The Corner

When Bush Divorced Arafat

The Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza, and the effort of “humanitarians” to break it, put me in mind of the Karine A. Do you remember that episode, in 2002? The Karine A was the freighter bearing a big ol’ arsenal of rockets and such for the PLO. Israel seized the freighter and displayed the goods: Busted, the PLO were.

I was talking to an Arab journalist once, who said he loved President George W. Bush. “Why?” I asked. He said, “Because Arafat told him one little lie, and he divorced him! Arafat told him that he had nothing to do with the Karine A, and then Bush found out it was a lie. And he washed his hands of him, forevermore: froze him out. Everyone knows that Arafat lies. Everyone expects Arafat to lie. Everyone tolerates Arafat’s lies. But not Bush!”

Have never forgotten it. Arafat was the most frequent foreign visitor to the White House, during the eight years of President Clinton. Jacques Chirac adored Arafat — was with him to the end. Jimmy Carter adored him too — ghostwrote speeches for him. Recently laid a wreath at his grave. Many other statesmen adored him. But George W. Bush did not.

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