By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer November 9, 2007
RAMALLAH, West Bank — The squat tomb sits in dignified quiet, decked in gleaming white Jerusalem stone on a slope soon to be carpeted green by 25 species of trees and shrubs.A two-story prayer hall and 98-foot minaret stand guard nearby, completing a memorial complex for the late Yasser Arafat that is tranquil, stately and well-ordered. It is, in other words, pretty much everything his tumultuous reign as Palestinian leader was not.
"On the one hand, they salute him for his achievements[Death, destruction, poverty, misery, embezzlement and corruption. emphasis added].
Arafat always said he wanted to be buried in Jerusalem, which he hoped would one day serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.That hope remains alive.
Because he believed in the obliteration of the Jewish people, G-d forbid. Arafat's burial in Jerusalem with Jerusalem as the capital of another Arab country would be the equivalent of dancing on the collective Jewish grave.The tomb is built to allow the body to be retrieved easily from the concrete enclosure for reburial, Shtayyeh said. The square minaret overlooking the grave has a window on top through which a laser beam will point south toward the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's walled Old City.Even the pool surrounding the mausoleum on three sides is designed to make the structure appear to float, a sign of its transitory nature, Shtayyeh said.The place may be built in stone, but not for eternity. "The code word of all this is temporariness," Shtayyeh said.