The Great Refusal

(Jerusalem Post) Saul Singer- Shin Bet head Avi Dichter has testified that 45% of the PA budget is composed of taxes collected by Israel from Palestinians and duly remitted. During the height of the current war, Israel suspended these payments, but they were restored in response to American pressure. There is no reason for Europe to financially cut off Arafat before the U.S. stops pressuring Israel to maintain its money flow. As long as these funds are not cut off, the U.S. seems unready to help bring in the new Palestinian leadership it has called for. The real source of the Arab-Israeli conflict is not settlements, and not just the Arab penchant for dictatorship. It is the almost century-old Arab attempt to deny any Jewish right to self-determination in Israel. The first step is to address what Fouad Ajami calls "the great refusal" that "persists in that 'Arab street' of ordinary men and women, among the intellectuals and the writers, and in the professional syndicates among the secularists and the Islamists alike." The Palestinian predicament is the result, not the source of, the conflict. It is not a "conflict" in the usual sense of a fight over something to be divided. So long as there is a refusal to accept Israel in any borders, all other questions are moot.

2004-10-06 00:00:00

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