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Last Updated: Friday, 5 November, 2004, 09:31 GMT
Palestinian leadership: Your views
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
You have been sending in your comments regarding the health of the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.


Your comments:

I put my trust in Arafat after the 1993 Oslo Peace agreement. I gave him the benefit of the doubt -that he had changed. He walked away from Camp David in 2000 with the best offer Israel had ever given. Instead of going back to negotiations, he walked away and started another Intifada. He helped Sharon get elected. He played the system.
Michael Rubin, Great Neck, NY, USA

Arafat is a great leader, but I feel that it is time for change now. The Palestinians need a healthy, strong leader with a different approach to the peace process with the Israelis.
Latheef, Maldives

I hope that the end of Arafat's reign will allow the Palestinians to liberate themselves from Arafat, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the other terrorists who have oppressed the Palestinian people for so many years.
Tom, London

Arafat is a symbol. His championing of the Palestinian people to have a national identity will be his lasting epitaph.
Lee Balch, London, UK

I agree with Abdul Kareem's comments. The peace process would have been finalised and reached had it not been for the death of Yitzak Rabin. We must move forward. Bombs bring no peace. Equality and respect can only bring peace, bombs bring no peace.
Joshua Cohen, UK

If we Muslims open our eyes we would see that the world has evolved and our view of our own religion has not. I am ashamed and sorry for the actions and inactions of the Islamic people with regards to the west and Israel. My feeling is, that without reform within Islam, there can be no viable Arab or Palestinian leadership in the Middle East or beyond.
Mohammed Al Tikriti, London

I wish Arafat a speedy recovery, I also hope this health issue will force him to address what will happen to the Palestinian leadership after he goes.
Dom Bray, Norwich UK

I hope with all my heart that President Arafat recovers quickly and returns to his people.
Pam, Camberley England
I hope with all my heart that President Arafat recovers quickly and returns to his people. He is a brave man; hopefully his illness is just that and that a cure is found fast.
Pam, Camberley England

God bless Arafat and may he live long to see his dream of a Palestinian State come true and at peace with their brothers of Israel. I wish him a speedy recovery.
Stevie, UK

Mr. Arafat is the symbol of the Palestinian cause; his death will directly result in a power vacuum that can only further destabilise the ongoing conflict. We must remember that it was him and Yitzak Rabin that signed the peace accord, now that Mr Rabin has died and with the prospect of possible death to Mr. Arafat, so too will the peace process in the Middle East. I hope you get well soon Mr Arafat because you are the symbol of the Palestinian cause as well as its restrain.
Erlangga Atmadja, Melbourne

Are you sure that Mr Arafat could go back again after his illness? Are you that the Israeli government will give him the opportunity to go back? Meanwhile people are just talking about his successor and the new Palestinian policy.
Giorgio, Rome, Italy

Unfortunately Mr. Arafat lost control of what is called the "Palestine Nation" a long time ago
Bill, Bracknell, UK
Unfortunately Mr. Arafat lost control of what is called the "Palestine Nation" a long time ago, he cannot be held responsible for the doings of Hamas and others who claim hat they do what hey do in the name of Islam - Islam must exclude them! It is an unfortunate fact of life that the demise of Mr Arafat may bring those that matter in such things together and hopefully to their senses.
Bill, Bracknell, UK

I would be so sad to see Yasser Arafat pass away. He is an inspiration to so many of the peace-loving, but oppressed, Palestinian people. What a contrast this news item makes to the inexplicable re-election of the war-mongering George W Bush.
Assim, Bradford, UK

Israel should be commended for its willingness to help Yasser at a critical point in his life. Hopefully the Palestinian leadership will learn from the errors that Yasser made, realising that the route to peace is negotiation and not terror. If Yasser dies and there is violence Israel has the right to retaliate. Israel has the right to defend itself.
Brian, Leeds, UK

I was born in Nablus Palestine, Yasser Arafat was deeply admired for many years but the truth is he has done nothing for his own people regarding the economy. The Palestinian people respect Arafat because he is the president but if one is to look deeper the support for Hamas is growing stronger. Hamas also now have a political stand in Palestine, and they are growing stronger everyday . People easily judge what they don't know about.
Fadwa, UAE

We mustn't undermine Arafat's achievements
Akkas, London, UK
I hope he gets better otherwise a power vacuum would prove disastrous for the peace process and political stability in the region. We mustn't undermine Arafat's achievements; Oslo was a momentous concession and one which Israel is yet to match. However, we will probably end up remembering him for his many failures. It is high time that the grand old men of Middle Eastern politics (Arab and Israeli alike) stepped aside and let a younger, more courageous group of people take the lead.
Akkas, London, UK

