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Middle East Issues

Arafat Quote Unverifiable, Likely Inaccurate

A quote attributed to Yasir Arafat on various websites cannot be verified. Arafat is quoted as saying:
The Palestinian people have no national identity. I, Yasser Arafat, man of destiny, will give them that identity through conflict with Israel.
The citation provided for this quote is Arafat: Terrorist or Peacemaker by Alan Hart (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1984).
CAMERA’s attempts to find this quote in this text, and in the American version of Hart's book, Arafat: A Political Biography (Indiana University Press, 1989), have failed.
Passages in this text indicate that Fatah leaders did regard conflict with Israel as a way to build Palestinian identity. For example, on page 124 Hart reports that Khalil Wazir (also known as “Abu Jihad”) believed military action against Israel “was necessary to fix the Palestinian identity.”
Nevertheless, the quote shown above does not appear in the book cited. It is possible the quote appears in another text, but until a verifiable source can be found for this quote, it should not be used by writers or regarded as accurate by readers.

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