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Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Why does Israel even bother?

On the very day that Israel released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, in the very week that Israel transferred 2 billion shekels (about US$470 million) to the PA, I have to come across this disgusting editorial in the Modesto Bee. Now I know that the Modesto Bee ain't much, but it represents that thoughtless, immoral lefty, pro-Palestinian point of view that I so abhor. It treats the supposed cycle of violence like mere children's pettiness, it promotes a notion of equivalence in accusing both sides of "hesitating," it finds far more fault with Israel than it does with the Palestinians.

For this Israel takes part in "good will gestures" ? It's a waste of good will. It only makes us appear weak, and our enemies take full advantage . . . the Modesto Bee included and for example:
In separate White House meetings with President Bush, Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon explained why the U.S.-backed "road map" toward peace is idling: The other side isn't doing enough to hold up its end of the bargain.

Such finger-pointing is not surprising, given lingering mistrust after 34 months of deadly terrorist attacks and Israeli counterattacks. But the two sides need to get beyond this stage soon, lest a tenuous three-month cease-fire declared by two Palestinian extremist groups dissolve.

Who will take the first bold step? At the moment both Abbas and Sharon are hesitating. The Palestinian won't try to disarm Hamas and Islamic Jihad while they stick to the cease-fire; besides, his security forces may lack both the strength and will to do it. Abbas also faults Sharon for moving too slowly to pull Israeli forces out of occupied areas, for not dismantling more illegal Jewish "outposts" and army checkpoints, and for holding onto thousands of Palestinian prisoners.

Add to that growing Palestinian complaints about Israel's construction of a security fence along its border with the West Bank that's now 85 miles long. What angers Palestinian leaders most is not so much the fence's existence as that, by cutting through parts of the West Bank, it has effectively annexed West Bank land to Israel and left many Palestinians inside Israel, cut off from jobs, markets, schools and villages. Bush has called the fence a problem, but Sharon bluntly refused to stop building it.

But in response to Bush's admonition to "carefully consider all the consequences of Israeli actions," Sharon did promise to "minimize the infringement on the daily life of the Palestinian population." But that "infringement" already exists and is seen by Palestinians as another Israeli fait accompli that could prevent creation of a contiguous Palestinian state that the "road map" envisions and that all parties say they support.

The two sides must stop the finger-pointing and accusations of bad faith and deal seriously.
There's more, but not a lot. I wouldn't bother.