Years ago Yasser Arafat was a freedom fighter. But today he was a man that wanted to hold on to power. No sooner he would agree on something, he broke it. The fact that he didn't have a successor shows just how he was afraid of losing what power he had. Hopefully with newer people taking over the Palestinians will have a better say in the running of their government and their lives..
Russ Black, USA

The fact that the Palestinian's plight is still on the forefront of people's minds indicates that Yasser Arafat has been successful as representing the interests of his people. He has changed with the times, and faced the reality that the Palestinians will never regain what they had, while not giving up on the Palestinian's dreams.
Joe Sabelja, New York, USA

The fact that the future of the situation depends so much on Arafat's recovery shows he has not done his job
Jonathan, Coventry, UK

The fact that the future of the situation depends so much on Arafat's recovery shows he has not done his job. What kind of a leader builds a government whose capability to operate is dependent on one single person? Arafat has acted out of his own [power] interests, which unfortunately do not agree very well with the interests of the Palestinian people.
Jonathan, Coventry (Warwick University), UK

Whose fault is it that the peace process failed? Many blame Yasser Arafat. They fail to see that Yizak Rabin and Yasser Arafat actually did come to a peace agreement. It was the fault of the fanatic who assassinated Rabin. The assassination, and the rise of Ariel Sharon to power, ultimately killed the peace process, not Yasser Arafat. May God Almighty grant him a speedy recovery.
Abdul Kareem, Khulna, Bangladesh

Yasser Arafat has not groomed a successor to his leadership and this is very problematic. As the situation stands now, it looks as if Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala), the current prime minister will be taking over the reigns of power. The situation could become very turbulent resulting in a power struggle of sorts with Hamas and various terrorist groups competing for power. There is uncertainty as to whether they will have enough support to control the situation. The possibility of a Palestinian power struggle resulting in extremists taking over power exists. There is an uncertainty as to how the situation in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict will develop with Arafat on the way out. It remains to be seen how it will affect Sharon's disengagement plan. It would be preferable to all sides to start negotiating withdrawal from scratch and there must be a commitment of the future Palestinian leadership to stop the violence.
Shimon Z. Klein, Bat Chefer, Israel

Yasser Arafat made a huge mistake and cost his people more pain and suffering by refusing to accept the deal Clinton procured with the then Israeli PM Ehud Barak at Camp David literally minutes before the curtain came down on his eight year term in the White House. Arafat's snub cost Barak his government, Sharon came to power and the rest is history. Although we have many other factors that weaved in, peace brought to Middle East by a Democratic administration would have helped energize Gore's subsequent campaign. President Gore in US and PM Barak in Israel, would have meant such a different world than the one we find ourselves in today. I wish Chairman Arafat a speedy recovery.
Meltem Birken, USA

I have never in all my years known a leader as prolific as Mr Arafat and it warms my heart to read that people all over the world have sent their best wishes to him, courage has no higher representative and as long as the fight for freedom is alive you can be sure Mr Arafat will be there.
Alex Friday, Australia

I think Arafat is the only president who can bring peace to the region. Age has diminished his abilities to rule but he is still a symbol. He has made mistakes but he is human. The issue of Arafat's replacement is an important one. I know there are a lot of people who are as competent as Arafat and they must be given a chance. We hope Arafat gets well soon.
El Mouslik Sad, Morocco

Arafat's death would be an opportunity for the Palestinians to chose a civilized leader interested in peace, rather than war.
John Cooper, Portland, OR, US

President Arafat has been a freedom fighter all his life, just like another great man Mr Mandela of South Africa. I wish him a speedy recovery.
John, Stockholm, Sweden

Arafat is a nuisance and a major obstacle to the peace process in Israel. Hopefully his departure from Israel is a permanent one so a peace process can be brokered.
Dain

I pray for the long life of Mr Arafat. But let us think beyond the box, and plan for a post-Arafat Middle East.
Qidwai Minhaj, Toronto, Canada

A wonderful opportunity for the Palestinians to change course and work for an agreement with Israel
Donald & Sylvia Luke, US
This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for the Palestinians to change course and work for an agreement with Israel. Now if Israel could only dump Sharon, real negotiations could occur. Fat chance!
Donald & Sylvia Luke, Bradenton, Florida; United States

