Keeping Arafat Nervous

Frightened and shaking, Yasser Arafat jumped out of his bed in the semi-destroyed room in the Mukata.

Isaac Kohn,

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Frightened and shaking, Yasser Arafat jumped out of his bed in the semi-destroyed room in the Mukata.

He has been a virtual prisoner here for many months now. The world, it seems, has almost forgotten him. Very few world dignitaries ever visit and the calls for Israel to allow him to leave Ramallah have all but ceased. Doesn't anyone care anymore?

Creeping quietly towards the window, he listened to the never-ending buzz. Those damned Israeli helicopters! He turned on the radio:

"This is Al-Jazeerah and here is the breaking news:

"Hamas leader, Dr. Rantisi, was assassinated today as three missiles fired by Israeli helicopters turned his car into an inferno. Killed along with Dr. Rantisi, were his son and a bodyguard. Hamas is vowing revenge...."


"Hello? President Arafat? I'm glad you are up."

"Who is this?"

"A friend."

"Who? Peres? Hosni Mubarak?"

"No. Just a friend. Now listen carefully.

"Mr. President, I am calling you on your cell phone because my heart goes out to you. I would call you on your regular line, but I understand that Sharon's goons have the phone tapped and the fax, too, is being monitored. I know that sitting there in the semi-destroyed Mukata in Ramallah for so many months, without the ability to move more than a few feet at a time, must be extremely frustrating and nerve-wracking. Not being able to physically direct any of the on-going missions against your enemy, Israel, is emotionally unbearable. I know that you are straining at the bit to get back into action, but those ugly Israeli tank muzzles staring through your shattered windows brings reality to bear. May Allah protect you from them.

"Mr. President, three weeks ago, they dispatched Sheikh Yassin. Today, it was Rantisi. One by one, courtesy of Israeli gun-ship missiles, your esteemed and 'brave' compatriots are being violently dispatched to meet their Allah. Although it's extremely annoying to know that the heavenly rewards that awaits the regular shahid who commits homicide-bombing is denied to them, I'm sure that Allah the All-Merciful will find some worthy reward for his humble servants who came to heaven riding the tail of a rocket instead of three-thousand bodily fragments. Don't you envy them?

"Mr. President, do not fret! You, personally, have the world's implicit guarantee that you will not be physically eliminated, although, I'm sure that your mental capabilities, by now, are on edge. Seeing how the Israelis defy the world's explicit condemnation of such barbaric acts must keep you awake at nights, dreading the thought that Sharon may flip his lid and gun for you, too. Hearing the constant buzzing of those bothersome helicopters flying above your headquarters can drive a man totally mad. And the Israeli tanks only fifty feet away are a daily threat. With danger lurking in your nightmares, how can they expect you to do anything to curtail the raging terror?

"Those Israelis are not fighting fair. The ceaseless assassinations of your friends are in direct violation of all international mode of behavior (although, in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Americans are not shying away from such tactics either. What's the matter with these two pariah nations?). The United Nations, European Union, Russia and China have gone on record time and again, to condemn such illegal acts of state sponsored terror. How dare the Israelis fight such a dirty war? Do they think they can eliminate the Palestinian leadership one-by-one?

"Dear Mr. President, Sharon is devious, calculating and sadistic. His plan is to keep you alive and well, physically, but to destroy you emotionally. He wants you to see your circle of equals become smaller and smaller. The grand plan is to keep you on edge as your nerves become more and more frayed. He wants you to squirm every time another of your friends is sliced up like the pig he is. The world wants you kept alive, but not necessarily sane. Sharon is accomplishing both."

"Who are you?"

"Me? Oh, sorry, in my rush to speak with you, I didn't introduce myself.

"Mr. Arafat, see that helicopter hovering there, above? I'm the guy with his finger on the trigger.

"Have a lovely night."