[EDITORIALS]Yasser Arafat’s deathThe Palestinian Authority president, Yasser Arafat, has died.
He was the leader of the Palestinian people and acted as a key player in Middle East politics for the last 30 years. His death came before the road to a lasting peace in the Middle East had been found.
Although some have accused Mr. Arafat of being a terrorist, those who supported him say that he avoided extremism and through compromise kept up a little hope for the establishment of a lasting peace in the Middle East. Despite complex politics, religious frictions and terrorism between nations and individuals, he was able to unite the Palestinian people with his personal charisma.
At the moment, it is hard to predict what his death will mean to the overall picture of the Middle East. The problems arising after his death ― the Palestinians have to select a new leader while composing a new government ― are not a big obstacle compared to what the Palestinian people have had to overcome in the past.
There could be brief confusion regarding his succession, but there is little possibility that the order of the Middle East will be disrupted because of the sudden emergence of a radical group.
His death is expected to bring about condolence diplomacy during his funeral. Our own government needs to send a delegation to express our regrets to the Palestinian people and do what we have to do as a responsible member of the international community to help establish peace in the Middle East.
We sincerely hope that Palestine and Israel will end their differences and try to build and maintain a healthy relationship so that peace settles in not only this disputed area but also the whole of the Middle East.
The world is now paying attention to the direction of U.S. Middle East policy, because the Palestine problem has been one of the cornerstones of that policy.
With Mr. Arafat’s death and the re-election of George Bush, the world has met another important turning point after the end of the Cold War.
We sincerely hope that the United States will consider the interests of the countries directly involved and its allies when it implements its Middle East policy, so that it can use this opportunity to forge peace. Thus, we hope the world becomes a safer place under the new leadership of international harmony.