Yasser Arafat: an asset or a burden, a confidential Israeli document

Summary of a highly confidential1 document prepared by the Israeli General Security organ on 15 November 2000. Leaked to and Published by Ma'arive newspaper, 6 July 2001

Palestinian Ministry of Information
Summarized by: Mohammed Salah Al Attar
Translated by: Nida Younis


This document was prepared by a number of specialists in the Israeli General Security organ upon direct directions from then Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Conclusions, which were the result of deduction and comparative research, were deduced from strategic justifications. The overall assumptions, crystallized by various warrants, effectively shaped the policies suggested to tackle the latest and future developments on the basis of the best available choices at the time.

Is Arafat an asset and a necessity for solving the historic Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Rather, is he an invincible barrier to achieve the desired solution?

Part one

To answer the first question, the following considerations were deemed to be a prerequisite for evaluating the importance of Arafat's continuity:

1. He recognized the state of Israel

2. He conducted negotiations with iIsrael

3. He continuously stressed his commitment to the peace process

4. He is the supreme and competent authority of the Palestinian people that is he has the ultimate authority to take difficult decisions.

5. He the core stone for stability in the Palestinian Territory for standing firm against the increase of the political weight and regional influence of the radical and extremist groups.

Part two

To answer the second question, the following consideration cast light on the logic behind getting rid of Arafat:

1. He is a very dangerous leader.

2. He pushes Israel into a regional war.

3. He is a blatant and serious threat to the strategic achievements of Israel i.e. peace with Jordan and Egypt.

4. He threatens the security of the whole area; the stability of the neighboring countries' regimes is endangered.

5. He has no intention to give concessions in the key issues of the conflict especially the Jerusalem issue, the right of return for the Palestinian refugees and withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 boarders.

6. His ambitions exceed the temporary settlement to make great achievements that would, if achieved, threaten the existence of the state of Israel on the long term.

7. His recognition of Israel is provided by the various resolutions of the international legitimacy and the Principle of Land for Peace.

8. He encourages the Palestinian national resistance and gives legitimacy to the methods and tactics used.

9. His persistence on being the symbol of the Palestinian people and exerting all possible efforts to consolidate the Palestinian national unity.

10. Settling relations with the Arabs of Israel to guarantee the utmost effect when needed.

11. Mobilizing the international public opinion against the state of Israel.

12. Rallying the Arab states and the regional and international powers against Israel.

13. He is cunning and capable of evading crisis.

14. Investing all the negotiable cards to achieve his aims.

15. His continuous demand for an international protection for the Palestinian people.

16. Exploiting the illegality of the settlers and settlements built on the Palestinian Territory for his interests.

17. Mastering media propaganda tactics and the noticeable ability to market his opinions. He is capable of turning flagrant defeats into astonishing victories bearing in mind and working sincerely on gaining solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Part three

What if Arafat disappears from the political life?

If Arafat disappears from the political scene, there would be a bloody internal war of domination over the PA institutions and bodies. Moreover, a coalition of secular and security personalities would probably assume power. Meanwhile, Hamas would not have the same precedence and power of such a coalition. For a very long time, mostly years, the Palestinians would be busy with their internal war of domination. The baby steps leadership would be occupied with settling their governance. Furthermore, nominating no prominent, serious, and definite successor to Arafat is expected to weaken the Palestinian leadership internally, regionally, internationally and on the Arabic level. On the other side, the "new" leadership would be, for sure, dependent on the assistance and support of the Arab leaders. Therefore, the regional Arabic effect on the Palestinian leaders, mainly from Egypt and Jordan, would be further enhanced.

In this regard, the future young-new Palestinian leadership would be more pragmatic, open-minded to the proposed solution. It is taken for granted that that this leadership would initiate relentless war against the Islamic opposition. As a result, a civil war erupts and leads to both the recession of the international support and the Palestinian effect on the Arabs of Israel.


Yasser Arafat is a great danger to the state of Israel.

For this reason, the advantages of his disappearance of the political scene exceeds, by all measures, the merits of the continuity of his role as a key player on the political scene of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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