Great leaders usually understand one can compromise on a deal here and there without losing the whole farm. Maybe if Yasser Arafat had cashed in on Camp David he could have laughed all the way to the West Bank. His friendly smile keeps saying ''yes yes'' but his lips say ''no no.''
Yasser, meaning ''no sir,'' has put the Fatah in the fire.
All of the news media quarterbacks will be calling the signals as to what went wrong. Mr. Arafat would have had more success as a PR man if he remembered to shave. Maybe he does shave, but he uses the electric razor that doesn't shave as close as a blade. And he may not even know about safety razors. ''Safety'' to him refers to something he has to turn on when his pistols are tucked inside his belt.
Consideration should always be given to the theory that Arafat's beard stubble is carefully cultivated to make him look more like a terrorist. Then too , the continuous unshaven look gives the impression that the Mideast is frozen in time. Everyone keeps on waiting for the man to shave, or else grow a beard. When the whiskers don't get any longer or shorter everyone thinks it is still the same day.
Quite likely Arafat started out to grow a long beard like Ayatollah Khomeini but he decided he wasn't tall enough.
With all his faults, Arafat is a moderate but he could be the only person in the Middle East who has a sense of humor. If Arafat goes, the PLO will move closer to the influence of Damascus, where there is no sense of humor whatsoever.
Damascus is the capital of Syrious.