After Gaza

(Newsday) Editorial - Now comes the hard part. For all the angst and pathos of Israel's withdrawal from its settlements in the Gaza Strip, the job of making that territory stable and economically viable will be an even more difficult challenge. If Gaza turns into a squalid haven for terrorists and a launching pad for attacks against Israelis, it will be a disaster for any hope that a peace process can resume in the Mideast. The next important step is for the Palestinians to establish civil order there and not allow the terrorists to control the territory. The expectation that the peace process, in the form of the "road map," will automatically follow the withdrawal of Israeli forces is naive. The Israelis will first insist on proof that the militias in Gaza are disarming. Arab governments in the area also must actually help the Palestinians get the Gaza economy off the ground, not just pay lip service to the goal. Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, has a special responsibility to prevent an illegal arms build-up there. A nation such as Saudi Arabia must also use its oil wealth to help dismantle the refugee camps that have been allowed to exist all these years as a propaganda tool against Israel.

2005-08-26 00:00:00

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