Jordan’s King Hussein was not eager for a confrontation. At that time, at least 60% of his population was Palestinian, as was about half of his officer corps. Faced with Arafat’s threats of civil war, Hussein resorted to appeasement, even offering Arafat a position in the Jordanian parliament. Arafat refused, saying that his only goal in life was to destroy Israel. When Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Cisco came to Jordan in April, 1970, Arafat organized massive anti-American riots throughout the country, during which an American military attaché was murdered and another kidnapped. Humiliated before his most important ally, Hussein did nothing.
At this juncture, Arafat was in a position to leverage his power in Jordan into what might have been a tipping point of success for the Palestinian movement. His position would have been unassailable if he had cooperated with the King, restrained the PLO from its illegal tactics and Mafioso gun-slinging, and kept good relations with his Arab state sponsors, especially Nasser. Hussein did not want civil war, and would have welcomed any reasonable compromise that would keep his kingdom intact. But Arafat’s preference for romanticized violence, his inability to control the radical sub-groups of the PLO, his affinity for chaos, and his willingness to renege on his agreements, forced the King to take action.
In July, 1970, Egypt and Jordan accepted U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers’ plan for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza in exchange for peace and recognition. But instead of embracing the plan and taking control of the West Bank and Gaza, Arafat denounced it, re-iterated his determination to reject any peace agreement, and organized riots throughout Jordan in order to prevent the carrying out of a political solution. The liberated Palestine he sought – from the Jordan to the sea – could only be achieved through fire and blood. All peace agreements that left Israel intact were worthless and worse – counter-productive. Nasser was furious, and skillfully let King Hussein know that he had withdrawn his support for Arafat. Blundering ahead, Arafat announced it was time to overthrow King Hussein, and launched an insurrection. Throughout August, 1970, fighting between Arafat’s forces and the Jordan Legion escalated. Arafat looked forward to support from Syria when he launched his final coup, and was caught off guard when he discovered that the United States had given Israel a green light to intervene if Syria invaded Jordan.
After two failed attempts to assassinate him, King Hussein came to the conclusion that he had no choice but to risk a civil war to oust Arafat. The final straw came on September 6, 1970, when the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine, titularly under Arafat’s control, hijacked one Swiss and two American airliners. Two of the planes landed in Jordan, where they were blown up. The passengers were held as hostages, to be released in exchange for PLO and other terrorists in Israeli jails.
At this point, King Hussein declared martial law, and ordered Arafat and his men out of Jordan. Arafat responded by demanding a national unity government with himself at its head. Hussein then ordered his 55,000 soldiers and 300 tanks to advance and PLO forces in Amman, Salt, Irbid, and all Palestinian refugee camps came under siege.
In the crisis he had provoked, Arafat proved an ineffectual leader. He neither organized and led his troops nor employed any diplomatic skill to diffuse the situation. Throughout the fighting, he sat paralyzed in his headquarters, as his field commanders begged for orders. Leaderless, some PLO soldiers fought well, but most were ineffectual. Meanwhile, although radio broadcasts throughout much of the Arab world were strongly pro-PLO, no assistance came from any quarter. When Syria sent an armored battalion into northern Jordan, Israeli jets took off to meet them. The Syrian tanks promptly turned around. Arafat fled, disguised as a woman (or as a Kuwaiti Bedouin man per some accounts), while about 10,000 of his men were massacred by the Jordanian forces.
Arafat’s own account of this, his first encounter with real warfare, is somewhat different. His authorized biography touches only lightly on his role as the head of the Palestinian forces, but goes into great detail about his version of the barbarism and brutality of the Jordanian forces. Some semblance of history can be reconstructed from the accounts of foreign journalists in Israel, who were stunned to see hundreds of PLO terrorists swim across the Jordan River barefoot and in their underwear, and surrender to Israeli troops, rather than fall into the hands of the Jordan Legion.
In eleven days it was over. Seeing his forces tottering on the brink of total defeat and perhaps annihilation, Arafat, now in Sudan, agreed to face a tribunal of Arab leaders who would adjudicate an end to the violence. Hussein agreed to meet with Arafat, before the tribunal. After six hours of deliberation, the rulers of Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Sudan decided in favor of the King. And to make matters worse, Arafat’s last erstwhile patron, the dictator Nasser, died of a heart attack while seeing members of the tribunal off at the Cairo airport.
A humbled Arafat returned to Jordan while King Hussein forced the remaining PLO terrorists out of his cities. In a vain and costly attempt to keep the war going, Arafat retreated to the mountains in northern Jordan; but he found no support there and, worse, he learned that Hafez el-Assad had become the new dictator in Syria and was determined to end the PLO threat by assassinating Arafat. By March of 1971, Arafat had no choice but to make his way clandestinely to Lebanon, the only Arab country too weak to throw him out.
