This is a very brief extract from a lengthy, well researched article from Front Page (US), 23-Sep-2005, by David Meir-Levi...
Yasir Arafat is the founding father of Palestinian nationalism. He is also the godfather of 20th century terrorism. The nationalist movement that he created ab ovo remains unique in history as the only one throughout the entire world whose defining paradigm is terrorism, and whose raison d’etre is the destruction of a sovereign state and the decimation of its Jewish population. Even after its leader’s death, still loyal to his legacy, the Palestinian Authority remains focused on the destruction of Israel rather than on a healthy nationalism and the building of an economically viable, Palestinian state.
Arafat not only legitimized, but actually romanticized the murder of innocent civilians, turning terrorism into a populist revolutionary tool. He put airplane hijacking on the political map. He legitimized terrorism, beginning with the moment that he was welcomed to the UN General Assembly on November 13, 1974, kaffiyah on his head and side-arm at his waist, and got a standing ovation from the delegates present. When the Nobel committee awarded him its Peace Prize in 1995, he fulfilled the Orwellian fantasy of reality turned upside down, and truth turned inside out. Evil had become good, wrong had become right, and a mass murderer drenched in the blood of thousands had become a national hero to millions
...Arafat was a protégé of the Communist bloc and succeeded in making his cause a cause of the international left that survived the collapse of the Communist system. The alliance between radical Islam and the secular left that ripened during the post-9/11 war on terror was forged in the battles that Arafat waged.
Arafat resuscitated Jew-hatred and made it the official policy of the UN when the Arab bloc leveraged the passage of a UN resolution equating Zionism with racism in 1975. By relentlessly portraying Israel as evil, Arafat revived the heinous stereotype of the malignant Jew to international respectability, eclipsing the effects of the horror of Nazism and proving correct Josef Goebbels’ lesson to Hitler that if you repeat the same lie often enough, people will believe it. ...
Conclusion: There Are No Leaders without Followers
For forty years Arafat was the symbol of Palestinian nationalism, and for forty years he wreaked havoc in the Middle East, most destructively against the people he claimed to serve, and at no time more destructively than when he ruled the West Bank as its tyrannical authority. Other societies suffering under despotic rulers have rejected and removed their oppressors. Why were millions of Palestinians, in Israel and the territories and abroad, willing to support and follow him? Why did those millions on the receiving end of his terrorist autocracy still cheer him, vote for him, run ululating into the streets to greet his motorcade, and sacrifice themselves and their children for what he defined as their cause? Why did they allow him to poison the minds of their children with ethnic hatred and the desire for martyrdom? Why did sixty-percent of Palestinians support suicide bombing against civilians – a barbaric tactic hitherto unknown -- and perpetrate daily carnage on innocent civilians? Why did they allow him to embezzle billions earmarked to alleviate their poverty and build their economic future, and why did they let him spend it on his terrorist minions? Why did they let him squander every opportunity to create their state by answering peace offers with anti-civilian terror?
The Palestinian people never did for themselves what the Ukrainians did when their election process was subverted by Russia, or what the Iraqis and Afghanis did when the United States gave them the opportunity. Or what the Lebanese did when they had the chance.
There are two possible answers: The first is that Arafat’s reign of terror over his own people – assassinating dissenters and potential rivals to his rule – was more thorough than that of any dictator since Stalin. The Palestinian people did not resist because they were terrorized into submission. But the problem with this answer is that Arafat had only, at best, a quasi-governmental authority over the West Bank. There were legal and political councils, lawyers unions, and a police force that could have stood up to him.
The second is terrible to suggest and deeply troubling, but also inescapable. The Palestinian people followed Arafat even as he led them to perdition and condemned them to a life of hopeless grinding poverty, because they wanted what he promised to deliver: the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Arab state from the Jordan to the Sea. They wanted Israel’s destruction more than they wanted their own state. They shared their leader’s vision, and therefore invited the fate that has befallen them.
Click here for the full, lengthy article complete with detailed history