Dec. 17, 2003
December 17, 2003
Continued violence will leave Palestinians fenced off
The Herzliya Conference,
which began Tuesday at the Israeli resort for which it is named, is closely
watched because it is where the Israeli establishment briefly shows the
hand it intends to play. In a speech Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon is expected to confirm rumors that he will give the Palestinian
Authority one more chance to reduce terrorism and seek peace before taking
unilateral action that would preclude a negotiated settlement.
Piecing together comments
made recently by Sharon and his allies, analysts predict that Sharon will
give newly instated Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia short shrift
before dismantling a few isolated Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West
Bank. Moving quickly, the Sharon government then would quickly complete
the security wall that would mean the de facto annexation of much of the
West Bank to Israel.
if pursued, would shred President Bush's proposed roadmap for peace. However,
continued Palestinian terrorism and Israeli retaliation have so stained
the map with blood as to make it unreadable. Unilateral withdrawal would
give the Bush administration the back of Sharon's hand, but it would constitute
recognition by even the most hard-line elements in Israel that continued
occupation of all Palestinian territories and oppression of the Palestinian
population is unsupportable and a mortal danger to Israel.
The Palestinian leadership
under Yasser Arafat repeatedly has turned down more promising opportunities
for a settlement in favor of armed resistance. Ironically, continued violence
rather than peace could result in a Palestinian state, but not one to
any Palestinian's liking.