LIKE all tyrants, Yasser Arafat left nothing behind except misery, corruption, and a dangerous vacuum. Even as he left for Paris on his deathbed, his vanityprevented him from appointing a successor. And now, the people that he claimedto represent are left to the mercy of feeble politicians and terror thugs.
Thanks to Arafat's greed and violence, the West Bank and Gaza are hopeless slums where mothers breed Jew-hating suicide-bombers. The billions that he received from the European Union and the Arab League mysteriously disappeared. While virtually nothing was invested in the Palestinian economy, Suha Arafat's bank account grew by $100,000 per month.
Arafat made a fortune by exploiting the ignorance of Palestinians and terrifying Israelis. Instead of being treated like a criminal, he has been accorded the same reverence as Mother Teresa.
No sooner was he pronounced dead, than Bertie and Dermot Ahern issued statements lamenting the loss of "a great leader and a great man". For both, Arafat was "a unifying figure of unique importance" and "a symbol of national unity for the Palestinian people".
Such sycophantic remorse for a murderer is typical of people whose lust for Sinn Fein's body heat is insatiable.
By refusing to temper their condolences with reminders of Arafat's legacy of horror, both Aherns showed how blind they are to terror's allure. Not once in the course of their interviews on Thursday, did either man mention that it was Yasser Arafat alone who destroyed any hope of peace with Israel in 2000.
Instead, Bertie regretted how tragic it was that President Arafat's compound and landing strip were blown to pieces. No reference to the slaughter of the Israeli Olympic team in 1972, or to the thousands sent to their deaths
'Now, the people he claimed to represent are left to the mercy of feeble politicians and terror thugs'
in Israel and Palestine on the Chairman's instruction. Neither did RTE bother asking the Taoiseach why millions were poured into a landing strip while Palestinians died in squalor.
Yasser Arafat's true essence is captured in his support of Saddam Hussein's annexation of Kuwait in 1990, and the fact that he acted as Idi Amin's best man in 1976. This is the same person that Bertie Ahern says was "a friend of Ireland and, indeed, a personal friend".
The Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, spoke for all democrats when he said that "history would judge Yasser Arafat harshly". For over 40 years, this mafia crime lord fed the world a message of peace while forcing his people to dream of war and hatred.
As I remarked in these pages last week, we now owe it to all his victims to work hard for a resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. But this does not mean that we should follow the left in believing that solving this problem will pacify Islamic fascists.
The butchers of Sudan, Beslan, Baghdad, and Bali, do not commit their atrocities because the Palestinians are in pain. In truth, they couldn't care less about the decadent Arafat and his infidels. Only the complete restoration of the lost Muslim empire, including Spain, will quell their appetite for mass murder.
That is why we must reject any analysis that says the war on terror must be stalled until Palestine is liberated.
The only way to defeat freedom's latest enemy, is by a wholesale reform of the Middle East and the removal of its dysfunctional despots.
Now that Arafat has joined Saddam and Gadaffi as yesterday's men, three enormous obstacles to that end have been removed.
But as George Bush knows, the job of smashing Iraq's Jihadis, destroying Iran's nuclear facilities, and dealing with Sudan and Syria, cannot wait until Hamas and the PLO learn to live peacefully with Israel. Our survival will depend on beating all those whose vicious ideology sees every Jew, Christian, and secularist as worthy of slaughter.
In the meantime, we should rejoice with moderate Palestinians at the departure of a man who used his global status to beggar and ruin their lives. Anyone who maintains Yasser Arafat was a force for good ignores decades of brutality, murder, and squandered hope. The world is a finer place now he has left it.