Once in Lebanon, he sought to take control of the PLO forces that had been there since the Cairo Agreement. But he discovered that his chief surviving officers quite correctly blamed him for the Jordan debacle, which had become known as “Black September”). Resentment for the great and senseless loss of life in Jordan and perhaps the Syrian dictator were behind two attempts on his life. Arafat survived these to use his ample diplomatic skills to turn the tables on his opponents inside of el-Fatah and the PLO.
In his defense, Arafat argued that in the few short years that he had led his liberation army, he had awakened Palestinian nationalism (actually he had invented it), recruited and armed a substantial terror army (the PLO forces in Lebanon were unscathed by the Black September catastrophe), initiated war against Israel (no one seemed to notice that his forays had been ineffectual and he had suffered defeat), thwarted efforts by Egypt and Syria to control the PLO, made it a state within a state in both Jordan and Lebanon (a big plus for the PLO although not so magnanimously received by the Jordanians or Lebanese), had raised substantial support from a growing number of rich ex-patriot Palestinians and supporters throughout the Arab world, and, perhaps most important of all, established a fraternal relationship with the Soviet dictators.
Despite his failures to gain grass roots support in the West Bank after the Six Day War, and his catastrophic miscalculations leading to the defeat of Black September, Arafat was able by early 1971 to successfully re-establish himself as the unchallenged PLO military and political leader.
Arafat Becomes A Soviet Agent
Arafat’s success at re-establishing his leadership over el-Fatah and the PLO in Lebanon was due in no small part to the support he suddenly began to receive from the Kremlin. The Soviet dictatorship’s support seems to have been critical in developing the strategy behind the creation of the PLO; but now the relationship was ratcheted up to a higher, and more lethal, level.
By 1973, Arafat was a Soviet puppet and would remain such until the fall of Communism. He was an honored guest at the table of the dictator of the Soviet satellite, Rumania, whose head of intelligence, Ian Michai Pacepa, was assigned to be his main handler. Arafat’s adjutants were trained by the KGB in guerrilla warfare, espionage, and demolition, and his ideologues were sent to North Vietnam to learn the art of political war from Ho Chi Minh.
Ho’s success with leftwing sympathizers in the United States and Europe had Arafat green with envy. “Progressive” activists on American campuses, under the tutelage of North Vietnamese operatives, had succeeded in re-framing the Viet Nam war from a Communist conquest of the South into a struggle for national liberation. The history of this North Vietnamese PR campaign which provided the key to the Communist victory and the slaughter of two-and-a-half million Indo-Chinese has not yet been written. But when it is, it should include the account given by Ho’s trainers to the Palestinian terrorist Abu Iyad (aka Salah Khalaf).
The message was this: Stop talking about annihilating Israel and instead turn your terror war into a struggle for human rights. Then you will have the American people eating out of your hand. (Cf Abu Iyad’s Palestinian Without A Motherland – not yet translated).
Soviet interest in Arafat was motivated largely by his success in organizing and motivating his terrorist followers. The Soviet Union’s Cold War plans needed someone with just those talents to expand and develop the terror arm of Soviet activity in the Third World, and especially in the Moslem world. Within a few years, Russian-trained PLO operatives were manning a dozen terror-training camps in Syria and Lebanon, and deploying terror cells across the globe from Germany to Nicaragua, Turkey to Iran. (A description of these activities can be found in Ian Pacepa’s Red Horizons).
Much of this global terror endeavor was bankrolled by the Saudi royal family, who sought to keep their own reins over this gifted terrorist who could enter a room full of antagonists and exit a few hours later with a band of supporters.
No novices at the art of deploying agents and managing them, the KGB worked with Pacepa to create the controls needed to make sure that Arafat kept with the program. Secret cameras filmed Arafat’s nightly orgies of homosexual cavorting with his body guards while he was a guest at the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s mansion. They also kept careful record of the young boys (mostly teens from Rumanian orphanages) with whom Ceausescu plied Arafat’s seemingly limitless pedophilia. Given the traditional Moslem taboos regarding homosexuality, the KGB easily got what it needed to keep Arafat under control (See Pacepa).
