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No Historical Reconcilliation Until Arafat is Out

Reader comment on item: Arafat's Failure May Offer Seeds of Hope

Submitted by Natalie Hassman (United States), May 7, 2002 at 05:39

It seems highly unlikely that the PA's demise and Arafat's humiliation can open up opportunities for Palestine's historical reconcilliation with Israel and acceptance of its existence. First, the terrorist infraststrucutre has been significantly degraded but not completely destroyed. Second, with the exception of a jailed Barghouti, the rest of the PA leadership -- who planned and executed the war of terror against Israel -- is practically intact. Third, it is Arafat's victory that he did survive against all odds, not only physically but politically, and is now being given a second chance as a "prudent" leader by the Bush administration and the Europeans. The EU and the World Bank plan to continue financing the corrupt Palestinian leadership without placing any reasonable restrictions on its use of terror. The Palestinian people have been radicalized and impoverished by intifada. If the survey data is accurate, ie around 70% Palestinians support suicidal bombers, these supporters of terror cannot be expected to support Israel's existence. For their part, the Israeli public today is hopefully less gullible; traumatized by terror, it would be unwilling to be duped into accepting deals with PA leaders tainted by their connection to terrorism. The Israelis have also learned a lesson that the non-Jewish world is blind to their suffering and is grossly unfair in the treatment of their plight, their deeds and their leaders. The European boycott and the media war against Israel -- played against the background of burning synagogues in France -- will be imprinted on the Israeli national psyche as a new post-Holocaust trauma. A Palestinian state -- unless it is completely demilitarized and democratized -- will not be acceptable to the majority of the Israeli electorate and political parties. And as long as this is untenable, no reconciliation would be possible. So if Bush and Powell have a quick-fix OSLO II in mind, we can expect another round of government crisis, which will lead to Sharon's ultimate resignation and Bibi's victory in the early elections. Acceptance of Israel's existence can only be secured by a new Palestinian leadership. The models of Serbia and Afghanistan can be tried in Palestine. No strategic planner, however, seriously considered a peaceful resolution in Serbia with Milosevic at the helm or -- better yet -- the rebuilding of Afghanistan presided by Al Qaida and Bin Laden. Powell's doctrine that left Saddam in Iraq had proven to be a failure that would require more money and perhaps lives in the near future. So why test a failing strategy again in Palestine when history teaches us that terrorist dictators cannot bring stability or initiate political change? It looks that brilliant retired generals are too blind to learn lessons from their own blunders and they wish to test their failed strategies elsewhere. Unfortunately, these blunders cost human lives.
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