Alone at the Dance

(U.S. News) Mortimer B. Zuckerman - * The Middle East's old diplomatic game of make-believe is back. The peace process is hopelessly deadlocked, but the key players pretend otherwise, hoping that wishing will make it so. * The Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, have, once and for all, given in to the gunmen. Abbas pledged to establish "one authority, one law, and one gun." He has failed on all counts. * When radicals threatened to break the cease-fire several weeks ago, he caved, freeing nine of their jailed gunmen. He caved again when the radicals threatened to kill Fatah supporters unless he released another terrorist who had been firing rockets in Gaza. When Israel gave the PA the names of militants involved in a February suicide bombing in a Tel Aviv nightclub, he caved yet again, arresting several, then releasing them. * Instead of living up to his promise to keep tabs on a "Most Wanted" list of 495 terrorists, he tried to slip many of them in as employees of the Palestinian security forces, to legitimize and launder their possession of arms so they could attack again. When Israel provided the names of weapon smugglers, Abbas's security chiefs tipped them off that the Israelis were on their trail. * The incitement of hatred is also still going on. In print and on broadcast media controlled by the PA - and subsidized by Europe and the U.S. - Israelis and Jews continue to be demonized, their murders blatantly encouraged. Palestinian kids save terrorist cards the way American kids save baseball cards. * Israelis rightly ask: What's the point of strengthening a leader whose popularity is plummeting, who cannot or will not exert control over terrorists, and who has proved incapable of carrying out his promises? * How sad that there is no leader on the other side with a vision of what a Palestinian state might be and with the courage to save the PA from being a fig leaf for an increasingly anarchic terrorist state.

2005-08-08 00:00:00

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