Over the last 40 years Israel has had several elected leaders who have shifted position to accommodate the Palestinian demands, with nothing in return. Why has Peace always failed? Because the Palestinian leadership has consisted of one man, Mr Arafat, who has failed to deliver anything he has promised. An expert at manipulating the Western media, he says one thing in public and does another in reality. The evidence of his commitment to terrorism is astounding.
Dave, Leamington UK

I think we should take note that a western country is treating Yasser Arafat. Those who say we have no interest in the Palestinian cause should take note that France is helping their Leader. This I hope will send a message to say that all the world really wants is peace.
Matthew P, Horsham, UK

Yasser Arafat's bad health and the publicity surrounding just highlights the vacuum of power that will exist after he dies. He has pushed many Palestinian reformers aside, and the reality is a 'gun-ho' terrorist will probably assume the role of 'president' before a progressive politician ever will.
Jason Robinson., Dublin, Ireland.

I wish him a speedy recovery
Amin, Birmingham, UK
Arafat is a sincere man and he has devoted most of his life to resolve the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict. I'd like to say a BIG thank you for all his efforts and I wish him a speedy recovery.
Amin, Birmingham, UK

I fear for the future if Chairman Arafat doesn't make it. I worry about the stability of the region if leadership is left to any one his potential successors.
Michael Brash, Glasgow, Scotland

Whilst every compassionate person wishes an old man a quick and speedy return to good health, might it be too much to hope that all concerned will give the world the truth about Mr Arafat's illness? Further may we hope that all members of the old guard on both sides of Middle East conflict might now retire and be replaced by moderate leaders who wish to see peace and tolerance prevail throughout the world?
Fred Watson, London, England

It will be a blessing if he dies. He has ruined all our chances, encouraged violence; and has not had the wisdom to provide peace for the Palestinians.
Farid Al Atrache, Palestinian territories

It is Mr Arafat who has kept the struggle alive
K. Al-Barwani, Oman
If it were not for Mr Arafat, there would be no Palestinian resistance at all today. Stop blaming Arafat, just let the world enforce the UN resolutions and monitor and see who provokes the other. Israel and the US have enough military might to protect themselves. Palestinians don't and they are expected to protect the occupier. I am surprised today that the world is buying into this Israeli argument. It is Mr Arafat who has kept the struggle alive, so give him some credits for God's sake.
K. Al-Barwani, Oman

Once Arafat disappears from the scene will Israelis realise their mistakes and the opportunities they lost? Ironically, things might start improving for the Palestinians.
Oscar Lima, Brighton, UK

Like Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela and George Washington, Yasser Arafat is a freedom fighter for his country.
Saeed, Muscat, Oman

Four years ago Arafat started the second Intifada. One could ask the Palestinian people the same question Ronald Reagan asked the American public during the famous presidential TV debate with Jimmy Carter: Are you better off than you were four years ago?
Peter Stein, Stockholm, Sweden

He deserves respect from all peace loving people who desire peace in the Middle East
Ali Battashi, Muscat, Oman

Mr Arafat is the elected leader of the Palestinian people. He deserves respect from all peace loving people who desire peace in the Middle East. Unfortunately, Israel does not have a leader with a vision for peace with the Palestinians. Once an Israeli leader appears on the scene with the long term interest of the Israeli people, he will recognise that peace can only be achieved through dialogue and peaceful negotiations, and not by using F16s, Chinook helicopters and Abram tanks. Peace will be achieved once Israelis acknowledge a Palestinian state with the whole of the West Bank and Gaza and a unified Jerusalem with joint Israeli and Palestinian sovereignty and administration.
Ali Battashi, Muscat, Oman

Blaming Arafat for the continued violence is over simplistic and narrow minded. I guess if Sharon was captain of the Titanic he would blame the iceberg for the disaster.
Andonis K, Athens, Greece

I hope he recovers and retires to Paris
Paul, London

Look where we are now with Palestinian-Israeli relations. This is the measure of Arafat's achievements. I hope he recovers and retires to Paris with his wife, so that younger, fresher and more diplomatic minds can get the peace process back on track.
Paul, London

Arafat, despite all disagreements with him, is and will be a symbol of resistance which he continued to be even at time of illness and physical weakness. They say that he has been an obstacle on the way to peace. I would say, yes he has been an obstacle to the American and Israeli version of peace i.e. surrender.
Ahmed, Wirral, UK

