Kuttab acknowledges that the President is placed in a difficult place with the issue: "Not laying a wreath will be seen as an insult to Palestinians while doing so would be seen in negative terms by some Israelis." Of course, saying one wrong word or even visiting Israel in the first place is probably an insult to Palestinians so if I was President Obama I wouldn't worry too much about that. But yeah, no kidding honoring someone who murdered hundreds of Israelis might been seen as a "negative" by Israelis! Can't imagine why.
Kuttab points out that since the President will be spending days in Israel and only a few hours with the Palestinians, he's revealing himself to not be "even handed," something that is apparently to everyone except Daoud Kuttab. He's also placing a grave at Yitzchak Rabin. So why not place a wreath at the person Kuttab describes as "the modern day founder of the Palestinian national movement and a person who shares with the late Rabin, Peres and Obama himself a Nobel Peace prize"? Let's just not worry about all the murdering and the racism, it hurts the argument.
But in case the carrot wasn't enough, here comes the stick:
"Failure to pay respect to the Palestinian leader will be a slap in the face of Palestinian nationalism. It would be considered an indirect negation of Palestinians' desire for a national homeland within an independent state. Accepting the indirect Israeli (and American pro-Israel) pressures that will attempt to dissuade him from paying respect will send a terrible signal to Palestinians, Arabs and Moslems."If you don't understand why Moslems in Pakistan and Indonesia will receive "a terrible signal" if President Obama doesn't honor a mass murdering terrorist, you're as confused as I am. It's not President Obama's fault that the Palestinians had and still have fascist thugs for leaders and he's hardly required to honor them. If anything, ignoring Arafat's murderous past and honoring him will be a slap in the face not only to Israel, but to those moderate Palestinians who want peace and real change among the Palestinian leadership (if they are actually out there).
Here comes Kuttab to try to attack the people President Obama plans to honor, as if that somehow makes Arafat's actions OK:
"If the same argument will be applied it would be hard to argue for an Obama visit to Rabin’s gravesite. Rabin was a hawkish defence minister whose iron-fist policies caused death and destruction to many innocent Palestinians and who publicly called for breaking the arms of Palestinians who threw stones at Israelis. Herzel represents the quintessential enemy of the Palestinian Arab peoples whose lands were usurped based on a false claim that Palestine was a land without people for a people without land."There is no comparison between Rabin's rule as an Israeli leader and Arafat's rule as PLO leader. Rabin started the process towards actual, real peace with Egypt in terms of the Sinai Interim Agreement, and yeah when he was defense minister he cracked down hard on demonstrators. That is really comparable to Arafat's murdering of hundreds and hundreds of people. As for Herzl, regardless of what he "represents," he never did a darn thing to the Palestinians. He died in 1904! That being said, Herzl is the enemy of the Palestinians, because he was the one who introduced the idea of Jews having rights and a state, just like the Palestinians demand for themselves. I'll say again, though, Herzl never murdered anyone. Can Arafat say the same?
Kuttab ends with one more threat:
"But if Obama does visit the Muqata’a in Ramallah and fails to pay his respects to the late Palestinian president, he will be seen as having slapped the Palestinian people and Palestinian nationalism in the face. This will not help contribute an atmosphere that is enabling for some serious peace talks in which the US can truly play a decisive element as an honest broker."Honor our dead terrorist or else we're insulted. Welcome to the Middle East, President Obama.