Ignore Arafat

Say what you want about Ariel Sharon– and if it’s nasty I’ve probably said it too– but it’s hard to disagree with him when he complains about European visitors who continue to pay their respects to the thoroughly-discredited Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. (Most recently it was a delegation of British MPs.)

It ‘s obvious by now that anyone giving Arafat the appearance of legitimacy undermines the authority of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who– unlike Arafat– seems genuinely interested in reaching a two-state settlement with Israel. Arafat has always been more interested in maintaining power than in making peace. All the hundreds of smiles and handshakes he’s exchanged with well-meaning Europeans, Americans and Israelis haven’t changed that. Now, quite openly, he’s doing everything in his power to undermine Abbas.

Deporting or arresting Arafat would probably cause more problems than it would solve. But can’t the rest of the world at least ignore him?