Keep Trying

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Peace in the Mideast

In the NY Times today, William Safire blogged:

The war to determine if there will be a Palestinian state has begun.

On one side is the quadriad of terror: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and Arafat's "martyrs" brigade. Their goal is to defeat Israel and drive the Jews out of the Middle East. On the other side is the Palestinian Authority, largely made up of Arabs who want a state of their own on all of the West Bank and Gaza, engaged in peaceful trade with Israel.

For a decade, these two sides tried to present themselves as one, with Yasir Arafat constantly straddling: condemning violence to his European supporters one day, then passing arms to his terrorist wing the next.

Now that's over. Because realists in Israel and the U.S. insisted that Palestinian statehood depended on setting up a government that would end the straddle and confront the terrorists, Palestinian legislators weary of war eased Arafat aside and installed Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen.
That ability of Palestinians to take control of the land they live on is at the heart of the matter. An Authority that will not exercise authority is no Authority and fails the first qualification for statehood. When Arafat refused to use his police power � giving terrorists the license to kill � Israel's defense forces had to fill the vacuum and moved in. As soon as Abbas and his security minister, Muhammad Dahlan, become the undisputed law in the West Bank and Gaza, Israel can safely withdraw.
If Abu Mazen can dismantle the all-or-nothing coalition, Israel can make peace with his Palestinian Authority. Sharon can help by relaxing some checkpoints, releasing tax revenues and ostentatiously closing the half-dozen illegal settlements.
But in the end, it's up to the Palestinian Arabs. Will they choose the rigid jihadish coalition, and another generation of isolation and misery? Or will they accept the changing Palestinian Authority, and a better life in a state next to a peaceful Israel?

Is it possible that those so dedicated to Israel's destruction will give up that dream and choose peace? I hope and pray that they will choose life and end their dreams of destruction.