Yasser Arafat and the Politics of Paranoia

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“Those seeking to understand Yasser Arafat's legacy must first understand him and his political tactics. Peace and justice are sought in vain by those in the region who do not grasp the inner workings of Arab political cultures with their internecine feuding and violence … This book is perhaps the most thorough academic appraisal of the nature of Palestinian politics, culture and society in English … Dr. Bukay has a deep personal knowledge of the issues and personalities: free speech for Arab and Jew but threatened by terror every day … This contextual reality gives the book a rare authority and authenticity … Unless policy makers pay heed to such far-ranging yet detailed work, they are doomed to operate in a world of myth and illusion...This corrective book reveals what political culture and power politics truly consist of...Arafat always inspired flights of nonsense from Western journalists...How is it possible to reflect on Arafat's most enduring legacy – the rise of modern terrorism – without recalling the legions of men, women, and children whose lives he and his followers destroyed?...Dr. Bukay's courageous, honest and evidence-based scholarship provides insight in depth and range, contributing not merely to scholarly debate but to the current, living world of politics and history.” – Christopher Barder, Academic Tutor and Freelance Writer, Oxford, England

“Arafat was the most outstanding example of the hypocritical, distorted and immoral international agenda: Instead of rejecting and condemning him, the international community embraced him and thereby prevented any chance of forging understanding and agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab countries as well. The greater his success on the international stage – in UN votes in favor of the Palestinian cause and in his acceptance as a legitimate, respected leader – the more he radicalized his positions, exacerbated terrorism and intensified his determination to liberate the territory of the Land of Israel in its entirety, to destroy a people and a state. Nevertheless, surprisingly and perhaps counter-intuitively, only a few serious biographical studies of Arafat have been undertaken. In that sense, David Bukay’s study is not only a breakthrough, but a profound analysis of his complex and twisted personality, and his influence on the internal Palestinian circles; on Israeli policy; on the inter-Arab community; and even upon the international community. The study’s most significant contribution lies in its interdisciplinary nature, integrating social and behavioral sciences with history, employing profound vision and the analysis of highly influential implications and processes. In addition, David Bukay focuses on the culture’s approach, as one of the experts on political culture (he authored a book on the topic), and by means of that approach, assesses its influences and ramifications on the shaping of decision making processes and regional policy.” –Arieh Stav, Director, Ariel Center for Policy Research

“David Bukay has written a crystal clear and penetrating account of the arch-terrorist Arafat. With a bold stroke, he has cut through the web of distortion of Arafat’s malevolence woven by populist commentators. Tragically for so many victims of Islamic terrorism against Israel and the United States, the semi-heroic status of Arafat created by propagandists emboldened him to widen the scope of misery and death. But who holds self-appointed pundits to account for the harm they perpetrated by praising the agents of evil? Bukay’s thorough documentation reveals the full horror of Arafat’s life-in-terror and permits his readers, finally, to view reality instead of fabrication regarding this scourge of mankind … If books about recent history would affect our political life, then Bukay’s remarkable achievement in this book would change the course of Israel’s political future for the better.” – Shlomo Sharan, Professor, Educational Psychology, School of Education, Tel-Aviv University

Table of Contents

1. Palestine – The Land and the People
2. Arafat – The Personality, the Leadership and the Myth
3. Arafat and Israel – Ideological and Political Perspectives
4. Arafat and Israel – The Politics of Terrorism

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