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Arafat: From Defender to Dictator

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In this meticulously researched and iconoclastic work, Said Aburish, the internationally respected Palestinian political analyst and writer, turns the popular western perception of Yasser Arafat upside-down. Far from being the benign heroic freedom fighter who has kept the hopes of his displaced people alive, Arafat is revealed as a narrow-minded operator, out of touch In this meticulously researched and iconoclastic work, Said Aburish, the internationally respected Palestinian political analyst and writer, turns the popular western perception of Yasser Arafat upside-down. Far from being the benign heroic freedom fighter who has kept the hopes of his displaced people alive, Arafat is revealed as a narrow-minded operator, out of touch with reality, whose personal ambitions and lack of understanding of democratic principles have made him a deterrent to real peace in the Middle East. Aburish exposes the unsound foundations of Arafat's leadership, and shows that his PLO has never been a revolutionary movement; rather Arafat and the PLO have always represented an elite group of Palestinian families who have grown ever more rich. Moreover, Aburish has discovered from hitherto silent but impeccable sources that since 1963, when Arafat first established contact with the CIA in Beirut, the PLO has conducted a secret dialogue with the US, amounting to a betrayal of its people- in effect an agreement to avoid military or economic confrontation with Israel. Aburish goes on to demonstrate that, in his current role as President of the Palestinian Authority, Arafat has created one of the ugliest expressions of absolute dictatorship, even by Middle Eastern standards, in the world today. He concludes with a stimulating analysis of the likely future for Palestine and of the crucial world implications.


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In this meticulously researched and iconoclastic work, Said Aburish, the internationally respected Palestinian political analyst and writer, turns the popular western perception of Yasser Arafat upside-down. Far from being the benign heroic freedom fighter who has kept the hopes of his displaced people alive, Arafat is revealed as a narrow-minded operator, out of touch In this meticulously researched and iconoclastic work, Said Aburish, the internationally respected Palestinian political analyst and writer, turns the popular western perception of Yasser Arafat upside-down. Far from being the benign heroic freedom fighter who has kept the hopes of his displaced people alive, Arafat is revealed as a narrow-minded operator, out of touch with reality, whose personal ambitions and lack of understanding of democratic principles have made him a deterrent to real peace in the Middle East. Aburish exposes the unsound foundations of Arafat's leadership, and shows that his PLO has never been a revolutionary movement; rather Arafat and the PLO have always represented an elite group of Palestinian families who have grown ever more rich. Moreover, Aburish has discovered from hitherto silent but impeccable sources that since 1963, when Arafat first established contact with the CIA in Beirut, the PLO has conducted a secret dialogue with the US, amounting to a betrayal of its people- in effect an agreement to avoid military or economic confrontation with Israel. Aburish goes on to demonstrate that, in his current role as President of the Palestinian Authority, Arafat has created one of the ugliest expressions of absolute dictatorship, even by Middle Eastern standards, in the world today. He concludes with a stimulating analysis of the likely future for Palestine and of the crucial world implications.

30 review for Arafat: From Defender to Dictator

  1. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Great, balanced book, which deals with the myth and symbolism that surrounds Arafat, and brings us back to remind us how all too human he was.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    The first biography of its kind written by a fellow Palestinian, Said Aburish's look at the life of Arafat gives an enlightening account of the triumphs and failures of one of the Middle East's most divisive figures. Aburish states in the introduction that he refused Arafat's offers of interviews and help with the book in order to remain unbiased in his account of the Fatah leader's life. The book attempts to dispel myths surrounding the PLO frontman (such as his claims of being born in Jerusalem The first biography of its kind written by a fellow Palestinian, Said Aburish's look at the life of Arafat gives an enlightening account of the triumphs and failures of one of the Middle East's most divisive figures. Aburish states in the introduction that he refused Arafat's offers of interviews and help with the book in order to remain unbiased in his account of the Fatah leader's life. The book attempts to dispel myths surrounding the PLO frontman (such as his claims of being born in Jerusalem among others) and Aburish is not hesitant to criticize Arafat's hunger for the limelight, poor organizational skills, and inability to control the various Palestinian liberation movements and how these flaws hurt the Palestinian cause numerous times throughout his career. However, the author treats his subject fairly and paints an engaging picture of how a young Arafat fought his way to the forefront of the world stage through a combination of sheer tenacity, perseverance, work ethic, and force of personality. I highly recommend this biography for anyone looking to learn more about the man, the Palestinian liberation movement, and the evolution of the Arab-Israeli limp towards peace.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tristan Laing

    It's popular today for Palestine activists to take an extremely dismissive line on Arafat. The more you read the details, the more you are inoculated against one-sided anti-leadership rhetoric - while at the same time making yourself more aware of the problematic aspects of Arafat's career which people are quite right to critique.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  5. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Corbett

  6. 4 out of 5

    Recep Pehlivan

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rhiana

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gilson Landry S. Brasil

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Fellows

  10. 4 out of 5

    Maurice

  11. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Schloss

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chips

  14. 5 out of 5

    Salah Sakka

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ali El mais

  16. 4 out of 5

    N

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

  18. 5 out of 5

    Derek Ide

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ollie Hoad

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dee

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andy S

  22. 5 out of 5

    Betty

  23. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Walleser

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mohamad Tarraf

  25. 5 out of 5

    Simon Wood

  26. 4 out of 5

    Roderigo

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maarouf

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  29. 4 out of 5

    Zita K.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Samer Kader

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