifada.” That campaign has killed more than 900 Israelis and almost 3,000 Palestinians, and plunged the fragile Palestinian Authority into armed conflict. Mr. Arafat died without achieving any of the essential goals he had espoused at various stages of his career: the destruction of Israel, the peace with the Jewish state he espoused after 1988, or the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Moreover, the political concessions that produced the 1993 Oslo accords for which he, Mr. Rabin and Shimon Peres of Israel shared the Nobel Peace Prize deepened both the admiration and hatred of him. Few Arabs or Israelis were neutral about Mr. Arafat or his Oslo deal with Israel.

He leaves an ambiguous legacy. He succeeded in creating not only a coherent national movement, led by the Palestine Liberation Organization, but also the very consciousness that made it possible. A past master of public relations, he made the world aware of Palestine as a distinct entity. And he helped persuade Palestinians, who now number five million to six million, to think of themselves as a people with a right to sovereignty.

“He put the Palestinian cause on the map and mobilized behind his leadership the broadest cross-section imaginable of Palestinians,” said Khalil E. Jahshan, an Arab-American political activist who knew him well for more than a decade. John Wallach, the journalist who with his wife, Janet, had written a sympathetic biography of the Palestinian leader (“Arafat: In the Eyes of the Beholder,” Lyle Stuart, 1990), said two years ago that Mr. Arafat would be remembered as “the man who brought the Palestinian state into existence.”

His detractors, however, grew more numerous over time. Mr. Arafat, those critics contended, betrayed the Palestinian and Arab cause to maintain his own power. They called him a traitor for having accepted what Hisham Sharabi, the Palestinian scholar and former supporter, called an “Arab Bantustan,” an entity that was neither politically coherent nor economically viable. Critics noted that while President Arafat toured the globe being welcomed by world leaders, Israel doubled the size of its settlements on what was envisioned as soil for a future Palestinian state.

Other detractors argued that he had waited too long to accept political reality. His reluctance to recognize Israel’s existence and renounce the violence that claimed hundreds of Israeli and other lives prolonged the pain of the Palestinians and left a new generation stateless, ill treated under Israeli occupation and by most Arab governments. Palestinians in many Arab countries, including Syria and Lebanon, were restricted to camps and denied citizenship, while their host governments spoke in the heartfelt tones of the Palestinian cause.

Both admirers and enemies agreed that like King Hussein of Jordan, his longtime rival and eventual partner in peace with Israel, Mr. Arafat was a survivor. Having experienced perhaps 40 attempts on his life by Israelis and Arabs, he was strengthened as a revolutionary leader by single-mindedness in pursuit of his dream and uncanny energy. Yet after Oslo, his enemies said he continued living mainly because Israel permitted him to do so.

Until 1991, when he wed Suha Tawil, his Palestinian secretary, and had a daughter, Zahwa, he was married only to his cause. He slept and ate little, took no vacations and neither drank nor smoked.

He was also all things to all people terrorist, statesman, dreamer, pragmatist, his people’s warrior, his people’s peacemaker. Even admirers described him as a chameleon. Virtually all the biographies written about him express bewilderment about his actions and character, about what an Israeli author, Danny Rubinstein, in his book “The Mystery of Arafat,” called “this strange phenomenon.” Many Palestinians compared him to David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founder and first leader, seeing Mr. Arafat as an Arab pioneer who struggled to lead his people back to their promised land.

Many Israelis, by contrast, regarded him as an archterrorist, an opportunist who endorsed peace merely as a tactic to destroy Israel “a beast on two legs,” as the Israeli leader Menachem Begin once called him.

After the Oslo accords, Mr. Arafat became as controversial among Arabs, especially Palestinians: revered by many as the father of their country, reviled by others as an autocrat, a divisive and sometimes indecisive buffoon, a traitor. Even many Arab supporters of his 1993 agreements with Israel eventually came to loathe him for what they saw as his political duplicity, his administration’s endemic corruption and his dictatorial tendencies.

