Обратимся к прессе того времени.
Arafat's Dangerous Ploy
Oct. 15, 1990
After more than two decades of practice, Yasser Arafat has become an expert in the fine art of survival. Now the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization will once again have to use all his skills to find a way through the current crisis. By refusing to condemn Iraq's conquest of Kuwait, Arafat has infuriated many of his Arab backers, alienated Western powers that had only recently begun to warm to him, and driven Israeli doves into the camps of the hawks.
Arafat's most urgent problem is money. Despite their anger at the P.L.O., the Saudis, according to P.L.O. officials, have maintained their donations to the organization. But the exiled Kuwaiti government, which normally bankrolls Arafat for millions of dollars annually, has cut him off. More important, 400,000 Palestinians who worked in the gulf have lost their jobs since the crisis began, which means that they can no longer send money to their families in the West Bank and Gaza. To free up funds for the neediest in the occupied % territories, Arafat has ordered a 35% cutback in the P.L.O.'s more than $1 billion operating budget.
Arafat is also caught in a political squeeze. The gulf leaders refuse his calls, and he is unwelcome in their countries. In addition, the emerging Saudi-Egyptian-Syrian axis cuts him out of the locus of power. Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak feels personally betrayed by Arafat, and Syria's Hafez Assad has long disdained him.
The P.L.O. leader argues in his defense that his refusal to lambaste Saddam allows him to play a crucial role as a go-between. Arafat has regular communications with Saddam and has been in constant, if discreet, touch with some leaders in Riyadh through Saudi envoys. And despite the official break in the U.S.-P.L.O. dialogue last June, Arafat has kept up informal but regular contacts with the Bush Administration through back channels.
As Arafat sees it, he is covering his bets. Whether there is war or peace, he reckons, the Palestinian issue will have to be addressed. Moreover, if a peaceful solution is found in the gulf, he figures he will share the credit as a mediator. "I am sure some will reward us for helping avoid a catastrophe," says Arafat adviser Bassam Abu Sharif. That may be wishful thinking. The peace package Arafat is touting directly links Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait to Israel's surrender of the West Bank and Gaza -- an unacceptable proposition for the U.S. And in the unlikely event that the Palestinians negotiate a settlement with Israel in the foreseeable future, Arafat might still lose out because his reputation among Arab and Western leaders was irreparably damaged in 1990.
Arafat also faces internal threats. By tilting toward Baghdad, he has bolstered radicals within his organization who would like to depose him. Should Saddam emerge from the gulf crisis stronger, he might challenge Arafat's position. Some tensions surfaced shortly after Iraq invaded Kuwait, when Saddam wanted to arm Palestinians there, but Arafat instructed them to decline. For Arafat, the task, as always, is to ride the tiger without being devoured by it.
И ещё несколько цитат:
By allying himself with Saddam, P.L.O. Chairman Yasser Arafat has made himself more unpalatable than ever to the West; he has long been anathema to the Israelis. Given Arafat's exploded credibility, some Western diplomats say their governments might again look to King Hussein as the Palestinians' spokesman.
(Consequences: What If Saddam Pulls Out?, Time, Feb. 25, 1991)
Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat rendered Shamir's obstructionist policy all the more workable by alienating the West, his Arab bankrollers and the Israeli peaceniks. "The Palestinian path no longer goes through Arafat," says a senior U.S. diplomat. Some of the chairman's supporters suggest he may have to step down to restore the Palestinians' shattered credibility. Even that might not help. Though the Arab regimes pay lip service to their cause, blind attachment to Saddam has cost the Palestinians respect and sympathy everywhere.
(The Future Now, Winning The Peace, Time, Mar. 11, 1991)
Identifying the gulf-war losers -- Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat and King Hussein of Jordan -- is easy. They badly misled their people, who will pay the price for following them into trauma, tragedy and despair. Now each in his own way is fated to lose power and be remembered only as a failure. Of the three, however, Jordan's King Hussein has one last chance to recover. But he must move fast. The window of opportunity to preserve his honor and his throne will close as soon as Jordanians begin to need an outlet for their frustration. Saddam and Arafat are finished, period.
(Some Advice for King Hussein, Time, Mar. 18, 1991)
Ещё одна заметка целиком:
World Notes Palestinians
Time, Oct. 7, 1991
Even the most fiery hard-liners attending the five-day meeting of the Palestine National Council in Algiers last week spoke with gloomy resignation. "There is a new reality -- international, regional and Palestinian," said Farouk Kaddoumi, the Palestine Liberation Organization's foreign minister. That reality, most of the delegates agreed, is one in which the Palestinian people can no longer look either to Moscow or to Arab states for strong political and financial support.
