Palestinian Nation

Likud's 'no' vote assures only continued bloodshed

May 14, 2002

Just when you think the prospect for peace in the Middle East couldn't get worse, Israel's ruling Likud Party finds a way to ratchet things up.

In a stand both defiant and dangerous, the Likud Party voted Sunday to oppose the creation of any Palestinian nation.

An independent Palestinian nation of some kind is inevitable and essential for any lasting peace in the Middle East. The Palestinians will accept no less -- nor should they be expected to. That's why at least the idea is endorsed by Likud's leader, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, as well as the U.S. government, which is trying to broker a cease-fire.

By opposing a Palestinian nation, the Likud Party, in effect, is rejecting a political solution to the decades-old conflict. Instead, it is calling for a military solution, which is impossible. The carnage will continue for decades to come.

Tensions already were at a boiling point over the rash of Palestinian suicide bombings and Israel's military incursions into the West Bank. The Likud vote will inflame heated passions throughout the Middle East, undermine U.S. efforts to broker a peace, further alienate Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and bolster claims that Israel does not want a negotiated settlement.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is bucking for Sharon's job, said a "yes" to a Palestinian state is a "no" to a Jewish state.

He's wrong. Without a Palestinian nation, Israel will never have real security -- though the Palestinians won't get what they want until the terror stops, either.

Likud's outburst might not have a lasting effect. But for now the ruling party of Israel has dimmed any hopes that the killing will stop soon.


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