Gradually, Ceausescu’s own lessons in Machiavellian statecraft sank in. During his early Lebanon years, Arafat developed tactics that would maintain a statesmanlike front even while he plotted his terrorist acts and hold him in good stead with the West for decades. In 1971, he created the “Black September” terror organization, which the following year carried out the attacks on the Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich and two failed assassination attempts against Golda Meir. But Arafat claimed he had no connection with the group, and even opposed their actions. His orders to assassinate American diplomats in Sudan in 1973 were carried out the same way. Some intelligence sources believe that he did the same thing with his lieutenant Abu Nidal (a nom de guerre which meant “father of destruction”) and the Abu Nidal group. And he used the same ploy in assassinating members of his own organization who posed a threat to his leadership (See Loftus and Aarons), pretending that his followers were under attack by rogue Arab terrorists. This strategy came in handy years later when his long-time friend and lieutenant Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf) objected to his strategy of alliance with Saddam Hussein. Abu Iyad was then conveniently murdered by the Abu Nidal group while Arafat condemned the murder and shed crocodile tears.
In the course of time, Arafat discovered that even the flimsiest and most transparent excuses sufficed for the West, and especially western media, to exonerate him, blame Israel for its retaliatory or preventative attacks, and accept his insistence that he was a statesman and a freedom fighter and could not control his terrorists, when in fact he was orchestrating them. (See Rubin and Rubin).
The Terrorist as Victim and Billionaire
From 1970 to 1982, Arafat built, maintained and utilized a state within a state in southern Lebanon. Working with resources (money, consultants, equipment, arms, and volunteers) from the Soviet Union, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria, he was able to establish an unchallenged base of operations within which he could train a veritable army of terrorists, integrate into his army modern armaments including tanks, anti-aircraft weaponry, and Katyusha rockets, and launch raids into Israel and into Jordan, with almost complete impunity.
From Arafat’s base in Lebanon, Katyusha rockets rained almost nightly for weeks on end on Israeli towns on the northern border. Terror gangs under the PLO launched regular attacks against civilian targets including a high school in Ma’a lot in, May 1974, which killed 21 children and wounded 65, the city of Kiryat Shemona, in December 1974, which killed 52 and wounded more than 100, bombs in downtown Jerusalem, and the Savoy Hotel in Tel-Aviv, in March 1975, which left 11 dead and scores wounded. All the while, Arafat enjoyed the status of statesman, and was invited to address the Un General Assembly as the leader of the Palestinian cause.
Arafat’s mini-state had been established in the heart of Christian Lebanon. The PLO forcibly evicted hundreds of thousands of mostly Christian Lebanese from their homes in villages and towns near the southern border with Israel. The International Red Cross surmises that at least 95,000 Lebanese were killed by the PLO (and later by Syria after it occupied Lebanon in 1976, perhaps because Hafez el-Assad wanted to make sure that the PLO did not completely overwhelm it). Internecine rivalries among the Arab terror groups, and between Arab and Druze and Christian, turned Lebanon into a war zone, and all but destroyed Beirut.
Thus did Arafat’s thugs systematically dismantle the Middle East’s only democracy besides Israel. When Lebanon’s President complained to the UN that the PLO was destroying his country, the call fell on deaf ears. Arafat was able to mount on-going terror operations against Israel without a murmur of objection, much less condemnation, from the West. But when Israel retaliated, its government was condemned for violating the territorial integrity of Lebanon, a sovereign state. Arafat’s power and influence grew to such proportions that he was able to build up military strength approximating that of a small but fully equipped army: with tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft and anti-tank weaponry, short and medium ranged rockets, and tens of thousands of men under arms. He was even working on the acquisition of a small air force.
With this base of operations, his financial support from the Saudis, and his alliance with the Soviet bloc, Arafat’s prestige steadily grew, as did his power in the Arab world. After the humiliating defeat of Egypt and Syria in their aggressive 1973 war against Israel, Arafat was able to claim the honor of being the only Arab leader able to mount a successful military campaign against Israel. The PLO was acknowledged almost world-wide as the Palestinians’ government in exile, and Arafat its de facto leader. The political strategy Arafat had learned from his Communist mentors was bearing fruit. Here was a scruffy, but tenacious and courageous little man leading an oppressed, impoverished, homeless people in their desperate struggle for national self-determination. And in the eyes of the world, this murderer of schoolchildren was standing up to the strongest military force in the Middle East.
The advice that Ho Chi Minh had given to Abu Iyad to turn the terrorist war into a classic leftwing cause, had been put into action and was succeeding better than anyone could have expected. It had achieved its first milestone with Arafat’s appearance at the UN General Assembly on November 13, 1974. Speaking before the entire world, Arafat rattled off a 90-minute speech that set forth the basic themes that would provide the outline for his political pronouncements until his death.
1.) Zionism and Israel were evil, imperialist, colonialist, and racist — in short, too evil to be allowed to exist.
2.) The Palestinians were a classic Third World victim of colonialist oppression, racist occupation, Western imperialism, and apartheid discrimination, even though there had never been a Palestinian state and no Palestinian national movement until 1956 – eight years after the creation of Israel. And even though as late as 1967 (until the Arabs’ failed war of aggression against Israel) the West Bank and Gaza were under Arab rule.