Without Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian Territories will descend into chaos and anarchy. The likes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad would fill in the power gap should he leave no clear and popular successor.
Ryan McBride, Singapore

Although I detest his tyrannical and corrupt ruling over the Palestinian people, I believe one should not forget that Arafat is the elected leader of the Palestinian people. It's certainly none of my business or your business or certainly messes Sharon's and Bush's business to tell Palestinians whom they should have or should elect as their leader. What makes Israel so immune to be able to deny the re-entry of people's leader to their own land?
Mohammad, Tehran, Iran

Arafat lost the peace track by rejecting Clinton's offer and then resorted to violence (Intifada). He should have retired long ago. The man is obsessed with power and violence would not relinquish power, like other fellow Arab dictators, until his final rest in grave. In the Middle East, peace should restart with new blood and personalities.
Temam Ahmed, Khartoum, Sudan

I'm a Palestinian who was born and raised in Palestine, but I never felt that the PLO, headed by Arafat, was a representative of the Palestinian people. Personally, I never felt he was my "leader." To me, the entire PLO consists of those who take all the money and leave the struggling Palestinians starving and homeless. On the other hand, those who condemn Arafat for failing to lead and "suppress terrorism," I say to them how can a guy confined to a compound in shambles control an oppressed people? When he has to get permission to leave and come back (if he can) what kind of leader are you counting on in this case?
Rami, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

The only hope for the Palestinians is a new and fresh moderate leader, which is everything Arafat is not. Its about time the Israeli and Palestinian people were given hope about building a real peace.
Jamie, London, UK

Without Arafat there would not be a united voice of Palestine
Paul, Northampton, UK
People suggest that without Arafat there would be peace. For a start the western governments would have tried to reduce the size of Palestine. If people honestly believe Hamas would stop attacking Israel they are simply naive. Without Arafat there would not be a united voice of Palestine, making negotiations difficult.
Paul, Northampton, UK

As a French citizen, I'm proud to learn that Mr Arafat has chosen France to get medical assistance, it shows we share strong links of appreciation and confidence with Palestine. The US and Israel accuse us of being pro-Palestinian but I believe we are just supporting a suffering people that need to know it does have support in the West. Whatever might happen within the next days, I want to express my own support to the whole Palestine on behalf of France.
Bertrand, Avignon, France

For years it's been incredibly easy to label a man who has been marginalised, stripped of power and imprisoned as the obstacle to peace in the region. I sincerely hopes he gets well and sees a new generation of leadership appointed in his lifetime - surely even he must realise his body will not let him continue to lead. A more moderate leadership will also show for real who is holding up peace.
Evan, Edinburgh

With Sharon battling his own party for his political life and Arafat ill a crisis point has been reached
Jake Murray, London, UK

This is a key moment for Israelis and Palestinians. With Sharon battling his own party for his political life and Arafat ill a crisis point has been reached. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has needed a new generation of leaders for too long. The key here is whether Arafat will be clever enough to place the needs of the Palestinian people first and make sure he appoints the right successor. If he doesn't, and he appoints someone weak, the Palestinians will be walked all over at best or will dissolve into civil war at worst.

At the same time the Israelis need someone fresh. Sharon and Arafat are symbols of the old school of violent action. The Palestinians and Israelis are desperate for a breakthrough. Let us pray that Arafat leaves the right legacy, If he doesn't or he dies without the right successor, there is no hope for a just peace in the region.
Jake Murray, London, UK

Arafat may not be as effective as he was years ago. One of the reasons for his recent failure may be that the Bush administration ignores him completely. I don't know if he is essential for peace or not, but I do know that this man is a warrior. He has fought for the Palestinian cause all his lifetime and it is people like him that inspire the masses. He should always be a symbol, an icon, and should be treated as one.
Viswanath, Denver, USA

What have we gained from Arafat? We get nothing but talk
Summer Al-Baghdadi, US

From BBCArabic.com: What have we gained from Arafat? We get nothing but talk. He is always compliant and he has done nothing for the Palestinians. My dear Palestinian brothers, tell the truth and don't be sentimental and don't be afraid. It's about time that you step in and choose your leader yourself. Call for elections now! Demand it, and don't be scared of anyone. It's about time that the Palestinian issue is resolved for the best of both, Palestinians and Israelis.
Summer Al-Baghdadi, United States

From BBCArabic.com: I wish him a fast recovery. He has always been a great icon for all the Palestinian people and a great leader that have given all his life to fight for peace and for his country.
Rana, UK

