Without Sin

(New Republic) Martin Peretz - Abbas's current demands are both unrealistic and counterintuitive. Despite his pledge as part of the road map to quash Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other recalcitrant terrorist groups, Abbas has refused even to begin disarming them. This is a danger not only to Israel but to his own government. A few terrorist incidents - or one big one - and the road map will be over. Israel still has no reason to trust either the intentions of Palestinian fanatics or the will and ability of Palestinian moderates to stop them. Which is why it is building the elaborate and psychologically depressing fence to protect its own population from random murder. When there is sustained and sustainable quiet, the fence can be taken down. In the real world, prisoners are not released until their polity is at peace with those they have designated as enemies. The U.S. has already pressed Israel to release more prisoners than most Israelis consider prudent to let go. The rationale for such Israeli concessions is confidence-building, the cliche that demonstrates goodwill in a tight spot but hardly ever works. Besides, it is the Israelis who require confidence; after years of being targeted by terror, it is their trust that has to be built. Confidence-building is the lingua franca of peace-pretenders, such as those who wanted to keep Saddam in power.

2003-08-05 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive