"Whoever thinks of stopping the intifada before it reaches its goals, I will give him 10 bullets in the chest."
With these words, Yasser Arafat--chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization--threatened the mayor of Bethlehem, Elias Freig, and other Palestinian leaders who have recently called for ending the violence in the territories. This is the very same Arafat who is being described by Alan Hart in an interview with Garry Abrams as " . . . not vindictive and (who) has shown mercy to PLO traitors much more than he has exacted vengeance."
Hart argues in the interview that Arafat "(has) moved away from terrorism to diplomacy more than a decade ago . . . and as the last best hope for a reasoned political settlement in the Middle East." However, the reality is totally different, and there are those who refuse to acknowledge this reality head-on.
Occasional moderately phrased rhetoric such as Arafat's words in Geneva on Dec. 2, 1988, even a book like the one written by Hart, cannot substitute for the numerous statements made at other times by Arafat and his PLO colleagues. It is no mere oversight that the PLO Covenant remains in force, that all PLO spokesmen stress the continual applicability of the "Armed Struggle," the "Phased Program and the "Right of Return"--formulas for the PLO's plan to eventually wipe Israel off the map.