Close sidebar

Why was Arafat killed?

The question is not whether Arafat was murdered, rather why and what interests were served by his killing?

by Hatem Bazian
04 Dec 2013 GMT+3

The new alignment moved swiftly to factor Arafat out and I believed in 2002 that his days were numbered and that the search for a replacement was underway. More importantly, Israel managed to divide the Palestinian national body and fragmented the consensus on the touchstone issues that defined the cause since the 1948.  At best, the current Palestinian political structure is a hostage to Israel's occupational forces, and at worst it has been transformed into a platform for paid employees empowered to protect the settlements from the anger of the Palestinians.

What Arafat had was his signature, and as soon as it was delivered in 1993, the execution countdown was under way. Indeed, what was left was the how and when, not the if. Arafat's nationalist credentials were a threat not to be left to circumstances or allowed to reconstitute. Arafat was killed because he was too nationalist for his own good and too aware of the historical and religious significance of Palestine to accept being a chief in a new colonial plantation.

The hands that delivered the venom were ready to serve in a Palestinian Bantustan connected to the neoliberal Arab and Muslim order, with all its glitter and wealth. For sure, the actual hands that placed the polonium for Arafat's consumption are Palestinian belonging to the inner circle but the execution warrant can be traced to Sharon, Israel and the host of players in the new Arab order that have too much invested to worry about the life of one old man or Palestine for that matter. 

Hatem Bazian is co-editor and founder of the Islamophobia Studies Journal, the director of the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project, and a senior lecturer in the Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at Berkeley. He is a co-founder and professor at Zaytuna College, the first Muslim liberal Arts College in America.  

Follow him on Twitter: @HatemBazian



'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Daughters of al-Shabab

What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience. Learn more about how we use cookies. By clicking ‘Accept’ you agree to these cookies. To decline click here.