From BBCArabic.com: The Palestinians will witness the appearance of a new generation of leadership who is moderate and balanced, and will realise that fanaticism doesn't bring anything but moor blood and suffering. It is better therefore to adapt the language of peace and humanity in order to end this conflict.
Salar Babeer Al Kurdy, London

From BBCArabic.com: I think Arafat is vital for the peace talks with Israel, his departure means that we will have to wait for long time to secure a peace deal with Israel.
Abo Al Shabab, Germany

From BBCArabic.com: I wish he will get better. In my opinion, the President should have an agreement with the central committee to appoint a vice president in case of an emergency, in order to avoid any conflict over the succession, and then conduct democratic elections.
Ali, Sweden

From BBCArabic.com: The problem of the Arab Leaders, and Arafat is one of them, is that they try purposely to link their personalities with public life and political activities. This makes it easier for them to take control over people lives, and to make themselves the only suitable and irreplaceable option. But they soon leave by dying, and in all cases we find that they were a burden on their nations, and have blocked the way for the people to develop. In my opinion, Arafat's departure will solve many complicated and unresolved issues during his era, and there are many.
Ahmed, Australia

His hard work must be acknowledged even though time has now come for a young and moderate leadership to emerge
Mustafa, London, UK

As a Palestinian I am very saddened to hear the news of Mr Arafat's ill health. Regardless of our differences all of us Palestinians and Arabs alike should come together for this old man during those difficult times. Mr Arafat has made a lot of sacrifices in his lifetime for the sake of freedom for the Palestinian people. He is a man of great symbolic meaning for all Palestinians and his hard work must be acknowledged even though time has now come for a young and moderate leadership to emerge.
Mustafa, London, UK

Arafat has shown throughout the years his success at one thing alone, and that is his ability to maintain his leadership. He has abused his position in power through corruption and encouraging indiscriminate terrorist attacks against Israelis, and has constantly blocked attempts to forward the cause of peace in the region. Any responsible leader should prepare a successor - Arafat has neither done this, nor has he developed a democratic infrastructure which would give the Palestinians a choice of who should lead them.
Michael, London, UK

Arafat, though with many faults, is a symbol of the struggle of his people against attempts of extermination by an overwhelmingly stronger and cruel enemy.
Amir, Plymouth

Arafat is a credible leader and is fighting a just cause. I wish he would live long enough to see the fruits of his struggle, like Mandela is doing. Mandela, like Arafat was branded a terrorist, in his fight against racial oppression. Even Dick Cheney voted against his release from prison. Now Mandela is even more respected than Bush and Cheney and Sharon. I am certain that after he had achieved his objectives, Mr Arafat would show the true qualities of leadership he possesses.
Mlungisi, Johannesburg, South Africa

The consequences of Mr. Arafat's death would probably be less than it might be supposed.
James E Geoffrey II, USA
The consequences of Mr. Arafat's death would probably be less than it might be supposed. Although he has remained a relatively popular icon among Palestinians, his real control has long since diminished. At most, his death would make explicit that which has been implicit for quite a while - namely the deep divisions within the Palestinian leadership. This might mean some increase in violence - as much among Palestinians as between Israelis and Palestinians - but fundamentally, in the short to medium term, little will change.
James E Geoffrey II, Falls Church, Virginia, USA.

Every moderate 'leader' that has emerged from within the Palestinian people, who has not espoused violence as a means to secure peace has been marginalised by Arafat. He wanted complete power over the security forces, finances and would concede nothing to secure peace. He has done no service to his people except fuel the flames of hatred. It is well past the time for a change of leadership.
David, London, UK

If Arafat dies tomorrow, US and Israel will still blame him for terrorist acts. I am worry that bloodshed will erupt after his death and Israel will take this opportunity to annex the Palestinian lands in their territory as it was the case back in 1947/48 when Palestine did not have a government.
Khalid, Morocco

Unfortunately, Mr. Arafat has been irrelevant for some time. He essentially controls nothing. He criticizes terror but does nothing to stop it, because he has no power to stop it. He had his chance to become a great statesman but instead cast his lot with the intifada, which has brought much greater harm to his own people than to Israel.
John C, New York, USA

