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Is a Change of Heart Possible?

Reader comment on item: Hope for the Middle East [as Palestinians Face Defeat]

Submitted by David Kross (United States), May 22, 2002 at 11:13

It appears to me that what is being suggested is a sequence of expectations. First is the idea that the recent military incursion by Israel, along with the follow-up pin-point operations, will sufficiently dissuade the Palestinians from the use of suicide bombings, etc. Second is the concept that the recognition of the futility of their latest insurrection to provide gains will become apparent ("When you prick me, do I not bleed?"). And finally, that a new mindset, perhaps coupled with new leadership, will emerge to make a real peace.
Although I subscribe to the theory of fighting back and attempting to destroy terrorist infrastruture, I wonder how great an application of force will be necessary to convince the Palestinians to cease their violence. It seems that Israel has a prettty free hand at the moment to do what it wants militarily. But how much can it do and for how long?
There are two conflicting notions at work here: one that additional Israeli military pressure will only harden Palestinian hearts; and, two, that such pressure will somehow change those hearts in a more productive direction. The key to the future, it seems to me, depends upon who is right.

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