3.) The PLO was the vanguard of Palestinian freedom fighters not terrorists, a patent falsehood.
Arafat held an olive branch in one hand, and a gun in the other. If he did not get the world’s support in the Palestinian struggle for nationhood, the world would be at fault for the disastrous violence and bloodshed that would ensue. Arafat claimed (falsely) that the Palestinian national identity was an established fact of history (there is no cultural or ethnic or language difference between Palestinians and the Syrians and Jordanians, whose states were created by British and French imperialists). He also asserted the ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees, which he claimed was canonized in international law and UN resolutions. But there is no right of return for those defeated in wars of aggression. Millions of Germans for example were displaced from their ancient homes in East Prussia to compensate the Poles for the injuries inflicted on them in World War II. The West Bank and Gaza had been used for three wars against Israel in less than a generation.
Finally, Arafat argued that the PLO, despite the fact that its sole aim was the destruction of a member state of the UN, was a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and as such deserved a place at the UN and other international forums on a par with other member states.
Arafat was an honored guest at the UN just 18 months after his henchmen had taken Israeli athletes hostage at the Munich Olympic Games and murdered them, and despite the fact that his appearance in military dress and his militaristic message fundamentally contradicted the bylaws, rules, and aims of the institution. He got a standing ovation from the General Assembly, save for the representatives of the United States and Israel. The PLO became an official observer at the UN, and a year later the UN General Assembly voted its most infamous resolution, declaring that “Zionism is Racism,” making the Jews the only people in the world whose national liberation movement the UN had ever condemned. The PLO gained full membership in the Nonaligned Movement, and by the late 1970s, 86 countries recognized the PLO – a terrorist organization — while only 72 recognized the democratic state of Israel.
With the entry of the Saudi royal family and its limitless funds into the world of mass media in 1974, the surrender of much of the global media to having its Middle East content vetted by Arab propagandists became common. Thus the world’s press came to serve as a main support to the lies that Arafat and the PLO’s enthusiastic academics propagated about their history and agendas.
Historically, the PLO had nine major sources of income. Arafat controlled all of them, directly or indirectly, which meant that he always had hundreds of thousands of dollars at his immediate disposal and hundreds of millions in bank accounts. These funds came from Arab states to support the terror activities; from a tax on Palestinians abroad; from the United Nations and the European Union; protection money from corporations and sovereign states in the Arab world, Asia, and Europe in the hopes of averting terror in their areas; money from illegal arms dealing; money laundering and counterfeiting; drug trafficking and automobile theft. The illegal activities of the PLO ranged across every imaginable area of criminal endeavor, with its victims drawn from local Palestinians, diaspora Palestinians, Arab, European and Israeli businesses. There is no known accounting of the total income from these activities; but sums are estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars per year.
Another source of income for Arafat and his cronies was money earmarked for Palestinian refugees. Over the years, the UN supplied billions of dollars to Palestinian refugees via UNWRA. Much of this money went to the PLO offices and military training installations in the refugee camps. Since the UN was controlled by the Arab bloc, nothing was done to monitor the funds. The lion’s share of the money that went to UNRWA was provided by the United States and the European Union (the super-rich oil sheikhdoms gave in toto less than 3% per year on average).
With the money he skimmed from these PLO enterprises, Arafat made himself one of the wealthiest individuals in the world, and created several times over the army and the armaments he needed to wage a 40-year terror war against Israel.
Tragically, the West in general, and the EU in particular, turned a blind eye to his criminal activity, even knowing that only through such illegal incomes could he continue his carnage (See Ehrenfeld).
This profile (apart from the brief section about Arafat’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood) was written by David Meir-Levi and first appeared as an article titled “Leftwing Monsters: Arafat,” published by FrontPageMagazine.com on September 23, 2005.
 C.M.F. Williams.
 Alan Hart.
 Gilbert, Sachar.
 See Rubin and Rubin, Aburish.
 Attacking on Yom Kippur, the High Holy Day of the Jews, the attacking armies took Israel by surprise and inflicted horrendous casualties against Israeli personnel, air and armored forces. Syria stood within a few dozen kilometers of cutting Israel in half with a drive toward Haifa, while Egypt captured the eastern bank of the Suez and was poised for an unstoppable thrust across the Sinai straight up to Tel Aviv. And perhaps most important of all, thanks to Anwar es-Saddat’s “special relationship” with Henry Kissinger, Kissinger stonewalled for days as Israel ineffectually demanded that Nixon live up to the American commitment to re-supply the IDF in case of a prolonged war. Nonetheless, Israel defeated both countries and came within artillery range of their capitols, thanks in part to Alexander Haig’s secret end run around Kissinger.
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