I pray for his well being.
Nadia Joseph, USA
I pray for his well being. Arafat has carried a lot of weight but I am not sure if his policies have been productive for the Palestinians in general. The Israelis have not helped his case either. I hope he realizes that he needs to re-evaluate the situation and name successors. If he really cares for the Palestinian people, he will identify key individuals who can run and manage the different warring factions and try to work with the Israelis. Enough blood has been shed; there is no time to be selfish and self-contained. Cooler heads should prevail. Thousands of Palestinians have died as a result of this illegal and tragic occupation.
Nadia Joseph, Chicago, IL, USA

Yasser Arafat has done nothing to improve the plight of the people he purports to lead. I hope that the Palestinians will eventually choose a leader who really wants peace with Israel and turns away from terror.
Judith Phillips, UK

Arafat is a Palestinian resistance symbol, but he is a failure as a leader. I wish only peace for the Palestinian people, but they will need a globally-respected leader for any chance of hope.
Jeff, Cincinnati, USA

Whatever your position on the Middle East Arafat is the head of a Palestinian leadership that has utterly failed the Palestinian people. Whether you consider this a tactical, strategic or moral failure there is no question the Palestinians will be better off with a chance at new leadership.
Steve Foote, Memphis, USA

Arafat has been one of the biggest roadblocks to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
John, St Paul, US
I can't believe what I'm reading here... are you kidding me... Arafat has been one of the biggest roadblocks to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Nature is taking care of this problem so the world leaders don't have to. If the Palestinians are wise they will seize this opportunity to elect a true leader for peace and not someone who is only interested in his own legacy. Palestine could have been its own state already if not for Arafat.
John, St Paul, US

He was a great man but now he is blocking any change from the status quo. The Palestinians & Israelis need new brave young leaders to grasp the nettle and change away from the cycle of violence.
Phil, Perth, Scotland

A leader of an occupied land, confined in his compound by the occupier for years, and he has to ask for permission to get treatment. Anyone shocked by how cruel occupation is? What a great era we live in!!
Tolga Dervesoglu, Izmir, Turkey

His illness does offer the chance of a humanitarian gesture by Israel, to allow freedom of passage exit and return unconditionally. If he dies in his compound then the face of moderation may disappear with him plunging the region into even despair.
Philip Walker, Valence, France

It surprises me how much hatred a man who fights for his people's freedom can inspire. Even if he dies, his cause won't die with him.
Manan, Manila, Philippines

For years we were told that the Palestinian's refusal to recognise Israel was the only obstacle to peace. Arafat bravely grasped that particular nettle and has since been vilified by Israel's friends the world over. Here's wishing the brave and honourable Mr Arafat a speedy recovery.
Mike Cassidy, La Rochelle, France

Yasser Arafat's illness is a devastating blow to any prospect of peace in the Middle East not to mention worldwide. The man deserves the recognition as one of the most dedicated leaders of his time. If this is the end of his time with us I hope someone of equal charisma and stature can take his place and fill the inevitable vacuum.
Sean Montgomery, Belfast

Yasser Arafat is the symbol of unity for the Palestinians
Jamshed Iqbal, Germany
Yasser Arafat is the symbol of unity for the Palestinians, after him there will be unbalance in leadership. He could bring peace to the region. I hope he will be healthy again.
Jamshed Iqbal, Bonn, Germany

He is a hero no matter what he fought for or what mistakes he made.
Rod Paget, Canada

It has become so trendy lately for people to keep saying that Arafat is the problem in the Middle East. He's made some mistakes along the way, as have all leaders, but compared to those around him (other Arab and Israeli leaders at least), he's done a good job.
Amal, Ramallah

Arafat's death would be a big blow to the region
Khaim Kalontar, New York
Arafat's death would be a big blow to the region because he was the only man capable of controlling the various Palestinian factions. If he is to die there will be great instability in the region and a wave of violence might erupt.
Khaim Kalontar, New York

My immediate thought on hearing that Yasser Arafat's health was continuing to deteriorate was for the future of the Middle East, and the future more specifically of the Middle East peace process. Where does it go from here? The region is so unstable presently that with questions over the succession of the Palestinian leadership dominant in many people's minds, the fear of the potential unrest and trouble that could prevail through arguments over the direction that the Palestinian Organization would or should now take under a new leadership could serve to simply light the touch paper and destabilize further, an already infinitely unstable region.
Nina, West Wales, UK

Get well quickly Mr Arafat, the wider world and the majority of the peace loving Palestinian people need you.
Iain, Glasgow, UK

There are only two bases of significant popularity among Palestinians: Arafat and organisations like Hamas. If Arafat goes, Hamas is the alternative. Thus, Arafat is the lesser of two evils. Palestinian moderates must jockey for position sooner rather than later in order to stop Hamas replacing Arafat via the back door.
Jay Dee, London, UK

