Excavations and Extrications

(New Republic) Martin Peretz - Since anyone started taking a census, the great majority of the residents of Jerusalem have been overwhelmingly Jewish, as it is today, despite the decades of smuggling Palestinians into it for the social benefits of living within Israel. Who, then, still has the temerity to suggest that Israel relinquish what belongs to it, in fact now and in history, and to its children? This hardly means that deep and substantial accommodations should not be made with the resident Muslims. Their history also is here. Sad to say, however, they have a bad habit of denying the past (and present) of other peoples. Almost no one seems to think that the disengagement is a prelude to peace. The competition between the so-called moderates in the Palestinian Authority and the extremists in Hamas and Islamic Jihad is over the loyalties of the mainstream of, sad to say, extremists. That is why Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, declared, "Today we are celebrating the liberation of Gaza and the northern West Bank; tomorrow we will be celebrating the liberation of Jerusalem." There was little difference between these words and those of his more ferocious competitors for the allegiance of the street. Will the firing follow the Israelis into the Negev desert after they have left Gaza? I foresee nothing less.

2005-08-17 00:00:00

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