Arafat would make a good Canadian politician. He tailors his remarks to the language (and leanings) of his audiance. Here are some (extensive) excerpts from a letter by satirist Ali Salem to the Arab League published in Al-Hayat. Salem is not only more honest than Arafat, but vastly more witty...
I am writing to you as the representative of tens of millions of weary residents of the Arab region, those simple people who want to live in peace. I admit that, due to technical difficulties, they have not chosen me as their spokesman, so I chose to speak in their name. I thought that it would help them if I myself present before your Excellencies what I think they think, and what can make their lives tolerable and useful – something which in my opinion you too think of and are interested in.
In the past 30 years, the train of history has stopped twice at the station of peace in the Arab region. The first time was at Camp David. As a result, the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement was signed, following which Al-Sadat, and also Egypt was harshly punished.
In late 1993, the train of history stopped again in our region, to declare that it was on its way to the station of peace. This was the Oslo Accords – the first time in history that both sides, Israeli and Palestinian, recognized each other. It was also the first time in history that the Palestinians had a government. Some, myself among them, thought that the agreement was a political miracle and a strong foundation upon which it would be possible to build.
But this agreement was received with 'comprehensive, full, and just' hostility. Explosives and bombs made sure to destroy the opportunity for peace. We were very preoccupied with the extent of the land we were to get, and did not address the depth of the peace that we would actualize, and its direct influence on the daily lives of the people.
Whether we want it or not, the proximity between Israel and the Palestinians is an eternal proximity. After we kill as many as we have and will kill from among them, and they kill as many as they have and will kill from among us, the essential fact, that cannot be denied or ignored, will remain, and it is: The Hebrew state will remain the neighbor of the Palestinian state for eternity.
Even if we set out from the starting point – which is in my view correct – that we hate them and they hate us, we must ask how both of us will be able to hate the other in a civilized framework that will enable us to live, keep the horror of destruction distant from us, and halt the region's fall into the quagmire of terrorism, poverty, ignorance, extremism, and loss.
You certainly will say, 'He is equating Israelis with Palestinians, the hangman with the victim. He has deviated from the accepted norms in the Arab world, and has not cursed Sharon or Bush.' Yes, I admit that I have done just that, because I don't think that the mountains of curses against America and Israel on which we have wasted our time have brought us a single inch closer to peace.
I do not want to think, and I don't want you to think, in despair, anger, or bitterness, that it is impossible to do anything to stop this deterioration, to prevent additional bloodshed, and to prevent the destruction of people's lives, homes, and livelihoods… There is always something to be done, if you thoroughly understand the problem.
Right now there are no Palestinian leaders ruling and acting in a political framework. The revolutionary leaders have not managed to turn into politicians… The Palestinian people now need political leaders – ordinary men and women who yearn for life more than they yearn for death. Political leaders who do not send a child to blow himself up for the sake of Allah, but send him – for the sake of life, the life of their people – to school, in hope that in another few years he will become a person who is useful to his family and his people. The time has come to live, not die, for the sake of our land and our family….
I am asking you to persuade the revolutionary organizations in Palestine to move from the legitimate revolutionary stage to which the world no longer pays attention, to the legitimate constitutional stage. Egypt has tried to do this by means of some meetings between the Palestinian sides in Cairo. But it is clear that the Palestinians were more concerned about their own revolution than about the Palestinian people…
I imagine that the Arab League will assemble a delegation to direct public negotiations with Israel and the Palestinian leaders, with the aim of reaching a six-month ceasefire – a delegation that will go to Israel and Palestine and declare before the entire world that we are serious about peace and recognize the existence of Israel in the region.
During this time, Israel will be obligated to stop the assassinations in exchange for the revolutionary leadership's acting on the political level, in preparation for elections in the Palestinian Authority which must be based on the idea of defending the Palestinian people's life, not its death.
Of course, afterwards there will arise a Palestinian government that will negotiate for peace between the two peoples, while taking care that the Palestinian negotiator does not embarrass himself with the word 'final' – because nothing is final in a conflict of this kind.
I imagine that the situation right now indicates great chances for the success of this idea, as it is well known that someone with a revolutionary idea begins to think logically when he discovers that his deeds have caused only loss and destruction to himself and his family, and accomplishments to his enemies…
Today, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can see now the train of history stopping in our region, at the station of peace, and waiting for us to get on board….
I am filled with hope that my idea will win your attention.