In recent years Mr Arafat became as much a problem as a key figure to the solution.
Mary McCannon, Hungary
In recent years Mr Arafat became as much a problem as a key figure to the solution. His ever-changing attitude to share the power made the political processes heavily dependent and debatable. He is - as he has always been - afraid of being sidelined, hence a bit of a forgotten figure, so maybe that is why he holds on so desperately to his post. It is a quite human factor, but unfortunately many innocent people on both sides had to pay enormously heavy price for that, indeed. If the leadership questions remain unsettled, I am afraid we could see a divided Palestine, and in that case it will be frightfully more difficult to broker any kind of peace deal.
Mary McCannon, Budapest, Hungary

As always, one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist.
WAK, London, UK
As always, one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. The fact is that without him the Palestinian people would have sunk from sight long ago, absorbed into other nations. That would have been very convenient those who seek to label him a terrorist.
WAK, London, UK

I only came back from Palestine last month and visited Arafat for about an hour. He gave us a very determined and heartfelt speech where he made clear there was 'Not One Voice' referring to Israeli aggression against his people. There is a chance of collapse within the Palestinian Authority if God takes his life away. But he is the democratically elected leader of Palestine and that is the bottom line!
Ismail, Preston, UK

His death will only create a deadly power struggle in Palestine and more innocent blood will be spilled. Israeli and Palestinian atrocities will worsen and those with the least will lose most as always.
Stuart, Yorkshire, England

This would be an excellent time for Israel to show some humanitarian compassion
Jeremy Palumbo, USA
If Israel really wants to mitigate the terrible violence that would follow Mr. Arafat's death, they should unconditionally offer his senior officers a way to transport him abroad for treatment, and guarantee his right of return, dead or alive. Either that, or offer him treatment in an Israeli hospital supervised by his own doctors. With so much mistrust between Israel and the Palestinians, this would be an excellent time for Israel to show some humanitarian compassion.
Jeremy Palumbo, Vermont, USA

First of all I don't think Israel should be deciding whether Arafat should leave his compound to go for treatment. Arafat is neither an Israeli citizen, nor does he live in Israel. He is a Palestinian and lives in Palestine and should be able to decide where he wants to go and when. The international community should tell Israel not to interfere in the internal matters of the Palestinians. Arafat is human just like all of us, if he dies the Palestinian cause will not die. Some one else will replace him and the fight to drive out Israel from Palestinian areas will go on.
Murad Vehaj Afridi, Bolingbrook, USA

The demise of Yasser Arafat would be the end of an era. He is one of the last towering figures in politics that survived so far from the middle of 20th century. In his own way he is a great man, who shaped the world and Middle East into what it is now. It may be good, it may be bad, but whoever he is - a terrorist or a protector of his land and people he ii a great figure on the world stage. I think that just like all great leaders Arafat will continue till his death, be it right or wrong.
Anonymous, Sweden

All along US and Israel have blamed Arafat for all the problems, politically and physically isolated him.
FZ, Sydney, Australia
All along US and Israel have blamed Arafat for all the problems, politically and physically isolated him. If Arafat dies then the onus would be back on the US and Israel to bring peace about, especially because they would not have anyone to blame. Also his death in the compound will certainly anoint him as the one who died for the cause amongst his people - another martyr?
FZ, Sydney, Australia

If Arafat dies, Israel could rue a missed opportunity for peace.
Jim O'Brien, Dublin, Ireland

I can not imagine any of current Palestinian figures can achieve peace. Israel will discover that he was the only one who could do it.
Fakher Atout, Helsinki, Finland

The Israelis marginalised Arafat because he wanted a deal which was respectable and fair. Since then they have been looking for someone who is more compliant to Israeli wishes. At the same time Arafat has let down Palestinians and Muslims by being the head of the PA which has been corrupt as other regimes in the area. If he had run the PA justly, he would have boosted his standing and been much hard for the Israelis to sideline.
Mohammed Ahmed, London, UK

Arafat has managed to take a just cause - Palestinian self-determination - and undermine it with obstinacy, megalomania, egotistical behaviour, and personal greed. I do hope that his successor(s) are able to complete the quest for Palestinian statehood side by side with Israel rather than build on his dubious legacy.
Adam, UK

