June 29, 2001
How many Israelis is it acceptable to kill on any given day?
Bizarrely, such questions are the focus of current Mideast diplomacy.
Yesterday, Secretary of State Colin Powell said the parties to the conflict had
agreed to a seven-day period in which to see if the violence ends, as it was
supposed to have on June 13.
This would be followed by a six-week “cooling off” period,
“confidence-building measures” and, ultimately, a resumption of negotiations.
But Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been insisting on no Palestinian Arab
attacks on Israelis at all. Sharon said he wouldn’t start the six-week period
unless there was “zero violence.”
By contrast, Team Bush has been talking of an “adequate level of quiet and lack
of violence.” As if any level of violence were tolerable.
Bushies want to give Yasser Arafat points for “effort.”
President Bush himself this week stressed the “progress” that had been
made in reducing terror.
As if Arafat can ever be presumed to be acting in good faith.
In fact, since the so-called “cease fire” began, not a day has gone by
On Wednesday, the Israeli Army tabulated that violence:
19 grenade attacks, 26 mortar launches, 109 shooting incidents.
Proportionate to population, that would be equivalent in America to 887
grenade attacks, 1,213 mortar launches and 5,086 shooting incidents.
Just yesterday, an Israeli woman was murdered on a West Bank
The Bush folks – Powell, in particular – need to remember the central truths in
the Middle East: Arafat and his Palestinian minions don’t want peace.
They don’t want Jews (or Americans, for that matter) in the Mideast.
And they won’t rest until they get what they want.
Meanwhile, Bill Clinton – who yearned for a peace agreement to salvage his
legacy – essentially admitted this week that he’d been duped by the Palestinian
leader, according to an Newsweek / MSNBC Web site.
Clinton called himself “a colossal failure. . . . I’m sorry I blew this Middle East”
thing, he said.
Where’d he go wrong? In believing that Arafat was ready for peace.
Now, Powell and Bush seem to be making the same mistake.
It’s nice that they’re pushing for peace.
But there can be no meaningful negotiations in the presence of violence.