Yasir Arafat’s demise was most untimely. It came much too late. It is 36 years too late for those who were murdered and maimed in Machaneh Yehuda in 1968.

For the children on the school bus in Avivim in 1970, it is 34 years too late.

Arafat passed away 32 years too late for the dozens murdered inside Lod airport in 1972, and for the Israeli athletes who were murdered at the Olympics in Munich three months later.

Arafat lived 30 years after murdering 18 people in Kiryat Shemona and 27 more people – mostly children – in a Maalot school the next month.

Those killed in the Zion Square bombing of July 4, 1975, are not here for the news that Arafat is gone.

Arafat died a peaceful death, unlike the 36 people murdered by the PLO on the Haifa-Tel Aviv road on March 11, 1978.

It is 19 years too late for Leon Klinghoffer, a passenger on the Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacked by PLO terrorists.

It is too late for all the victims of Arafat’s deception following Oslo.

For Yosef Tabeja, a border policeman who was on joint patrol with a Palestinian Authority policeman who shot him to death in September 2000, and for Yosef Avrahami and Vadim Novesche, who were mutilated to death by a crazed mob in Ramallah after making a wrong turn in October 2000, it’s four years too late. So it is for Hillel Lieberman, who was murdered trying to save Joseph’s Tomb from destruction.

For the victims of the 2000 Gush Katif bombing, including the three young Cohen children who all lost limbs, it is far too late.

Arye Hershkowitz was 55 when he was murdered a few miles away from Arafat’s Ramallah compound on January 29, 2001. His son Assaf was 30 when he was murdered nearby on May 1, 2001.

Dr. Shmuel Gillis of Hadassah Hospital devoted his life to saving the lives of those stricken with cancer, including many Arabs. Fatah terrorists murdered him on his way to his Gush Etzion home from a night shift.

Arafat lived more than 75 years, but Shalhevet Pass only lived 10 months. She was shot to death in Hebron in March 2001.

Yossi Ish-Ran and Koby Mandell were victims of Arafat’s “peace of the brave” in May 2001. They took off a day from school and were brutally stoned to death.

Yehuda Shoham was killed by a rock while riding with his parents in their car in June 2001. Yehuda was five months old.

Shimon Bloomberg and his 14-year-old daughter, Tzippi, were severely wounded by bullets fired at their car in August 2001. Their wife and mother, Techiya, was killed along with her unborn child.

Four days later, Shoshana Greenbaum of New Jersey, who also was pregnant, was murdered at Sbarro. So were, among others, Malki Roth and her close friend Michal Raziel; Frieda Mendelsohn; and Mordechai and Tzira Schijveschuurder and three of their children. Chana Nachenberg and her 3-year-old daughter, Sara, survived, but Chana has not yet woken up.

The 11 people, mostly children, who were murdered in a Fatah bombing at the conclusion of Shabbos in March 2002 outside a Jerusalem shul might still be here if Arafat had left this world a few years earlier.

Arik Krogliak, Tal Kurtzweil, Asher Marcus, and Ariel Zana were murdered in a yeshiva in Gush Katif five nights later.

Two night later, Moment Cafe was bombed and 11 were killed.

Just two weeks after the Moment Cafe bombing, 30 more were murdered on the first night of Pesach at the Park Hotel in Netanya.

Marla Bennett of California and Benjamin Blutstein of Pennsylvania were among the nine victims of the Hebrew University bombing on July 31, 2002. 

A few years after his family made aliyah from Dallas, Ari Weiss was murdered on September 30, 2002. Six months later, terrorists killed Daniel Mandel, whose family made aliyah from Toronto.

On a Friday night in December 2002, Noam Apter and three others yeshiva students in Otniel were murdered during the Shabbos meal. Noam locked himself with the terrorists in the kitchen, heroically giving up his own life to save the 100 other students in the dining room.

On March 7, 2003, Rabbi Eli Horowitz and his wife Dina were also eating the Shabbos meal, with their family, when they were shot and killed.

Zvi Goldstein danced at his son’s wedding on June 19, 2003. The next day he was shot dead while driving to sheva brachos in Jerusalem. His parents, who live in Long Island, were seriously wounded.

Goldie Taubenfeld and her 3-month-old son, Shmuel, were visiting from New Square, New York when they and 24 others were murdered in a suicide bombing as they rode a bus back from the Western Wall on August 19, 2003.

If Arafat had died earlier, perhaps Naava Applebaum would have married Chanan Sand on September 10, 2003. Perhaps her father, Dr. David Applebaum, would still be heading the emergency room at Shaarei Zedek Hospital. But they and nine others were murdered at Cafe Hillel one night earlier.

On Aza and Arlozorov streets in Jerusalem, Bus 19 was blown up on the morning of January 29, 2004. Eleven were murdered, among them Chezi Goldberg, who had written so poignantly about the importance of feeling pain caused by Palestinian murder.

Tali Hatuel was eight months pregnant when she and her four children were murdered in Gush Katif six months ago.

Two weeks ago, a 16-year-old suicide bomber was sent by Fatah to explode in a Tel Aviv market. Three people were killed, dozens wounded.

May Arafat burn in hell, may the memories of his many victims be a blessing, and may there be no more victims, with G-d’s help.

* * *

Marwan Barghouti

With Arafat and much of Hamas’s leadership now gone, there is some hope that relatively moderate Palestinians will assume leadership positions. Undermining this hope are growing calls on Israel to release Fatah terrorist leader Marwan Barghouti from prison. Barghouti is serving a life sentence for ordering the murder of scores of Israelis.

The argument for releasing Barghouti is that he is a moderate who favors a peaceful solution. Putting aside that Barghouti is a mass murderer – which only excludes those who murder non-Jews from being deemed moderates – he has long taken extremist positions and insisted on violence instead of negotiation. The idea that he wants peace is sheer idiocy. 

Already in 1999, shortly after Ehud Barak defeated Benjamin Netanyahu, Barghouti called for the Palestinians to use violence.

But wasn’t Barghouti a supporter of the Clinton Plan, which would have given Palestinians half of Jerusalem, all of Gaza and virtually all of Judea and Samaria?

In fact, Barghouti opposed the Clinton Plan, stating, “We can’t sign this kind of agreement. The intifada will continue, and will be escalated in the next few weeks.” Barghouti explained that he is opposed to any agreement that does not include the right of return for all refugees to Israel.

Barghouti told The Jerusalem Post in December 2000 that “We oppose any return to the negotiations, because now it has become clear that there is no way to make an agreement with the government of Barak… we have asked everybody to accelerate the intifada, instead.”

Why anyone genuinely interested in peace – or even a reduction in violence – would want Barghouti to be given a position of influence is beyond me. If he were not in prison today, Barghouti would doubtlessly lead a resurgence of violence to ensure that no positive steps result from Arafat’s death. Anyone interested in Middle East peace should demand that Marwan Barghouti serve his life sentence.

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Joseph Schick is a writer, lawyer, and indie film producer. He is producing “Jerusalem ’67,” an upcoming feature film about the Six-Day War, and co-produced “Sun Belt Express,” which recently premiered on Netflix. The views expressed here are his own. He can be contacted at jschick972@gmail.com.