Arafat has offered the right hand of peace while holding a smoking gun in his left hand.
John Kemp, Ipswich
Arafat has offered the right hand of peace while holding a smoking gun in his left hand. In English he speaks peace, while in Arabic he continues to declare war. This could be a crucial moment to break the cycle of anti-Semitic propaganda and violence. And for the sake of ordinary people's lives it may soon be possible for a newer and peaceful leader to emerge. I fear, however, that Jihadists may struggle between themselves for power and the people will continue to suffer.
John Kemp, Ipswich

Yasser Arafat has done more for the Palestinian cause than any other individual. The critics may try hard to present him up as a terrorist leader. This is a naive oversimplification. Many current leaders were previously 'terrorists'. In the eyes of many Palestinian people he is a hero.
Nicos Souleles, Carlisle, UK

It is to be hoped that this man's successor(s) will allow Arab advocates of real coexistence with Israel to voice their opinion and contribute to Palestinian politics instead of ordering their murder, as Arafat routinely has done, something that ought not be forgotten when the obituaries appear.
Amos Wittenberg, London, UK

Although not a perfect leader and not without erroneous decisions, Arafat has generally been a positive influence in the Israel/Palestine conflict. I'm concerned about who would replace him and fear that his death may lead to in-fighting and turmoil within Palestine.
Pete, Worcester

Where are the adoring crowds now that their leader is dying? There aren't any. Yasser Arafat is yesterday's man. He had his chances and blew it. Somebody other than Hamas or Islamic Jihad has to represent the Palestinian people. I hope the PA find that someone or else the blood bath will just continue. Yasser Arafat has been an overwhelming failure so much so that there isn't anyone to take over.
Rick, Paris, France

The reason the Israelis have allowed Arafat to get medical help is that he is more valuable to them alive than dead.
Mark, USA
The reason the Israelis have allowed Arafat to get medical help is that he is more valuable to them alive than dead. He is weak, corrupt, and utterly ineffective but he has successfully blocked any possibility of stronger leadership of any political stripe taking control over the Palestinians. This gives Israel the freedom to pursue its own agenda of disengagement unimpeded.
Mark, USA

All my thoughts and hopes are with Arafat.
Anthony, London, UK
All my thoughts and hopes are with Arafat. The rightful Nobel Peace Price winner is and has always been such an inspiration for freedom and peace. Exactly like Mandela in his time, he has always attempted to find a way towards peace despite repeated efforts by Israel to dwarf his importance. Only one Israeli leader had the vision and courage to go hand in hand with him towards peace. Iztak Rabin.
Anthony, London, UK

The only two constants in the life of the Palestinian people since 1964 have been Arafat as their leader and misery for the population. Whether or not he survives, Arafat should step down from his autocratic regime and allow the people to decide their next leader. This is the only chance for improving the Palestinian situation.
Daniel, Tel Aviv, Israel

We might expect that Arafat's death could be celebrated, by his rivals and his supporters, by means of new acts of violence, emphasizing the Palestinian objective as to reclamation of what they consider to be Palestine rather than Israel. In any instance Israel stands besieged by a growing potential for what Palestinians, and their allies, would consider to be acts of heroism, as part of the struggle among Palestinian military generals for greater political prestige and power.
John Holmes, Canada

Arafat should have the right to leave and get treatment if he so wishes without the say so of Ariel Sharon. I just hope that the Palestinian people get a leader and a man of the same courage and standards as him.
Paddy O'Flaherty, Belfast

Yes this really could be a crucial moment for the Palestinians. The Palestinians could do with a leader, if they can find one, who is capable of bringing in some kind of fresh political acumen and diplomacy that is lacking in their leadership at the moment. Arafat may be a courageous fighter, but lacks any diplomatic or political skills and has for too long held himself as the sole identity of the Palestinians. He would do his people a huge favour if he and his coterie moved over and allowed someone with a clear vision for the future and someone who is not over obsessed with his past as Arafat is.
R Venugopal, Delhi, India

Arafat has consistently thrown away chances for peace during his leadership. He is an egocentric man who could have seen peace in his lifetime had his own image been less important to him than what was best for his people.
Dan, Windsor, UK

The Palestinian people can now rise and develop a formal leadership and start working towards peace. The PLO is built on fear and some internal leaders may decide to seize power and cause some trouble. I am confident in the abilities of the Israeli Army to handle any situation that might develop.
James, Lexington, KY, USA




SEE ALSO:
Profile: Yasser Arafat
28 Oct 04 |  Middle East
Who could follow Arafat?
28 Oct 04 |  Middle East


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