Yasser Arafat

Yasser Arafat is being exhumed Tuesday. Join the club.

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I never met Roger Fisher, who died last month, nor read his much-acclaimed book on negotiations, Getting To Yes. But I gather he was something of a legend around Harvard and in academic circles in the field of negotiating theory. His death prompted a number of warm pieces about academic negotiations studies, highlighting his role as something of an entrepreneur who devoted his life to searching out conflicts to be resolved and yeses to be gotten.

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Derisionist History

Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations By Avi Shlaim (Verso, 392 pp., $34.95) Avi Shlaim burst upon the scene of Middle Eastern history in 1988, with the publication of Collusion Across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine. Before that, as a young lecturer at Reading University in England, he had produced two books, British Foreign Secretaries Since 1945 (1977) and The United States and the Berlin Blockade, 1948–1949 (1983), and several revealing essays on modern Middle Eastern historical issues in academic journals.

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The Break-Up

Click here to read Steven A. Cook on why we should expect the Palestinians to launch a third intifada. Israeli officials and experts were initially reacting to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's promise not to seek re-election in one of three ways: They believed him and didn’t really care; they believed him and worried about the possible vacuum following his disappearance from the political scene; or they didn’t believe him. Last week, the third option seemed to be the most common read in Jerusalem.

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The Third Intifada

The Palestinian territories are descending into chaos, but many in Washington seem unconcerned. The Palestinians in the West Bank have too much to lose from a new uprising, some are arguing, given the recent moderate improvements in their daily lives. Others assert that the Palestinian Authority Security Forces, trained under American supervision, will prevent the Palestinians from making the mistakes of 1987 and 2000. Yet the dynamics of Palestinian politics indicate that a third intifada is likely to erupt in the near future.

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Which is Latin and means "I do not want to be bishop." That is how every Anglican designee for that office demurs ... but most then take on the miter anyway and with it the bishopric itself. President Obama could have said "I am not worthy," a true response that would also have kept him from the ridicule this Nobel Peace Prize designation has brought upon him. But it is not in his character. For the sin of pride is the most deceitful. The very sin prevents man from recognizing it in himself. The list of Nobel peace laureates is not an especially august one.

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It is just about 15 years since Yasir Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize. Everybody understood that the two leaders of the State of Israel who shared the award with him, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, actually deserved it. But Arafat's primary deed in life was to be a terrorist. A tactician of terror and a strategist of terrorism. Thinking about Arafat in the royal palace made me cringe then. When I went to Al Gore's installation two years ago, I could not get out of my head that the rais had stood in the same spot, a usurper and a fraud.

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Immediately after the massacre of eight students in a yeshiva library in Jerusalem last week, speculation began within the Israeli security establishment and the media about who had dispatched the lone murderer. Was it Hamas? Hezbollah? Perhaps a new, unknown organization claiming to act on behalf of the "liberation" of the Galilee? In fact, the speculation was pointless.

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Via Andrew comes this hardly shocking news: Yasser Arafat died of AIDS. This will only strengthen the widely-held assumption that he was gay. But I doubt that even the revelation that dear Abu Amar was a homosexual would change the Palestinians' abhorrent treatment towards gays, as documented here several years ago by Yossi Klein Halevi. Gays obviously won't be posthumously welcoming Arafat to the club, as has been the case with Abraham Lincoln.

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