01 August, 2021

Not An Inch In Jerusalem, And Yet...

Yasser Arafat is the name of a necessity whose passing even Israel could come to mourn—regardless of the future shape of the Palestinian homeland struggle Updates

Not An Inch In Jerusalem, And Yet...
I had met Yasser Arafat a few times when I was in the Prime Minister's Office of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. But it was during my 30 months of stay in Gaza as a United Nations Special Representative to the Occupied Palestinian Territory in the late '90s that I came to know him well. Though I was working for the UN, he frequently asked me about India and the Congress party with which he had had close ties for a long time. He had great affection for Indira Gandhi. He wanted to help India in various ways, including in its relations with Pakistan. Arafat was once reported to have conveyed his readiness to help Mrs Gandhi rally the Muslim vote for her in Indian elections, an offer she politely but firmly declined. Mrs Gandhi was extremely concerned at Arafat's plight during Israel's siege of Beirut in 1982-83, and had offered help through the International Red Cross. Arafat was looking forward to a visit by Sonia Gandhi in the Occupied Territory at his invitation. But the visit could not materialise due to scheduling problems.

The best time to meet Arafat was around midnight....

More from Chinmaya R. Gharekhan

Latest Magazine

August 09, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section