As his health suffered a further setback today, Yasser Arafat announced whom he wishes to take over his role in the event of his demise.
The ageing Palestinian leader made the announcement though a spokesmen at the Paris hospital where he is being treated.
He added that his people should back his choice with the same passion and devotion that he had enjoyed for many years, furthermore his successor should endeavour to break through the impasse that he himself had not been able to, and put aside the personal animosities that have prevented a negotiated settlement to the intractable problem of Palestinian/ Israel relations, which in turn has led to such
dangerous instability in the Middle East as a whole.
Arafat said that he considered long and hard and deliberated on what was best for the fledgling Palestinian state. He stated that certain qualities were needed in such a person. These qualities were uncompromisingly essential to his peoples goals and aspirations.
Clear leadership skills were paramount in Arafat's opinion coupled with great wisdom and presence. Finally, he added that his successor would have to have a great beard and the ability to don odd head gear and carry it off with a certain panache.
To that end it was, in Arafat's opinion, a one horse race. His spokesman announced the name of who he considers to be the obvious choice for his "Dauphin" ; Papa Smurf.
Papa Smurf has led his people for over thirty years, a race of oppressed blue midgets who only wish to live in peace but whose autonomy is constantly threatened by the aggressive, belligerent and threatening neighbour and bitter Wizard Gargamel as well as his evil cat Azreal (Geddit!!!) who is hell bent on the destruction of the Smurf State and eating its citizens.
Soon after the announcement Papa Smurf emerged from his Switzerland Home with his long term partner Smurfette and made the following statement:
"We are saddened by the reports of the worsening of the health of our good friend President Arafat and wish him a speedy recovery, at this time he still commands the Palestinian state and heads up the struggle. We hope and pray for his rapid and full recovery".
Smurfette simply giggled and flirted with photograpghers
Papa Smurf has in the past maintained a low profile on the issue of his political leanings but it would appear that he is ready to take over the helm. His clever use of publicity, pop songs and magic potions will add a new dimension to the Palestinian peoples struggle for independence.
Doctors are due to make a further announcement on the health of the current president later today. Papa Smurf made no further comment and continued his scheduled recording session in preparation of his Christmas Album, "Papa Smurf Sings Morrisey"