Item from the Palestinian Ma’an news agency:
RAMALLAH — One and a half million dollars was approved by the PA Cabinet on Wednesday, for the completion of construction on the Yasser Arafat Museum in Ramallah.
The move comes as the PA prepares celebrations marking the 6th anniversary of the death of the former president, with provisions made in Wednesday’s cabinet meeting for free public transportation for West Bankers heading to the Ramallah festivities.
According to a statement released by the cabinet, officials called upon “all the Palestinian people at home and abroad to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the death of the late President Yasser Arafat,” and noting the importance of continued support for the celebration from the PLO, which was founded by Arafat in 1964.
[Actually, the PLO was created by the Nasser-dominated Arab League with Ahmed Shukeiri as chairman. The Fatah movement, of which Arafat was one of the founders in 1954, took control of the PLO in 1969. You’d think they would know their own recent history].
The museum will contain many artifacts — relics, really — of Arafat’s life, including his “last keffiya,” which — I’m not making this up — hasn’t been washed since his death and is reported to still smell like him. The total cost of the museum will be $3.4 million.
In other news,
WASHINGTON – The US sped up delivery of $150 million in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority Wednesday, citing the need to fill an urgent budget shortfall.
“This figure underscores the strong determination of the American people and this administration to stand with our Palestinian friends even during difficult economic times,” declared US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in announcing the aid, which was taken from the $200 million the Obama administration plans to allocate to the PA in 2011.
One of the most mysterious and surreal aspects of US policy is the way we prop up the PLO regime of Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, as though a) it is moderate and desirous of peace with Israel, b) it represents a majority of Palestinian Arabs, and c) arming it will help ‘fight terrorism’. Nevertheless, we keep pumping it up.
Maybe the best policy would be to let it fall and get out of the way. Either the Palestinian Arabs would find a way to get along with Israel, or the next war — which is inevitable anyway — would sort things out.
Nope, our President prefers to ‘bolster’ Abbas’ PLO with money and weapons (and now museums). But when they don’t play along, he says the problem is Israel’s fault — Jews announcing that they are thinking about planning to start building apartments some day in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, despite the fact that ‘the Palestinians want East Jerusalem for the capital of their state’ (the chutzpah of it!)
Note that he doesn’t complain about Palestinian construction, much of it illegal, in East and West Jerusalem. The President seems to think that Jews living east of the armistice line are obstacles to peace, while Arabs on either side of it are just exercising their rights — and all that stuff about building permits, deeds, etc. is just a way to protect racist apartheid colonialist fascist white privilege.
The fact that the PLO-run Palestinian Authority won’t stop its official antisemitic propaganda, won’t recognize Israel as belonging to the Jewish people, won’t even agree to sit down and negotiate without preconditions — none of that, apparently, is an obstacle worth mentioning!
I might suspect that Obama’s one-sided remarks about Jerusalem ‘settlements’ in Indonesia were merely part of his campaign to improve relations with the Muslim world. But that would be cynical. Anyway, he talks like this all the time.
In case you don’t get to visit the museum in Ramallah, here’s a short video which includes loving closeups of Arafat’s radio as well as the fragrant keffiya.