The Many Minds of Arafat

Faced with chaos all around, the Palestinian leader looks for a solution--and an enduring legacy

Yasser Arafat must have had an objective in mind when he sat down in late September with leaders of the Tanzim, the Palestinians' grassroots militias, and instructed them to prepare for possible confrontation. Maybe he thought a judicious application of violence could strengthen his negotiating hand with the Israelis. Or he wanted to restore his footing with Palestinians alienated by the deeply frustrating process of peace. Or he had given up hope of ever negotiating a settlement acceptable to his people and decided to let them express their profound dismay.

Whatever his intent, Palestinian anger has set off an explosion with...

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