Friday, August 22, 2003

Time Magazine's Tony Karon writes:

The blame for the breakdown will inevitably land at Abbas's door — the Bush Administration and Sharon will chide him for failing to find the political will to act against terrorism; the Palestinians will chide him for being duped by them. But the problem may lie not only with the actor, but with the script: The "roadmap" has not changed the salient reality for the Israelis, which is that terrorists with no interest in a peace process can, at will, exercise the option of killing Israeli children on the streets of Israeli cities. Nor has it changed the salient reality for the Palestinians, which is a life of collective punishment under an Israeli occupation that imprisons them in their cities and separates them from their land, whether to expand Jewish settlements and their attendant infrastructure, or to build the security wall that will lock them into a patchwork of enclaves comprising less than half of the West Bank. It is its inability to transform those realities that is the inherent weakness of the "roadmap" plan.
So how to solve that problem? Both Israelis and Palestinians want basically the same thing: normal life. For Israelis, it's life without fear of riding a bus. For Palestinians, it's life without roadblocks and house demolitions. Ariel Sharon is once more relying on the IDF, whose position is ideally suited to his needs. For him, retaliation is a must; derailment of a peace process is the goal and old military tactics is the tool.

Yitzhak Rabin knew that the term 'Holy Land' is nothing but fifth rate skewed theology. He knew that peace would come by starving terrorism at it's roots: peace for land. (Unfortunately, his succesors did not exactly live up to it: settlements grew immense, more land was grabbed and water was rerouted to settlements. Instead of starving terrorism, it starved the Palestinians.) Palestinian public support for terror is created by misery and repression. Create a livable and peaceful environment for Palestinians and public support will cease. "We will negotiate as if there were no terrorism, and fight the terrorists as if there were no negotiations," Rabin said. Sharon must do that.


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