The Day Arafat Died: 5 Articles From Haaretz's Archive

On the 10th anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat, here are five articles published by Haaretz on November 12, 2004.

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A Palestinian security force officer stands guard next to a large banner showing the late Yasser Arafat.
A Palestinian security force officer stands guard next to a large banner showing the late Yasser Arafat.Credit: AP

The front page of Haaretz on November 12, 2004, was dominated – inevitably – by the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Haaretz's top writers had plenty to say on Arafat's legacy, the challenges that his death would pose for the Palestinian people and how Israel should respond to a change in leadership in Ramallah.

The paper's lead editorial encapsulated the ambivalent attitude of Israelis toward the leader of the neighboring people. The headline of the article – 'Enemy, partner, adversary' – neatly captures the Arafat dichotomy: 'He led his people down the path of violence,' but also recognized the need for peace with Israel.

Danny Rubinstein described Arafat as 'an enigma until the end,' explaining that he while was unreliable and a liar, an incorrigible terrorist who could not be trusted, he was also the "father of the Palestinian nation," who led his people from nowhere to the center of the Middle Eastern political stage and into negotiations with Israel.

Uzi Benziman, for his part, said that the Arafat's death came as huge relief to Israel, which wanted to make peace with the Palestinians but was unable to overcome its loathing of their leader.

The front page of Haaretz from November 12, 2004.

Ze'ev Schiff, meanwhile, warned that it would be hard for the new generation of Palestinian leaders to emerge from Arafat's shadow and predicted that Egypt would play a major role in shaping the future of the Palestinian people.

Finally, Aluf Benn – now Haaretz editor-in-chief – commented on Arafat's political successes, while noting that the intifada he spearheaded was fading out.

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