Thursday, August 06, 2009

Monument to Yassar Arafat

In Ramallah, but a distance from Sally's apartment, we visited the Mukataa -- the headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority bombed and bulldozed to rubble by the Israelis in 2002 then reconstructed and turned into a tomb and memorial for Yassar Arafat.

The early 2000s were another tense time in Israel-Palestinian relations after the killing of a top-level Israeli minister and an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in Jenin. The UN was worthless and Arafat held on inside the ruins of his compound which actually boosted his falling popularity among Arabs. After some two years of virtual house arrest, Arafat got really sick and was flown to Paris where he died. 

Israel refused to let him be buried in Jerusalem so he is in a tomb covered in the same white stone of Jerusalem's buildings -- in Ramallah. A marker says eventually he'll be in the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem -- after establishment of a Palestinian state. In the meantime, the memorial complex is worthy of DC.

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