James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

Arafat’s successors vow to follow in his footsteps …

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The Jerusalem Post reports, Arafat’s successors vow to follow in his footsteps: “Yasser Arafat’s three top successors vowed on Tuesday to follow in his footsteps by refusing to compromise on the right of return for all refugees and insisting on the establishment of a Palestinian state on the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip, with Jerusalem as its capital.”

While this position is ridiculous as a political matter (Israel will never allow itself to be destroyed by overwhelming Arab immigration) such statements may be necessary to win broader Palestinian support. Abbas presents hope for peace, but the real concern is whether he can deliver it. In order to do so, he will have to re-educate the population that has been manipulated to hate Jews for many years. This will require a careful strategy of defending Palestinian terrorists while also marginalizing them. The concern is not that Abbas is worthy of negotiations with Israel, but that the radical elements among the Palestinians are too strong to support any workable partner for peace. We’ve already tried negotiating with one who can deliver peace, but refuses to do so. Hopefully one who is willing to deliver peace can find a way to deliver it.

Further down, the article notes, “‘The decision to nominate Abbas as Fatah’s candidate is undemocratic and illegal,’ said a Fatah official from Ramallah. ‘The Fatah central council does not represent the majority of the Fatah cadres, especially the young generation.'” The truth of this claim underlies the fear that peace is not possible.

In other media, there was some excellent analysis on the dilemma in finding someone who can be both a partner for peace and deliver Palestinian civility in this article from The New Republic. It makes me think that Israel should take a hard rhetorical line against Abbas now, to help Abbas earn legitimacy among the Palestinians as one who fight against Israel.


Written by JamesEJ

Tuesday, November 23, 2004 at 5:24 pm

Posted in other

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