Saturday 21 January 2017

Robert Fisk: Dreams of a Palestinian state to remain a fantasy

Robert Fisk

Published 22/09/2011 | 05:00

Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian youth during clashes at Qalandria checkpoint, not far from the West Bank city of Ramallah where there were
rallies yesterday in support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's bid for statehood recognition in the United Nations
Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian youth during clashes at Qalandria checkpoint, not far from the West Bank city of Ramallah where there were rallies yesterday in support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's bid for statehood recognition in the United Nations

I'D JUST been to the old boy's grave -- presumably he's not turning inside, not this week anyway -- and then, less than 50 metres from Manara Square where Ramallah's concrete lions sit, mouths open in boredom, was Yasser Arafat himself.

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Walking, living, breathing; Arafat's face -- as near as you can get minus the awful growth of beard -- his dull green battledress jacket, familiar keffiyeh scarf folded to resemble the map of the original Palestine over his head and right shoulder.

He was followed by a crowd of flag-waving kids, an almost perfect lookalike for the real thing in the tomb up the road, a fantasy Arafat for a fantasy state. "He used to wander around dressed like that after Abu Amar died," the man outside the pastry shop remarked coldly. "Now only the children make a fuss of him -- they think he's the real thing."

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