Arafat: in the eyes of the beholder
From the historic 1993 handshake on the White House lawn to the current turmoil in the streets, Yasser Arafat has held the key to peace in the Middle East. Time and again pronounced politically dead, Yasser Arafat has surmounted opposition and, like the phoenix, has risen again. Five years after allying himself with Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War and uniting his friends against him, Arafat is hailed as a hero by his people and as a peacemaker by many others. Through epochal peace agreements, he has moved from pariah to president and parliamentary leader of the new Palestinian government. His peacemaking efforts have won him a Nobel Peace Prize.
Who is this man and what is the source of his power? In this updating of their groundbreaking study Arafat: In the Eyes of the Beholder John and Janet Wallach examine Arafat from the perspectives of the friends and relatives who know him best, his Jordanian rivals, his Syrian adversaries, his Israeli enemies and friends, the Americans who have dealt with him, and, most important, Arafat himself.
The authors disclose many previously unknown details-from Arafat's childhood to his student days in Cairo, from involvement in terrorism to calls for coexistence, from the women who were part of his troubled love life to Suha Tawil, his young Christian wife. It charts the course of secret CIA-PLO contacts that laid the basis for subsequent peace efforts, tells how Arafat was persuaded to renounce terrorism and accept lsrael, and details the negotiations leading to the Madrid conference, the landmark Oslo accords, the implementation agreement, and the first democratic Palestinian elections.
The result is a significant exploration of a leader who, despite his earlier notoriety and his long list of enemies, has not only survived but has attained the status of a world leader.
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