Yasser Arafat Should Be Buried At Deir Yassin
By Daniel A. McGowan, Director
Deir Yassin Remembered
November 7, 2004
Israel should not deny the Palestinian wish to bury Yasser Arafat in Jerusalem, and certainly not under the racist excuse "Jerusalem is the city where Jewish kings are buried and not Arab terrorists."
Jerusalem is a unique city, a "corpus separatum," with strong claims by at least three monotheistic religions. Jews may control Jerusalem, but it is not all theirs to own. It is theirs to share.
The idea of burying Arafat near the Al Aqsa mosque is not unreasonable. While Zionists ranging from Alan Dershowitz to Pat Robertson may denounce Arafat as a terrorist, he has been the principal leader of the Palestinians for forty years. That alone makes him far more eligible to be buried in Jerusalem than, for example, the Englishman Robert Maxwell who was one of the biggest thieves in the 20th century and who was buried in 1991with great honor on the Mount of Olives. Indeed, another terrorist, Prime Minister Yitzak Shamir, eulogized Maxwell at the burial, saying "He had done more for Israel than can today be said," which was seen by many as a veiled reference to Maxwell's work with the Mossad.
But Al Aqsa is not the only suitable burial place in Jerusalem. The desecrated cemetery at Deir Yassin in West Jerusalem would be an ideal location. After all, it was the massacre of Arab men, women, and children by Jewish terrorists in April 1948 at Deir Yassin that marked the beginning of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that continues today. It was from the ashes of Deir Yassin that Yasser Arafat arose.
The cemetery of Deir Yassin sits in the broken middle of Jerusalem. It is within sight of Yad Vashem and all the memories of the Holocaust we must all never forget. It is the ideal place for truth and reconciliation between Jews and non-Jews who claim a special relationship to Jerusalem and to the lands of historical Palestine.
To bury Yasser Arafat at Deir Yassin would be to also bury the racist myth that this was "a land without people for a people without land." Prior to the massacre, Arabs had inhabited Deir Yassin for hundreds of years. It would inspire foreign dignitaries who make an obligatory visit to Yad Vashem to also visit the other side of the valley which is equally important and equally symbolic of the history of the non-Jewish half of the population living between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
Deir Yassin Remembered