The Struggle for the Middle East

(Weekly Standard) Reuel Marc Gerecht - • Should the Bush administration now become more engaged in the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation? •The oldest, luckiest, and most influential terrorist, Yasser Arafat, is at long last dead. Some of his minions in the Palestine Liberation Organization seem in comparison more moderate. The Europeans, who view the Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio as the epicenter of Islamic militancy in the Middle East and among Europe's millions of Muslims, are desperate to see progress in the Holy Land. •The Palestinian national movement, led by the PLO, waged war on the Israeli liberal imagination. That imagination isn't dead, but it is circumscribed by the security barrier across the West Bank. The "Wall" has cut the Palestinian suicide-bombing success rate by 90%, and returned something close to normalcy to the Israeli psyche. •A renewed "peace process" begins with that barrier: It ain't going anywhere. And no American government post-9/11 is going to force the democratically elected government of Israel to move it, not before the Palestinian people have proven beyond doubt that they have gone cold-turkey on terrorism. • It is in fact the "Wall," not Arafat's death, that is the real catalyst for change among West Bank Palestinians.

2004-12-27 00:00:00

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