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August 21, 2003
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No peace is possible with murderous terrorists from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad

The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com) has published an excellent article that clearly shows that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister has to make a choice:

Tuesday night's suicide bombings in Israel powerfully demonstrated the failure of the current strategy of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in implementing the road map. Unfortunately it had to take the death of 20 Israelis, and the injury of more than 100 others, to prove the point.

Central to the first stage of the road map is the requirement that the Palestinians dismantle their terrorist organizations. Mr. Abbas believed he could succeed in disarming them through negotiation, rather than force, and heralded a three-month cease-fire declared by the terrorists in June as a sign of his progress. Tuesday night (the second major attack in violation of the cease-fire) came ironically as Islamic Jihad leaders were meeting with Mr. Abbas to discuss their cease-fire. Islamic Jihad, along with Hamas, claimed responsibility for the killings (although Hamas incredibly denied the cease-fire was over). [...]

Like his long-time benefactor, Mr. Abbas speaks of "living in peace with Israel" and "dismantling terror." Arafat had a habit of then switching into Arabic and encouraging the suicide bombers in their deadly work, which was financed by Arafat's Palestinian Authority. So far Mr. Abbas has been more consistent. But he cannot straddle the worlds of jihad and international respectability.

For the first time in years, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime, the refusal to deal with Arafat and the presence of a U.S. President committed to fighting terrorism have produced a glimmer of hope that the Israeli-Palestinian question can be resolved. Mr. Abbas has a chance to turn Palestinians away from terror and lead his people to statehood in peace with Israel. To do that, however, he must forcibly disarm these terrorists. If he doesn't, Israel has a responsibility to its citizens to do it instead.

Thanks to RS for the info. I copy the full article below - read it, it touches on all of the right points.

Just Another Arafat?
Abbas has to choose between terror and respectability.
Wall Street Journal, Thursday, August 21, 2003

Tuesday night's suicide bombings in Israel powerfully demonstrated the failure of the current strategy of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in implementing the road map. Unfortunately it had to take the death of 20 Israelis, and the injury of more than 100 others, to prove the point.

Central to the first stage of the road map is the requirement that the Palestinians dismantle their terrorist organizations. Mr. Abbas believed he could succeed in disarming them through negotiation, rather than force, and heralded a three-month cease-fire declared by the terrorists in June as a sign of his progress. Tuesday night (the second major attack in violation of the cease-fire) came ironically as Islamic Jihad leaders were meeting with Mr. Abbas to discuss their cease-fire. Islamic Jihad, along with Hamas, claimed responsibility for the killings (although Hamas incredibly denied the cease-fire was over).

But the terrorists, it is now clear, merely used the cease-fire as an opportunity to re-arm and re-train for further attacks on Israel. It was always unrealistic of Mr. Abbas to believe that he could suddenly persuade terrorists dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel to lay down their arms and accept a two-state solution. These organizations, like al Qaeda, aim to fight until the total destruction of their enemy. The only response is to destroy them first.

The White House appears to have accepted that the strategy the U.S. is using toward al Qaeda is also needed here. As Sean McCormack, the White House National Security Council spokesman, put it in the wake of the bombing, "We call upon the Palestinian Authority to act to dismantle terrorist networks."

The Palestinian Prime Minister and his security chief Mohammed Dahlan must now decide what they want--a Palestinian entity perpetually at war with Israel, or an internationally recognized state free to build its future. The silent majority of Palestinians want a normal life, but the terrorists make it impossible. Messrs. Abbas and Dahlan have shown some inclination to restrain terror, but Tuesday's bombing demonstrates they have a long way to go.

It also won't be easy: One reason for their reluctance to crack down is that they still only control a fraction of the entire Palestinian security forces. The majority are still in the hands of Yasser Arafat, who is working hard to blow up the road map. A genuine crackdown would mean some bloody scenes, and perhaps even a Palestinian civil war.

Mr. Abbas has certainly been around Arafat enough to understand his old ally's game. Mr. Abbas was with Arafat at the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords where, like the current road map, the Palestinians were given control of land and in return promised to dismantle the terrorist networks. But instead Arafat rejected Ehud Barak's generous peace offer, launching the intifada against Israel and giving financial and military support to the terrorists.

Like his long-time benefactor, Mr. Abbas speaks of "living in peace with Israel" and "dismantling terror." Arafat had a habit of then switching into Arabic and encouraging the suicide bombers in their deadly work, which was financed by Arafat's Palestinian Authority. So far Mr. Abbas has been more consistent. But he cannot straddle the worlds of jihad and international respectability.

For the first time in years, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime, the refusal to deal with Arafat and the presence of a U.S. President committed to fighting terrorism have produced a glimmer of hope that the Israeli-Palestinian question can be resolved. Mr. Abbas has a chance to turn Palestinians away from terror and lead his people to statehood in peace with Israel. To do that, however, he must forcibly disarm these terrorists. If he doesn't, Israel has a responsibility to its citizens to do it instead.

Posted by David Melle at August 21, 2003 11:30 AM
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(According to digits.com)