George W. Bush, MBA, US President, in a Nov. 11, 2004 statement released by the Office of the Press Secretary, said the following:
"The death of Yasser Arafat is a
significant moment in Palestinian history. We express our condolences
to the Palestinian people. For the Palestinian people, we hope that the
future will bring peace and the fulfillment of their aspirations for an
independent, democratic Palestine that is at peace with its neighbors.
During the period of transition that is ahead, we urge all in the
region and throughout the world to join in helping make progress toward
these goals and toward the ultimate goal of peace."
Will Yasser Arafat's absence from Palestinian politics help advance the peace process?
Robert Satloff, PhD, Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, in an Nov. 22, 2004 Weekly Standard editorial titled "A Democratic Palestine," wrote the following:
"The most likely scenario in the
immediate aftermath of Arafat's passing is Palestinian political
stasis... But with the passage of time, all is likely to change... In
the end, Arafat's death opens up vistas of opportunity for Palestinians
brave enough to act. Washington should help them take advantage of this
Dennis Ross, PhD, former US Envoy to the Middle East under Presidents Clinton and George H.W. Bush, in an Nov. 12, 2004 USA Today editorial titled "Arafat's Death Can Breathe Life Into Peace Process," wrote the following:
Arafat's death will create emotional upheaval for Palestinians and the
risk of a violent struggle to fill the void, it may also create
circumstances that make the emergence of a new era possible. Having
sought an alternative to Arafat, the Bush administration must now act
to create an environment in which those Palestinians most committed to
coexistence have the best chance to lead the Palestinian people to a
more hopeful future."
David Makovsky, MA, Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, in an Nov. 9, 2004 San Francisco Chronicle editorial titled "A Window of Opportunity," wrote the following:
passing from the scene is the best hope to revive the stalled Middle
East peace process. The actions taken by all sides, including the Bush
administration, at this critical juncture can help shape this new
Benny Morris, PhD, Professor of History at Ben-Gurion University, in an Nov. 12, 2004 New York Times editorial titled "A Difficult Visionary, a Stubborn Vision," wrote the following:
"Mr. Arafat was probably the only
Palestinian of our time, given his historical and political stature,
capable of persuading the Palestinians, or most of them, to accept the
concessions necessary to achieve a two-state solution. On the other
hand, his successors -- Mahmoud Abbas, Ahmed Qurei and some of the
younger Fatah leaders -- may be more amenable to a territorial
compromise but they lack the stature to intimidate or persuade their
people to accept a two-state settlement or to crush their terror-minded
colleagues. So Yasir Arafat's death may have done us no good at all."
Robert Fisk, PhD, award winning Middle East Correspondent for Independent, in a Nov. 16, 2004 Independent editorial titled "Death, Delusion and Democracy," wrote the following:
death of Yasser Arafat is a great new opportunity for the Palestinians,
is it? The man who personified the Palestinian struggle -- 'Mr.
Palestine' -- is dead. So things can only get better for the
Palestinians. Death means democracy. Death means statehood. That the
final demise of the corrupt old guerrilla leader should be a sign of
optimism demonstrates just how catastrophic the conflict in the Middle
East has now become... The reality is that the outlook in the Middle
East is bleaker than ever."
James Zogby, PhD, Founder and President of the Arab American Institute, in a Dec. 19, 2004 Znet online magazine article titled "An Opportunity? Why Arafat's Death and Bush's Second Term Won't Help" wrote the following:
"Despite repetition, their [U.S. policy makers] mantra, 'with Arafat's death and Bush's reelection a unique opportunity now exists to achieve Middle East peace' is not only insulting-it is wrong and dangerous
This mantra is wrong because it ignores the many unchanging realities that continue to impede the path to peace. It is dangerous because by ignoring these realities the policymakers and analysts are merely raising expectations that they will not and cannot fulfill.
Clearly what is implied by this 'unique opportunity' is the view that Arafat was the major obstacle to peace and that with his passing that impediment has been removed. Only now, it is assumed, a new and more moderate, i.e. accommodating, Palestinian leadership will emerge that will stop violence and accept Israel's terms for a settlement...
These two assessments are wrong, ignoring as they do the many factors that stood in the way of peace"