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

May 06, 2003

Palestinians face their blood debt

This editorial in The Arizona Republic cuts right to the essence of the problem with peace in the ME
Keep your eye on this picture .

It will tell you all you need to know about the Middle East peace process. For there can be no peace so long as this picture remains so.

If Yasser Arafat, longtime leader of the Palestinian people, and Mahmoud Abbas, new prime minister of the Palestinian Parliament, continue to be photographed beaming in the company of each other, peace is doomed.

For if Abbas is genuine, if he truly abhors terror and dedicates himself to eradicating it, he must fight Arafat.

There is no other way. The road map to Middle East peace goes first through war, a war of Palestinians, their civil war.

Arafat will ultimately side with the terrorists, because he is one.

For years he has charmed the camera with his avuncular smile and big, open arms. But he is a killer of untold men, women and children, a founding father of a Palestinian society that is known for two things, its nurtured sense of grievance and its fanatic embrace of murder.

Arafat's launch of the second Intifada was a crime so heinous that one should never believe he can reform. He has not. He will not.

For six months I have told some Palestinian-Americans I admire that there will be no Palestinian state until there is a Palestinian civil war. And they've told me I'm crazy.

But terrorism has rooted itself deeply in the territories. Those who murder to effect political change do not slip comfortably into the dialogue and diplomacy of state. When they are pushed, they will kill. So they must be crushed.

The Palestinians now face their blood debt. They have so nurtured the pathology of martyrdom in their own communities that they must spill their own blood to be rid of it.

That happens only when enough of them understand they have nothing at the moment to offer Israel. When you talk to Palestinians, they want to catalogue the crimes of the Israeli Defense Forces, tell you about the humiliation of roadblocks and the madness of Ariel Sharon.

But so long as they obsess over the Israelis and the land they inhabit, the status quo remains. And the status quo does not stop Israel from educating its children, developing new industries, enjoying the historic trend of rising wealth. The status quo for Palestinians is rot - one more generation of children who waste their minds and waste their lives.

Nothing changes until the Palestinians realize the contours of the mind are more important than the contours of the land. Then they will do the terrible work ahead of destroying their terrorists and bringing something to the table that is tangible and of consequence.

Real security. Real peace. The beginnings of a deal and the cornerstone of a state.

The Palestinians who do that will be the first to see their children prosper.