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Arafat Should Be Tried for Crimes Against Humanity

June 13, 2002

Re "Arafat, by Feeding on Martyrdom, Dooms His People," Commentary, June 11: Robert Scheer is naive to suggest that "Yasser Arafat should step aside." Why should he resign? The wily Palestinian Authority president is winning the war in the Middle East. As the hatchet man for Saudi, Syrian and Iraqi opponents to the existence of Israel, Arafat is indispensable; as the negotiator who flatly rejected Ehud Barak's unprecedented concessions, he is indefatigable; and as the survivor of Israel's repeated military encirclements of his headquarters, he has also proved to be irrepressible.

Israel should seize the moment: Before he orders the next attack on innocent Israeli citizens, capture Arafat and put him on trial. Surely a methodical presentation of evidence of his murderous reign--including transcripts of his incendiary speeches in Arabic, documentation of arms shipments and financial records of rewards paid for killings--would convince a civilized world that he is guilty of crimes against humanity.

Richard Simon

Los Angeles


Scheer proposes that the Palestinians "stand in front of tanks with prayer books and flowers instead of sacrificing their young." And, yes, it is absurd, but it is the only thing they haven't tried. And they are only a step away from being shoveled into their own graves.

What we have are three leaders (President Bush, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Arafat) who are incapable of achieving peace. It's time for a change, for the following reasons: Bush, who has an unashamed, blatant bias for Sharon, which will lead to more terrorist attacks and may bury us in the end; Sharon, who will fight to the last Palestinian, even if it kills many more Israelis and will solve nothing; and Arafat, who has lost favor with everyone.

It's time for the good citizens of each of these countries to speak up and spell out for their leaders whom they want to represent them in solving this 54-year-old problem. I vote for Secretary of State Colin Powell. Anybody else in?

Erin Scarlett

Cathedral City

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