An exasperating and mercurial man, Mr. Arafat, with his ever-present silver-plated .357 Magnum, was one of the most recognizable of world figures. He was known by many names: Abu Ammar, his nom de guerre; the “chairman,” after he became leader of the P.L.O. in 1969; and the “old man,” the name he once said he preferred because in Arabic it conjures an image of a beloved uncle. At the end of his life, he referred to himself as “general,” often speaking of himself in the third person. while Palestinians called him “Rais” or president, since he was elected overwhelmingly to the presidency of the Palestinian National Authority in 1996. Over the years, “old man” became apt. His once-taut stomach gave way with age to paunch despite his frequent walks and the treadmill behind his office. What remained of his hair, almost always hidden by his trademark head scarf, turned gray. The face, with its three-day stubble, became visibly lined, his eyes weary.

The Young Guerrilla

The mystery surrounding Mr. Arafat starts early, as accounts of his origins vary. The man who became “Mr. Palestine” was probably not born there. He has claimed to have been born on Aug. 4, 1929, in Jerusalem, or alternatively in Gaza. What seems certain is that this son of a lower-middle-class merchant spent much of his childhood being shuttled among relatives in Cairo, Gaza and Jerusalem after his mother, who came from a prominent Jerusalem family, died when he was 4.

In 1949, he began studying engineering at Cairo University, where he was prominent in Palestinian student affairs. When Israel, Britain and France invaded Egypt in 1956, Mr. Arafat, as an Egyptian military reservist, is said to have taken a course in which he learned how to use mines and explosives, skills that proved useful. That same year, he also began wearing his trademark kaffiyeh, which impressed both Arabs and Westerners when he first traveled to Europe in a Palestinian student delegation.

After graduating, he worked as an engineer in Egypt and moved first to Saudi Arabia, then to Kuwait in 1957, where he plunged into clandestine Palestinian nationalist activities.

In October 1959, he and four other Palestinians founded Al Fatah, “the Conquest,” which later became the core of the Palestine Liberation Organization. From the beginning, Mr. Arafat was intent on building a revolutionary organization with three hallmarks: unity, independence and relevance. He knew that all three were essential to prevent the Arab nations, torn by bitter rivalries, from exploiting the Palestinian cause for their own purposes. He spent brief stints in prison in Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.

In May 1964, Egypt created the P.L.O. under Arab League auspices, but only as a front for the Arab nations. Ahmed Shukairy, the Egyptian bureaucrat who headed the P.L.O. and had never held a gun, deeply resented Mr. Arafat and Al Fatah, denouncing them as “enemies” of the liberation movement.

The 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which brought humiliating defeat to the Arabs’ conventional armies, gave Mr. Arafat’s group a chance to become heroes to Arabs desperately in need of some. But it still took Mr. Arafat two years to wrest control of the P.L.O. from the lower-key Palestinians to whom the Arab states had entrusted it.

His genius for attracting media attention became evident in the spring of 1968, when he made his first appearance on the cover of Time magazine. That March, the Israeli Army attacked Karameh, the Jordanian town east of the Jordan River where Al Fatah had set up headquarters. Mr. Arafat insisted that his commandos not retreat. After the Israelis withdrew, he staged a victory celebration around several destroyed Israeli tanks that was attended by representatives from many Arab countries and, of course, the news media.

Calling Karameh “the first victory of the Arabs against the state of Israel,” Mr. Arafat, with his kaffiyeh and Kalashnikov, became an instant sensation and a leading spokesman for the Palestinian cause. Money and volunteers poured in. Guerrilla training camps sprang up in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, and Al Fatah became paramount among Palestinian guerrilla groups. At the same time, wrote Abu Iyad, then a top aide to Mr. Arafat, the Palestinian National Council, the P.L.O.’s parliamentary body, adopted Al Fatah’s goal: “Creating a democratic society in Palestine where Muslims, Christians and Jews would live together in complete equality.”

Though such a state would have meant the destruction of Israel, Mr. Arafat and other Palestinians kept openly advocating it until the early 1980’s.

The Evicted Guest

The guerrillas’ power grew steadily in Jordan, to which 380,000 Palestinians had fled after Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, joining others who had arrived in 1948 when Israel was founded. By 1970, thousands of guerrillas were there, many of them adherents of Al Fatah.

Spurred on by Palestinian radicals, Mr. Arafat committed what was to be the first of several blunders: He countenanced an attempt to wrest power from King Hussein, whose grandfather, a religious and tribal leader from Saudi Arabia, had been placed in charge of the country when Britain recognized its independence in 1923.

