Help Abbas Succeed

(Washington Post) Yossi Beilin - The Palestinian election process has proved that if a Palestinian state is established it will be the first Arab democracy. But the state has not yet been established, and the system now headed by Abbas is not much more than a stage set. The real question is not whether Abbas is genuinely ready for peace and will start combating terrorism tomorrow but whether the U.S., Europe, and Israel are prepared to seize this rare opportunity: the election as Palestinian leader of a pragmatic person who has taken part in all the peace processes with Israel and who courageously came out against the use of violence in the most recent intifada. On a personal level, Abbas is a pragmatic person but not necessarily a moderate. He has no sympathy for the Zionist enterprise, but he understood, before many of his colleagues, that the distress of the Palestinian people could be resolved through an independent state next to Israel, rather than in place of it.

2005-01-14 00:00:00

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