I was at a conference dealing with Palestine and the Palestinians. A number of important, official, political dignitaries from different countries were present. One Palestinian, who wasn't actually a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, but was nevertheless somehow involved with the PLO, walked into the room and abruptly began making a statement. He commanded the attention of the officials and maintained he represented the interest of the Palestinians and was authorized to present their demands to the United States.
As I watched the man's technique of attracting attention to himself, I realized the same methods were used by Russia, a master of propaganda. I wanted to have the man removed from in front of the people. I personally was thinking that if it were necessary to solve the Palestinian problem, one solution would be to line every Palestinian man, woman and child up and shoot them.
The man left the room and someone told me his name and said I should follow him. I waited a few minutes and then went into the neighboring room where the man had gone. There I found Yassar Arafat sitting with some other people at a table. I was surprised I had been able to enter the room and get so close to Arafat.
I didn't actually know exactly where I was and I didn't see the man I had been following anywhere. I asked someone if he knew where the man was, but I was unsure whether I was pronouncing the man's name correctly. Someone pointed to another room which I walked into.
There I saw another man, who appeared to be an American, standing behind a counter. He was a tall sturdy man (30-35 years old) with cafe-blond hair. I walked up to him and we began talking. He soon asked me if I would be interested in representing him in the United States for something. I asked, "What?"
He replied, "I need somebody to make a guilty plea for me. I'll pay three thousand dollars."
I thought for a moment. I hadn't said anything about my being an attorney and I wondered how he knew I was an attorney. He was looking at me and I felt he knew what was running through my mind. It appeared the man had already investigated me. I thought the man had probably been directed by someone else to find out what I did because one other time I had been involved with the Palestinian question. I looked at him and he said, "Welcome to reality."
I wasn't particularly perturbed. I understood that since I was involved in a political question someone had been investigating my background. I said, "I don't believe we've ever actually met."
He introduced himself, "My name is John Rutherford."
I said, "My name is Steve Collier. But you already know that don't you."
I tried to memorize his name as I looked at him. I wasn't completely sure whether he had said "Rutherford" or "Ruthford," but I thought it had been "Rutherford." I searched for something with which to connect the name in order to memorize it and thought of president Rutherford B. Hayes.
Some other people walked up and stood near us. We stopped talking. No one was really saying anything. I didn't know whether I should speak, but finally I looked at Rutherford again and said, "But one thing none of us knows about is what the future holds."
I wondered what my immediate future held. I thought it involved trying to determine whether the United States was even going to talk with some of the Palestinians.
One man standing on my right and another standing on my left leaned over in front of my face and they spoke to one another in a foreign language which sounded like Arabic. At first I thought one of the men was Arafat himself, but upon closer scrutiny I realized he was simply another man. I said, "Oh excuse me. I'll get out of your way."
They said fine.
I moved closer to Rutherford. It was increasingly obvious to me that Rutherford was part of Arafat's retinue. I asked him if he knew what it was that Arafat wanted. He leaned over to me and said, "The first thing he wants is five million dollars."
He then began cursing the United States and talking about all the bad things the United States had done. I thought, "Five million dollars. That should be able to be easily arranged to avoid any more bloodshed."
I asked, "And then what?"
He continued degrading the United States. I asked again, "And then what?"
He continued talking and seemed to be saying something about some kind of factory although I wasn't completely sure. Apparently Arafat wanted the United States to build a factory somewhere for the Palestinians to work in. I thought, "That might be possible to arrange that, but that would be a much more difficult task than simply turning over five million dollars."
The list of demands didn't seem unreasonable to me. It was simply a matter of money and it didn't involve the greater question of returning Palestinian homeland to the Palestinians.
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