Palestinian guerrillas began interfering with highway traffic, controlling Palestinian refugee camps, clashing with the Jordanian Army and systematically defying the Jordanian government.

In September 1970 afterward known to Palestinians as Black September King Hussein sent troops and armor into Amman, his capital, to suppress the P.L.O. After days of shelling refugee camps where some 60,000 Palestinians lived, the army drove the would-be usurpers out of Jordan into Lebanon.

Conservative estimates put Palestinian losses at 2,000. Mr. Arafat, who made his way unharmed to Cairo, later claimed that Jordan’s army had killed 25,000. By the following summer, the Jordanian army had nullified the P.L.O. as a military power in the country. Sapped and shaken, the guerrilla movement drifted into Lebanon.

In Lebanon’s atmosphere of banking secrecy, duty-free trade and political freedom, Al Fatah expanded its political and military institutions as never before. Working among some 400,000 Palestinians in the country, the P.L.O. built its own police force, clinics and hospitals, a research center and a network of business interests that made it a “virtual state within a state.”

Moreover, it set about developing a formidable military arsenal. By 1974, the P.L.O. became, in effect, the sole representative of the Palestinian people, and that November, Mr. Arafat became the first Palestinian leader to plead his people’s cause before the General Assembly.

Mr. Arafat and his P.L.O. seemed at their peak, but as he had done in Jordan, he soon overplayed his hand. In 1975, tensions between Palestinians and Lebanese helped spark the Lebanese civil war. Despite some antagonism, he maintained his headquarters in Beirut for several years, and during this period armed Palestinians based in southern Lebanon continually harassed northern Israel.

Sensing an opportunity to rid itself of Mr. Arafat and his movement, Israel invaded Lebanon and laid siege to Beirut in 1982. General Sharon, who later complained that he should have killed Mr. Arafat in Lebanon when he had the chance, dealt the Palestinians heavy blows before an agreement sponsored by Washington led to the withdrawal of thousands of P.L.O. guerrillas in August 1982. The guerrillas scattered to eight Arab cities, with their leaders fleeing to Tunis, the new Palestinian headquarters.

Mr. Arafat ventured back to Lebanon in 1983. But rebel Palestinian guerrillas backed by Syria challenged and besieged him and his commandos in northern Lebanon, shelling their positions. After a six-week siege in December, the anti-Arafat Palestinians finally drove him out.

Thus Mr. Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization lost a base of military operations near Israel, as well as a sense of unity. And in moving to Tunis, a political backwater, he also jeopardized his organization’s relevance in any peace negotiations.

The Pragmatic Survivor

Mr. Arafat, ever the survivor, still managed to stage a limited revival. Traveling incessantly in Arab countries, he gradually refilled his organization’s depleted coffers and commanded world attention, especially when he escaped death in 1985 in an Israeli attack on his compound.

But weakened and increasingly on the margins of Arab politics, he and the P.L.O. leaders gradually became convinced that political survival demanded a shift in both propaganda and tactical courses.

The man who had vowed in 1969 to ignite “armed revolution in all parts of our Palestinian territory” in order “to make of it a war of liberation” against Israel, realized that while he had exhorted and overseen many armed actions against Israel, the terrorism had never amounted to a war of liberation. He and his advisers became increasingly convinced that Israel could not be vanquished by force.

Moreover, the cold war was ending; the Soviet Union, a major patron, was broke and uninterested in his cause. The only Arab nation that had succeeded in reclaiming land lost to Israel was Egypt, whose president, Anwar el-Sadat, had been denounced by Mr. Arafat as an American “stooge.” Increasingly, however, the United States seemed the only power that could press Israel to make political concessions.

The outbreak of the intifada, the Palestinian uprising that erupted without the P.L.O.’s approval or encouragement in the Israeli-occupied territories in late 1987, also pushed Mr. Arafat toward greater pragmatism, if not moderation. The home-grown leaders of the intifada were pressing for political progress: his leadership of his movement and the P.L.O.’s relevance were further jeopardized. In November 1988, after considerable American prodding, the P.L.O. accepted the United Nations resolution that called for recognition of Israel and a renunciation of terrorism.

