Dark Thoughts Intrude on Prospects for Gaza

(Newsday) James Klurfeld - The Palestinians don't interpret the withdrawal as a grand gesture but, rather, as a sign of weakness, a vindication of their suicide bombings and unrelenting terror against Israel. They think more terror will bring further withdrawals. So the government of Mahmoud Abbas - rather than establish a peaceful, civilized enclave in the Gaza Strip - will prove unable or unwilling to control the militants of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and Gaza will become an armed camp from which Palestinians can launch rockets and terrorist attacks against Israel. Then how long will it be before Sharon - or any Israeli leader - sends in the troops again? Sharon will be able to say: "You see what happens when we make a unilateral move for peace? It is only misinterpreted as a show of weakness and an opportunity to attack Israel. Your assumption has been that if only Israel made concessions of land for peace, the Palestinians would respond and accept a two-state solution. But the Palestinian goal remains what it has always been: to drive Israel out of its land, to destroy Israel." Rather than creating an inexorable logic for withdrawal from all of the West Bank, Israel's withdrawal from Gaza will be proof to the world that the Palestinians can't be trusted to fulfill their part of the bargain.

2005-08-19 00:00:00

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