BBC Reporter cries for Arafat

Not improbable at all.

The BBC has received some 500 complaints about Plett's broadcast, which was broadcast on its Radio 4 program, "From Our Own Correspondent."

In her report, Plett said: "When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound, I started to cry . . . without warning."

She went on to reflect that, "in quieter moments since I have asked myself, why the sudden surge of emotion? I suppose there was a pathos about the strong contrast between this and other journeys Yasser Arafat has made."

In her report, entitled "Yasser Arafat's unrelenting journey," Plett noted that "foreign journalists seemed much more excited about Mr. Arafat's fate than anyone in Ramallah We hovered around the gate to his compound, swarming around the Palestinian officials who drove by, poking our microphones through their dark, half-open windows."

She lamented that amid all the media activity just a few hundred loyalists turned out to see him off from Ramallah, "waving and calling out one of his favorite sayings: 'The mountain cannot be shaken by the wind'."

Where were the people, she asked, "the mass demonstrations of solidarity, the frantic expressions of concern?" Then she answered her own question: "I think this history explains Palestinian emotions better than mine.

"For me, it was probably the siege. I remember well when the Israelis re-conquered the West Bank more than two years ago, how they drove their tanks and bulldozers into Mr. Arafat's headquarters, trapping him in a few rooms, and throwing a military curtain around Ramallah.


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