Yet this achievement was soon eclipsed by yet another miscalculation: Mr. Arafat’s support for President Hussein in the Persian Gulf war enraged his remaining wealthy Arab patrons. The Persian Gulf states and other backers cut off at least $100 million in annual support, and the P.L.O. became even more isolated.

But Mr. Arafat did not see it that way, and later claimed that he had not sided with the Iraqi dictator. In an interview in Tunis soon after the gulf war, he insisted that the P.L.O. was at its “peak” and that he was “more popular than ever before” with the “Arab masses, the Muslim nation, the third world.”

But with his coffers bare and Palestinians increasingly calling for his ouster, he had little choice but to grab the lifeline of peace talks that Israel had thrown him. Though Prime Minister Rabin was initially reluctant to engage the P.L.O. in secret peace talks, his fear of the growing power of Hamas, the militant Palestinian Islamic movement that had taken hold under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, was stronger than his disdain for Mr. Arafat and his bedraggled guerrillas.

Mr. Arafat endorsed the Arab-Israeli peace talks that began in Madrid in October 1991, with Palestinians (but not the P.L.O.) taking part. The Arab participants sought a settlement under which Israel would yield land it occupied.

Concurrently, in early 1992, secret contacts between representatives of the P.L.O. and Israel got under way in Tel Aviv. The talks continued, at Oslo and other sites, and by early September 1993, the essence of the proposed pact was generally known: mutual recognition and the creation of self-rule areas in Gaza and Jericho, with that autonomy envisioned as the beginning of a larger transfer of authority to the Palestinians in the occupied lands.

The Oslo peace accords of 1993 were the first ever between Israeli officials and the P.L.O., and many Palestinians and Israelis argue that with the organization and even his own Fatah so divided about the accords, only Mr. Arafat could have secured their approval.

But many diplomats and scholars say he could have secured a better deal for the Palestinians much earlier had he not placed priority on his organization’s survival and unity rather than on establishing autonomy and a state on any sliver of his people’s original land that he could secure.

Robert Satloff, the director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Mr. Arafat had followed earlier Palestinian leaders in usually being a step too late in seizing opportunities to secure something tangible for its people. Beginning in 1948, long before Mr. Arafat, he noted, the Palestinians, then led by Haj Amin al-Husseini, had rejected the United Nations partition plan that would have created a Palestinian state.

In 1978, Mr. Arafat joined most Arab nations in rejecting Mr. Sadat’s peace with Israel under the Camp David accords. But unlike the others, Jordan and the P.L.O. had something to gain by taking part. The accords provided for an end to Israeli occupation of vast sections of the West Bank and Gaza and for “autonomy” for the Palestinians there, the possibility of eventually establishing the kind of national autonomy the P.L.O. had been seeking since 1974.

William B. Quandt, a scholar and former American official who was intimately involved in Israeli-Arab diplomacy for years, said even the Camp David accords would probably have provided a better deal than the one Mr. Arafat ultimately accepted in 1993. “In 1975 there were only 10,000 Israelis on the West Bank,” he said. Today, there are 225,000 in the West Bank and 200,000 more Jews in East Jerusalem.

Mr. Arafat, Mr. Quandt said, “was a masterful tactician, but what often seemed missing was a larger strategic design.”

Some of Mr. Arafat’s most euphoric and frustrating moments occurred after the 1993 Oslo accords. Among the highlights was his triumphal return to Gaza in July 1994. Welcomed by tens of thousands of cheering Palestinians and a city bedecked with the red, green, black and white colors of the Palestinian flag, he established the first Palestinian government.

The assassination of Mr. Rabin by a Jewish hard-liner in November 1995 was a personal and political blow to Mr. Arafat, according to several associates, including Edward G. Abington, the American consul general in Jerusalem until mid-1997. Mr. Abington said Mr. Arafat “broke down and sobbed over the phone” after learning that Mr. Rabin had been assassinated. “He kept saying: ‘I’ve lost my friend, my partner in peace. This is terrible. This is a tragedy,’ ” Mr. Abington recalled.

