After declarations that Arafat is "irrelevant," and that Israel won't negotiate with Arafat and after proving that Arafat paid for the weapons on the Karine A and for suicide bomber equipment, Israel is still dealing with Arafat and demonstrating that he is as relevant as ever.
Sure, Arafat is no longer personally present in the negotiations and he is not having heart-to-heart conversations with Ariel Sharon, but the Israeli government is still negotiating with him by proxy. As Arafat henchmen like Saeb Erekat and Nabil Shaath parade in and out of Israeli Defense Minister ben Eliezer's office, the situation more closely resembles the theater of the absurd than peace negotiations.
Same goes for the U.S., which has also made grandiose pronouncements about no longer dealing with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat. Tomorrow, though, Saeb Erekat will visit Colin Powell to negotiate on behalf of Arafat.
True, the faces may be those of the secondary terrorists, but the blood-stained hand that guides the process is that of Yasser Arafat, the father of modern-day terrorism.
If it looks like Arafat, and it smells like Arafat... It must be Arafat, folks. Make no mistake about it.