Israel's Search for Peace and Security: The Challenges Ahead

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon - * Opposition to democratization remains formidable, not only on the part of radical elements whose existence is threatened by it - such as Palestinian terrorist organizations, Hizballah, or the regimes in Iran and in Syria - but also by moderate regimes close to the U.S., who see democratization as a threat to their survival. * The democratization process needs to be followed with a high sensitivity to the possibility of extreme elements, especially Islamic extremists, using democratic processes to gain control of countries, as seen in Algeria and Iran, or as might happen in the PA if Hamas wins elections and establishes a radical Islamist regime. * The process must include education for values not offered by the present regimes. In this regard, it is essential to condition aid to Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority on educational reforms and the cessation of anti-Western incitement. * There is a need to deal with the roots of extremism, particularly among young Palestinians. Without a concerted effort at reforming Palestinian education and removing textbooks from classrooms that discourage reconciliation, there will only be a continued need to fight in the future. * Progress in the peace process has been stalled by Palestinian chairman Abbas's refusal to enact his own decree of "one law, one rule, one gun," and by the persistence of gang logic in the PA. Abbas has permitted this situation by insisting on the inclusion of Hamas in the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections without disarming it, and by further taking no action to isolate terrorist groups. * Abbas has undermined the peace process by keeping terrorists in power as a means of controlling them, and has aided their rhetoric by calling for the most expansive definition of the right of return. Abbas is not weak, but he has used weakness as an excuse to the benefit of Palestinian terror groups. * Israel's disengagement for the first time bestows upon Palestinians the responsibility for contiguous territory and makes the Palestinian issue a significant one for Egypt and, to some extent, Jordan. * The Gaza disengagement created several unfortunate precedents: unilateral action without receiving anything in return; relinquishing the demilitarization of the territories by giving up control of the boundaries; removal of settlers outside the context of a bilateral agreement; and the deployment of Egyptian troops in the Sinai as a revision to the Camp David Accords.

2005-11-17 00:00:00

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