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The one and only Yasir Arafat left this world today. An icon of resistance is no longer with us.

I thought I knew about Arafat, but reading his biography today, I am surprised at what a great leader he was; and as scuh, it was no surprise that his people all respected him, regardless of political leanings

I was surprised to read that there was a time about 40 years ago when Israel did not even accept the word “Palestinian” and its prime minister said “there are no Palestinians”, and the Arab world had all but swallowed this conventient negation of an entire people.

Tomorrow, the funeral of the head of the quasi-state of Palestine is being held. He will be given head-of-state honours with the Palestinian flag draped over his coffin. That was quite an acomplishment – to ingrain the word “Palestinian” people and cause in the collective conscience of the world.

I think I also understand the strategy he employed to get Israel to admit to a Palestinian authority after Oslo, and after he had earlier acknowledged the existence of Israel. Even though talks broke down later, a Palestinian election was held and a Palestinian government was formed ! Sharon’s rage – the anger of an old enemy – was probably because Arafat had outsmarted him by getting Israel to admit the possibility of a state for a people whose very existence Israel had denied.

Arafat’s death and departure from France with state honours is a terrible blow for Israel and the U.S. and an indication of the firm stance of France that its opposition to U.S. hegemony is a permanent policy.

Arafat’s death and funeral has solidified the concept of a Palestinian state more than anything else.

ma’assalamah, yaa Abu Ammar!