January 21, 2002
Taking On Arafat
In a partisan profile of Middle Eastern leaders, Newsweek ignores Yasir Arafat’s bloody history of terrorism, portraying him as a revolutionary and his PLO as a liberation movement (“Arafat and Sharon: A Tale of Two Enemies,” Dec. 17). Sharon, by contrast, is painted as a ruthless militant on the basis of selectively chosen events and such misrepresentations as the claim that he sparked the latest intifada with a “visit to the Aqsa mosque.” This is false. Sharon did not enter any mosque at all. He visited the Temple Mount, the site of Judaism’s First and Second Temples and holiest area, also known as the Haram al-Sharif to Muslims. Palestinian officials themselves have acknowledged that Sharon’s visit was never the issue and that the intifada was “planned in advance, ever since President Arafat’s return from Camp David negotiations [in July 2000] …” (Palestinian Communications Minister al-Faluji, quoted in Al-Safir, March 3, 2001).
Senior Research Analyst
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)