Thus, forced to alter their strategy, the conferees reluctantly but overwhelmingly decided to support the Middle East peace conference that is being orchestrated by the Bush Administration. The P.L.O. leadership also accepted the notion of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. But as always, it left a few loopholes for further negotiation.
Nonetheless, the conference results brighten the prospects for an October peace conference. But the Palestinians were not celebrating. A frustrated Yasser Arafat called his job as P.L.O. chief "a catastrophe" and dramatically pleaded to step down. Said Yasser Abd Rabbo of the P.L.O. executive committee: "We are between the options of suicide and suicide."
А теперь о самой мадридской конференции:
-- THE PALESTINIANS were big winners. Instead of the unshaven face of Yasser Arafat, they presented an image of intelligence, professionalism and sensitivity. They sounded the most conciliatory notes and made the first substantive concession, explicitly saying they will now accept the limited self-rule they spurned when it was offered as part of the Camp David agreement.
(Middle East: Finally Face to Face, Time, Nov. 11, 1991)
The moderate cast of the Palestinian delegation -- its members are highly educated, professional, nonrhetorical -- suggests seriousness about carving out some sort of self-government, perhaps short of an independent state. Arafat has stated, "Anything these Palestinian leaders accept, I will accept."
(How To Follow the Talks, Time, Nov. 11, 1991)
Ещё исключительно примечательная заметка:
According to African-based diplomats, the Arab states think the southern region of Sudan, now held by the rebels, could serve as a possible homeland for the Palestinian diaspora. Observers note that Yasser Arafat was returning to Libya from a meeting with Sudanese leaders when his plane crashed in a sandstorm two weeks ago, nearly costing the P.L.O. chairman his life.
(An African Homeland for the Palestinians?, Time, Apr. 27, 1992 )
И, наконец, о статусе Арафата и ООП накануне выборов 1992 года.
As Yasser Arafat underwent surgery to remove blood clots from his brain last week, it looked, for the second time in two months, as if the Palestinian people might have to get along without their enduring leader. But with the operation a success, it is now clear they will have to carry on with him after all -- a development that has many wondering which outcome would truly have been the more convenient.
Arafat's two intimations of mortality -- the plane crash in the Libyan desert last April and the surgery necessitated by bruising suffered in that mishap -- come at a time of unprecedented discontent with his 23-year leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The chairman, his detractors say, has become too autocratic, too out of touch, too unresponsive to a changing world scene. "He's become the Palestinian Leonid Brezhnev," complains a political scientist at the West Bank's An-Najah University.
The grumbling came to a head last month at a meeting of the P.L.O.'s Central Council in Tunis. There Arafat was lambasted for his organization's endemic corruption and his tendency to make decisions alone or with a small group of cronies. Said a council member: "Arafat got the message that he is no longer above criticism and that if he doesn't lead the reform in the P.L.O., the organization may break apart." The chairman's response was to stall for time by establishing a special committee to examine all complaints and offer solutions.
P.L.O. ineptitude and malversation were major factors in the trouncing of the group's candidates in seven of the eight elections for Palestinian bodies held in the territories in the past 12 months....
Meanwhile, the discontent grows. In recent months the East Jerusalem newspaper Al-Fajr has published two uncharacteristically frank opinion pieces accusing P.L.O. functionaries of pocketing funds meant for development projects in the Israeli-occupied territories. "Where is all the money that has been sent to the territories -- or was supposed to have been sent -- and where and where and where?" one article demanded.
The P.L.O.'s proxy leadership in the territories is also going sour on ; Arafat over the way he has manipulated the ongoing Middle East peace talks from the time negotiations began last October. The Palestinian delegates, all of them residents of the occupied territories at Israel's insistence, had first eagerly pledged their fealty to Arafat. Still, the so-called inside leaders expected to have some power in the process, in recognition of the steady growth of their influence since 1987, when the intifadeh broke out as a homegrown movement without P.L.O. prompting.
(Better Without the Boss?, Time, Jun. 15, 1992)
Спустя неделю в Израиле состоятся выборы, в результате которых к власти придёт Рабин.
Спасение для Арафата было уже близко.