But in January 1996, the Palestinian leader presided over one of the freest elections ever held among Arabs. Some 85 percent of the Palestinian electorate chose from a bewildering array of 700 candidates for an 88-member Palestinian Council.

With 88 percent of the vote for him as president, Mr. Arafat became the undisputed leader of his people no longer (or so it seemed) dismissible by Israelis as a terrorist who derived his authority from the gun, or by Islamic nationalists who had assailed him as the hand-picked collaborator of Israel and the United States.

“This is a new era,” he said after the 1996 elections. “This is the foundation of our Palestinian state.”

The Criticized Symbol

Such optimism proved short-lived. The Palestinian Authority was soon locked in increasingly bitter struggles with Hamas, which insisted on the continuing need to stage terrorist attacks not only against Israeli soldiers and settlers in their midst, but also on civilians inside Israel.

Opposition to Mr. Arafat and his Oslo accords also increased among secular Palestinians. Some of the most rabid critics, many from universities and other comfortable perches in the West, accused him of having betrayed the Palestinian cause.

Palestinians grew ever more critical of his autocratic style and what they called his inept stewardship, the brutal, arrogant methods of his 14 security services, his crackdown on dissenters and the corruption among the “outsiders” who had accompanied him from Tunis.

In Israel, opposition was also building to what Mr. Arafat had once called the “peace of the brave.” After Mr. Rabin’s assassination, a series of lethal suicide attacks by Hamas helped elect the right-wing Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu in May 1996.

Palestinian hopes for economic development were also repeatedly dashed, partly by punitive Israeli actions that denied Palestinians jobs in Israel and work at home. In 1996, the border with Gaza was sealed by Israel for three days out of every 10. By 1997, three years after Mr. Arafat’s triumphal return to Gaza, the Palestinian economy was stagnant and per-capita annual income in Gaza had declined by $100, to $1,050. Refugee camps remained mired in squalor.

Mr. Arafat’s penchant for trying once more to satisfy all constituencies, further undermined confidence in his leadership. Successive Palestinian crackdowns on Hamas and other militants invariably gave way to deals, pledges of forgiveness and rounds of kisses.

Still, Mr. Arafat presided over an autonomous Palestinian sector that was, relative to most Arab states, tolerant and politically free-wheeling. And his popularity prevailed relative to challengers.

Ever the careful balancer, of course, he insisted on making decisions alone and in private. Indeed, he found himself increasingly isolated in his final years, with almost all his former close aides having been killed over the years by Israeli or Arab assassins.

Plagued by a neurological illness that doctors said stemmed from a near fatal airplane crash in the Libyan desert in 1992, Mr. Arafat slowed down. No longer able to work his legendary 18-hour days, he was forced to delegate some power, if not real authority, as he grew ever more frail. His trembling lower lip and shaking hands increased Palestinian concerns about the future. He had not appointed or groomed an obvious successor.

Some Americans and Israelis involved in the Oslo peace negotiations continued to view him as the only Palestinian leader willing and able to make the compromises needed to end the bitter conflict. They disagreed with the growing number of Israelis who suspected that he secretly sought Israel’s destruction while negotiating for peace.

This upbeat assessment, however, was challenged in Israeli and American eyes by the collapse of the Oslo talks at Camp David in July 2000 and a last ditch round of negotiations that continued despite growing violence until January 2001. The talks with Mr. Barak’s Labor government failed despite the personal intervention of President Clinton, who offered Mr. Arafat an 11th- hour peace package to secure a final settlement before the end of his own term in office and Mr. Barak faced elections in February 2001.

The package would have given the Palestinians all of Gaza and more than 94 percent of the West Bank, much closer to Mr. Arafat’s goal of securing the return of all the territories lost in 1967 than he had ever come before. The Israelis also agreed to give Palestinians full sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem and air rights over Israel. But Mr. Arafat, who had already blessed the uprising and was facing growing Palestinian criticism of his stewardship, still insisted, among other things, on the right of return of refugees. Henry Siegman, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, called Mr. Arafat’s rejection of the American-brokered peace package a “disastrous mistake.’’ But, he added, “based on my 14 years of dealings with Arafat, I reject the notion that he was bent on Israel’s destruction.” Rather, he said, Mr. Arafat’s decision reflected his political weakness, a result partly of Israel’s acceleration of settlement expansion and Mr. Barak’s lack of interest in peace with the Palestinians until his own government began collapsing.

