Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Why Arafat got Arafatter


Here is a wonderful article by my friend Sam Orbaum, humour columnist at the Jerusalem Post. I'd like to point out that the list of food items and the amounts he quotes that were sent to the beseiged Chairman are not a joke. We all read about it in Israeli papers. Start your day with a smile.

Naomi Ragen

Why Arafat Got Arafatter
By Sam Orbaum
May. 14, 2002
Jerusalem Post

The only ones starving in the Ramallah siege were Arafat's guests. Well, the Jenin Holocaust is over, praise be Allah. We'll never know how many innocent millions were killed (some more than once), but the scope of the tragedy can be measured by the staggering number of cancelled subscriptions toTerrorist Weekly.

While the genocide of innocent terrorists was going on (according to Palestinian sources, the Israelis used atom bombs on Jenin. No, really!), almost forgotten was the heroic Ramallah Ghetto Uprising.

Yasser Arafat (the Gaza Gaon) and his luminary disciples, armed only with one short stick (honest!), staved off the Nazis' relentless onslaught for weeks, emerging miraculously unscathed, though unshaven. And fatter.

No one noticed this, except for Yasser's faithful wife Suha. From her tony digs in Paris, the Palestinian First Lady was watching on TV all the horrific tragedies befalling her beloved people at poolside (no, no - Suha was poolside; her beloved people were botzdeep), when suddenly she noticed a scruffy, big-lipped, fat little fellow on the TV screen.

"Hey, that's my scruffy, big-lipped, fat little husband!" she exclaimed to her attendants. She was very proud.

But if he was beseiged under the direst conditions for weeks and weeks, heroically withstanding an entire army almost singlehandedly, how did Arafat get Arafatter? According to heroic Palestinian sources, they survived on nothing but their own heroism.

"We swallowed our pride," Arafatter explained.

According to The Jerusalem Post, they survived on Osem, Telma and Tnuva. Look, you can believe what you want, but this was actually in the newspaper, so it must be true: during the 25-day period of the siege in Ramallah, the IDF allowed entry of 70 food items. The list, provided by the IDF and published in the Post, included: 13,200 pitot, 420 cans of humous, 423 cans of tuna, 100 kg. of potatoes and rice, soup mix, spices, cheeses, 720 bottles of Coca-Cola, one box of cornflakes, 30 cans of coffee, 155 boxes of tea, 360 kg of sugar, 100 heads of lettuce, 65 kg. of lemons, 24 watermelons, 40 kg. of grapes, and 60 kg. of assorted fruits. (Think of the poor delivery guy at the makolet.)

International human rights organizations will say sure, all that food, but nothing to eat it with (a form of psychological torture the Israelis learned from the Nazis). However, the list includes 3,000 spoons, not to mention 270 packages of toilet paper ("sure, one-ply, another form of psychological torture"), and 120 cartons of cigarettes ("another form of Israeli genocide"), all of which comprise standard starvation rations in concentration camps such as this.

That explains how Arafat got Arafatter.

I HAVE only one question: I One box of cornflakes?! This single item, more than anything else, provides clues of what life was like in the beseiged headquarters, and raises a lot of troubling suspicions.

I've been wondering about this night and day. Why cornflakes? Which cornflakes? What size box - family size, economy size, jumbo size, headquarters size? And above all, why only one? I mean, 13,200 pitot! 423 cans of (presumably dolphin-safe) tuna! 720 bottles of Coke! 65 kilos of lemons! And yet 1 box of cereal.

This is more tonnage than they brought over on the Karine A! These guys ate pretty well, more than entire Palestinian towns, yet human rights organizations claimed the captives were not supplied with food for 11 days. The Post story reported that "when Arafat met with European ambassadors, a complaint was relayed that foreign guests had not been given any food except for eggs."

No smoked salmon. No caviar. No hors d'oeuvres.

The European diplomats diplomatically blamed Israel. OK, that's fair. But the Palestinians had all that humous and didn't serve it to visitors? Maybe there were no waiters in the compound, I don't know. In any case, I don't think we should be blamed for that.

And making Europeans eat eggs without a fork, well! Were Muslim captives forced to ingest Zionist-produced cornflakes, which is against their religious beliefs? If so, that is a war crime.

The UN is asking questions. If it was Telma cornflakes, jumbo size, purchased at the Zilzol super in Beit Shemesh, it so happens they were on sale, two for the price of one, which means whoever bought it gave one box to the Palestinians and smuggled one box to his wife, which is also a war crime.

But the terrorists' shopping list clearly stated "one box." Even if only one person eats the stuff, he'd need more than one box for all those weeks in captivity, right? Maybe one of the terrorists decided to make a cheese cake, and needed just a small amount of cornflakes for the crunchy base. But that's impossible: intelligence sources note that Arafat's headquarters did not have a mixing bowl.

It is a known fact that Arafat eats a bowl of Ugi every morning (crumbs have been detected in his stubble), so why one box of cornflakes and not six or seven boxes of Ugi?

Aha!, say the human rights people, all of whom know the Geneva Convention by heart.

Prime Minister Sharon, who is believed to personally dislike Arafat, wanted to send in Rice Krispies, remembering that Arafat once admitted in an interview that the cereal's noise, detonated by milk, irritates him. But Foreign Minister Peres (why does everyone think he's the Palestinian foreign minister?) pointed out that given the situation - with so many fingers on so many triggers - the snap, crackle and pop could start a war.

And go explain that to the UN.

Could be one of the terrorists had a riboflavin deficiency, and without a cornflake a day he would die.

It's a little farfetched to suggest that the Palestinians needed the cornflakes as a key component in making weapons (well, it is a "vital source of iron"), but this is the Middle East, so it's quite possible. (This is serious here, so I'm not going to make a silly pun about "Killogg's," but feel free to do so yourself.) Many people like to read a cereal box while eating breakfast. Well, Palestinian terrorists are people too! This is one of the more rational theories, and it would explain why one box was enough. I'm not making fun of the Palestinians, and certainly not of Arafat, who after all, did marry Suha. Look, I would do the same if I were surrounded by the Palestinian army for more than a month: I would also draw up a shopping list, though I'd ask for Special K (and if someone else was paying for it, I'd ask for more than one box). Less tuna, please, but a few hundred steaks instead, and toothpicks. (The Palestinians did ask for toothpicks, but the Israelis refused, afraid they'd use them to burrow a tunnel to safety in Europe.)

Anyway, the siege is over, and the terrorists are now free and safe and hungry again, which is why they've hurried over to Arafat's headquarters in Gaza. They heard the IDF is going in, and the local makolet has been alerted.