Hopes for Peace

[U.S. News] Mortimer Zuckerman - Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader presuming to speak for the Palestinians at the Annapolis conference, no longer controls Gaza and his grip on the West Bank is so weak that even in his capital of Ramallah, Fatah lost to Hamas in the most recent mayoral election. Most intelligence assessments agree that Fatah has virtually ceased to exist in the West Bank. Remove Israeli forces in the West Bank and Hamas takes over. And where would that leave the Israelis, given the vulnerability of major cities like Tel Aviv to rocket fire? The harsh reality is that every time Israel has transferred security to the PA and its police, terrorism has followed. In the decade before the Oslo "peace" agreement, 41 Israelis were murdered. In the decade after, 945 were murdered. Anybody who has visited the West Bank knows how much Fatah is dedicated to peace with Israel. The Fatah-controlled press and TV and the mosques reverberate with continuous incitement to violence and hate. Suicide bombers are depicted as heroes. In recent polls, almost half the Palestinian population would not accept Israel, even if there was a settlement. And Fatah still maintains its own terrorist wing, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Nobody wants Annapolis to fail. But it was prematurely arranged, and the sequence is wrong. The Palestinians should have had to build up a civil administration and an effective and reliable security force first.

2007-12-04 01:00:00

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