But Dennis B. Ross, who spent 12 years trying to negotiate an Arab-Israeli peace settlement in Republican and Democratic administrations, ultimately concluded that while Mr. Arafat might have been prepared to die with Israel in existence, he was not prepared to have history regard him as the man who betrayed the vision of a single Palestinian state.

“In the end, he was not prepared to give up Palestinian claims and declare that the conflict is over,” Mr. Ross said in an interview.

Even worse, Mr. Ross wrote in his exhaustive book documenting the collapse of the American-brokered peace effort, “he continued to promote hostility toward Israel,’’ adding: “Thousands of Palestinian children went to summer camps where they were taught how to kidnap Israelis. Suicide bombers were called martyrs, even when Arafat would crack down on Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”

To avoid potential opposition, he remained a “decision-avoider, not a decision-maker,” Mr. Ross wrote, “all tactics and no strategy.”

In the February. 2001 elections, Mr. Barak lost to Mr. Sharon, the candidate of the conservative Likud Party and a figure hated by Palestinians for his invasion of Lebanon, his settlements policy and his September 2000 visit to the Jerusalem plaza outside Al Aksa Mosque, an act intended to demonstrate Israeli sovereignty over what Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims the Noble Sanctuary. After Mr. Sharon’s election, the newly elected Bush administration refused to help broker a serious peace effort similar to that of Oslo or the Madrid conference staged by the first President Bush. As a result, Palestinians argue, Mr. Arafat and others who ostensibly favored a diplomatic option lacked the political leverage they required.

Mr. Arafat’s critics, by contrast, maintain that it was he who set off the violent Palestinian protests in September 2000, using the weapons and terrorist infrastructure he had secretly built alongside Israel while he negotiated for peace. “By omission and commission,” wrote Fouad Ajami, the historian at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Mr. Arafat had nourished the Palestinian “cult of terror.” He was waging a “brutal war” aimed at “Israel’s soul,” Mr. Ajami said.

After almost 60 suicide bombings in 17 months, Mr. Sharon surrounded Mr. Arafat’s compound in Ramallah in late March 2001 and later confined him there, leaving the Palestinian leader to rail against Jewish “extremists” as his cellphone battery died and his entourage ran short of food.

Pressure by Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies prompted the Bush administration to re-engage in an American-sponsored peace effort in the summer of 2001, but the effort fell victim to the 9/11 attacks . Although Mr. Bush had been tentatively scheduled to meet Mr. Arafat on the periphery of the United Nations General Assembly in the fall of 2001, the session was canceled after the strikes. Mr. Bush never met with Mr. Arafat.

The White House’s hostility to the Palestinian leader hardened over time as American intelligence officials informed the White House that he was lying about his support for violence against Israelis. Officials said Mr. Bush came increasingly to equate Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians with militant Islamic attacks on Americans.

Mr. Ross, the longtime negotiator, said a low point came in January 2002, when Israelis interdicted the Karine A, a ship carrying Iranian arms for use against Israelis, in the Red Sea. In a letter to Mr. Bush, Mr. Arafat disavowed any connection to the ship, though it turned out that the shipment had been arranged by an Arafat aide and the pilot was a Palestinian navy officer. Mr. Bush angrily dismissed the letter, insisting that Mr. Arafat must have known about the weapons. Though Mr. Arafat ultimately acknowledged responsibility for the arms, the diplomatic damage was done.

Increasingly, the United States looked on with indifference as Prime Minister Sharon took unilateral steps to protect Israelis that infuriated the Palestinians, including building walls to cut Israel off from suicide bombers and ordinary Palestinians, dividing up the West Bank into supposedly temporary zones of security and more permanent zones of settlement.

Israel claimed that final borders with a future Palestine would still be negotiated. But as of October 2004, the United Nations concluded that the barriers and enclosures had separated off 11.5 percent of the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem. Efforts by the Bush administration to force Mr. Arafat to share power with other Palestinian leaders also failed.

The International Crisis Group, an independent Brussels-based group that studies global issues, partly blamed the Palestinian leadership. “Recent power struggles, armed clashes, and demonstrations do not pit Palestinians against Israelis so much as Palestinians against each other,’’ the report stated. “The chaos is a product not solely of Israel’s policies, but of Palestinian ones as well.’’ The political system, the report found, “is close to the breaking point, paralyzed and unable to make basic decisions.’’

Under Mr. Arafat, such local actors as mayors, kinship networks, and armed militias compete for authority in the vacuum. The result, the report said, was growing chaos throughout the West Bank.

Nor did Mr. Arafat deliver prosperity. According to United Nations figures, 50 percent of the 2.2 million Palestinians on the West Bank live below the poverty line, compared with 22 percent in 2001; the figure is now 68 percent in teeming Gaza, with its 1.3 million people.

Despite deteriorating political and economic conditions, many Palestinians blamed Israel and not their leader for their plight. For many until the end, Mr. Arafat remained the symbol of Palestinian aspiration to a state, the only man who could have sold the painful compromises for peace to his people had he chosen to do so.





asir Arafat, who died on Thursday in Paris at age 75, was the wily, enigmatic father and leader of Palestinian nationalism for almost 40 years and symbolized his people?s longing for a distinct political identity and independent state.
Mr. Arafat 'died at the military hospital Percy, Klamart on November 11, 2004 at 3:30' on Thursday morning, Christian Estripeau, the chief doctor at the hospital, told reporters, according to the Reuters news agency.
No other individual so embodied the Palestinians? plight: their dispersal, their statelessness, their hunger for a return to a homeland lost to Israel. Once hailed in major capitals as a romantic hero and world-class statesman, his luster and reputation faded in recent years. A brilliant navigator of political currents in opposition, once in power he proved himself more tactician than strategist, and a leader who rejected crucial opportunities to achieve his declared goal.
At the end of his life, he governed Palestinians from an almost three-year confinement by Israel to his Ramallah headquarters. While many Palestinians continued to revere him, others came to see him as undemocratic and his administration as corrupt, as they faced growing poverty, lawlessness and despair over prospects for statehood.
A co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1994 for his agreement to work toward peaceful coexistence with Israel, Mr. Arafat began his long political career with high-profile acts of terrorism against Israel.
At the beginning"

The New York Times > Washington > Bush Nominates His Top Counsel for Justice Post

The New York Times > Washington > Bush Nominates His Top Counsel for Justice Post


WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 - President Bush on Wednesday nominated Alberto R. Gonzales, the White House counsel and a longtime political loyalist, to be his next attorney general.

The speed with which Mr. Bush acted, only a day after making public the resignation of John Ashcroft, indicated that he wants to get his new appointees in place before the start of his second term, 10 weeks from now. The nomination of Mr. Gonzales would also put one of his most trusted aides in a post where past presidents have wanted to have a confidant, as well as someone who can help defend the White House, much as John F. Kennedy chose his brother Robert, or Ronald Reagan chose Edwin Meese III.

Mr. Bush said of Mr. Gonzales in a brief announcement in the Roosevelt Room of the White House: "His sharp intellect and sound judgment have helped shape our policies on the war on terror, policies designed to protect the security of all Americans while protecting the rights of all Americans. He is a calm and steady voice at times of crisis."

If confirmed, Mr. Gonzales will be the first Hispanic ever to serve as the nation's most senior law enforcement officer. [Page A30.]

The choice was immediately embraced by Senate Republicans, who promised speedy action on the nominee. But Senate Democrats appear eager to question Mr. Gonzales, who is considered more conservative than several other leading candidates for the attorney general's job. Issues almost certain to come up in his confirmation hearings include his stances on terrorism and civil liberties, the treatment of detainees in Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, the Patriot Act passed in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks, abortion, the death penalty and other potentially contentious issues.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Yahoo! News - Arafat Is Dead - Chief Doctor

Yahoo! News - Arafat Is Dead - Chief DoctorPARIS (Reuters) - Palestinian President Yasser Arafat (news - web sites) has died at a Paris hospital, the chief doctor at the hospital said on Thursday. "Arafat ... died at the military hospital Percy, Clamart on November 11, 2004, at 3.30 (2230 EST)," said Christian Estripeau, chief doctor at the hospital, told reporters outside the hospital.