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Monday, August 04, 2003

Good one by Gil Troy in The Forward

"CARRYING A BIG STICK"
For too long, Israelis have been imprisoned in the "Bontsha Schweig" mentality, as in the Yiddish story "Bontsha the Silent," where all the little Jew demanded after a lifetime of humiliations was a hot buttered roll. For too long, the negotiating dynamic with the Palestinians and the other Arabs has been that Israelis make only one request, for an undefined "peace," even as the other side imposes multiple and mounting demands. The Palestinians have pushed this to another level, providing a new definition for chutzpah: when you start a war, lose a war, then make outlandish and shifting demands rather than suing for peace.

Not only did Sharon, finally, belatedly, take the fight against Palestinian terrorism to Palestinian neighborhoods, George Bush style, but Israel made specific demands: to end incitement, to root out terrorists.

For too long, Palestinians have specialized in selling Israelis pieces of their own "Brooklyn Bridge" again and again — exemplified most recently by the new demand from nowhere, once the cease-fire began, that Israel release prisoners to prop up the new Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, and appease the extremists. Even the "road map" does not mention this issue, although the diplomatic quartet and the media dutifully accepted it once the Palestinians repeated it enough times.
Read it all.