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"Negotiations"

Reader comment on item: [The Road Map:] Learning from Oslo

Submitted by Joseph Grossman (Canada), Jun 11, 2003 at 13:51

When Abu Mazen declared on Monday that he will "under no circumstances" use force against the rejectionist groups, Prime Minister Sharon should have immediately declared the "road map" to be dead as far as Israel was concerned. If Mr. Mazen refuses to use force to stop the incitement and murder, how on earth can he implement his new responsbilities under the "road map"? He says that he will only use "dialogue" with individuals who proudly and repeatedly say that they have no interest in any agreement in which Israel remains a Jewish state. The only possible incentive he could offer such people is to tell them to be patient and try to persuade them that nothing he is doing or saying closes the door on the eventual destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.

When the express goal of an individual or group is their enemies' complete destruction, and when the fulfillment of that goal is more important than their own lives, there is nothing to negotiate and nothing to talk about. This ought to be self-evident. It appears, however, that President Bush cannot grasp that, and is content to deal with Hamas by letting Mr. Mazen "dialogue" with them. One wonders what his reaction would have been had someone suggested to him, after September 11th, that he should not use force against the Taliban/Al-Qaeda, but rather just "dialogue" with them.

The message that President Bush conveyed to the world from September 11th up to the end of organized fighting in Iraq was that he had the strength and resolve to fight people who committed murder in the name of an aggressive ideology of hatred. The perception among people who value freedom was that finally there was an American president who "gets it" His conduct over the last few weeks conveys the opposite message - that he really doesn't get it; that for all the principled talk, what ultimately determines his actions is realpolitik. By his actions, he is not only putting the security of Israeli Jews in serious jeopardy, but he is also communicating the clear message to terrorists that sometimes, terrorism does in fact work.
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