Israelis were shedding no tears last night for Yasser Arafat. Ayelet, 24, a bookshop assistant, said she was "delighted" that Arafat was leaving the stage. "He was a tyrant," she said. A young hairdresser with slick, waxed hair, who would not give his name, added: "The Israelis are a lot of cowards. We should have killed him in Beirut in 1982, when a sniper could easily have taken him out." Yona Bahari, who runs a roasted peanut shop around the corner, said: "Whoever succeeds him couldn't be worse. Arafat was the worst terrorist in the world, much worse than Osama Bin Laden." Zion Muthada, a florist, added: "When Arafat was alive, he sent bombers into our streets. He was the rais [president] of all terrorists. I can only hope he won't be succeeded by someone even more extreme."
Stanley Lipschitz, a restaurateur, concurred: "Arafat is the epitome of evil. He's the inventor of hijacking, the father of modern-day terrorism. He has caused incredible pain and suffering to our people, but also untold damage to the Palestinian people."
South African-born Mr Lipschitz was pessimistic about the prospects of a more democratic regime emerging. "Unfortunately, the voices of reason will be battered down in a power struggle among the terrorist groups. The only chance is that eventually a reasonably benevolent strong man will take control.
"Otherwise, we're going to have to continue with our unilateral withdrawals. I believe Ariel Sharon has seen the light. We have found our F W de Klerk. Where is their Mandela?"Reuse content