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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

December 07, 2002

Many Palestinians Rethinking Violence


It's hard to see how the current intifada can be characterized as anything other than a complete failure. Aside from upping their kill ratio -- and destroying whatever moral credibility they might have had by embracing suicide bombing -- they're no closer to having a Palestinian state than they were two years ago. Indeed, they're farther from the goal because a peace plan was on the table two years ago and now there's only a "road map" which President Bush has shown little interest in lately. He still hasn't met with Arafat and likely never will.
After more than two years of silence, a slowly swelling chorus of Palestinian leaders and opinion-makers says taking up arms against Israel was a mistake and must stop.

The latest voice is that of Jibril Rajoub, once the most powerful security chief in the West Bank. Rajoub now says he warned Yasser Arafat in a strategy session 10 days after the start of the uprising that allowing armed gangs to take over would lead to disaster.

Rajoub's forecast has proven chillingly accurate: 26 months later, nearly 2,000 Palestinians and nearly 700 Israelis are dead, the Palestinian economy is crushed, Israel has reoccupied the West Bank and Israeli travel bans have turned many Palestinian towns into virtual prison camps.
The most surprising apsect of this whole mess is that Arafat and the assorted terrorist groups thought it would work in the first place.

I don't know. Maybe rational thought isn't taught in madrassas -- in fact, it isn't -- but there is no way any sensible opponent would allow tactics such as suicide bombings and targeting civilians to succeed because we would never see the end of it if it did. The only choice once those tactics are embraced is how to fight, not whether.

Even Colin Powell, who has been entirely too keen on negotiations when military action is appropriate, is calling the intifada a mistake:
Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday he believes the current Palestinian uprising against Israel is "a mistake."

"It has not brought the Palestinian people any closer to a state of their own or to peace, and I think the sooner that terrorism and violence of this nature is ended, the more likely we are to move forward on the vision that President Bush laid out in his 24 June speech for two states living side by side in peace with each other," said Powell in a press conference with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou in Washington.
If there's to be a Palestinian state, the circumstances have to be such that Israel can feel secure within its own borders and acts of terror are not tolerated by the new state, much less encouraged.

Cross-posted on NNP.