Tuesday, December 07, 2004
...of the Middle East's class clown, Yasir Arafat, has created an opening for a settlement.
The leak in the past 24 hours out of the Egyptian press that the Israelis and the PA appear to be moving ahead quickly in the wake of Arafat's death appear to be a bit of bong smoking on the part of the Egyptian Foreign Office. Sharon's office has come out with a quick smackdown, but a rather soft one.
What may be afoot is that Secretary Powell himself maybe trying to give it the old College try one last time before Condi steps into the batter's box. However, the parties have no sentimental attachment to the general, this is purely about power. I fully expect Rice to be able to broker a settlement, but only after elections have delivered popular authority into Fatah's hands. Only then can abu Mazen or some other King for a Day deal with a semblance of legitimacy.
This is the problem that Condi Rice plainly sees; other than Arafat, the Israelis have never had a genuine Palestinian party with whom to negotiate. Arafat has died; part of the problem is solved. Arafat had no interest in a final settlement with the hated Jew. Besides, were Arafat to sign off on a Jerusalem compromise after taking the maximalist position all these years, he could have woken up with nine grams of jihadist irredentism in the base of his skull.
Now then, the Israelis have done Condi's dirty work for her for the past two years-the IDF's campaign against Hamas, Fatah, the Tanzim, and the Islamic Jihad, have been brilliantly successful. There was a reason we said nary a peep while the Arafat's entire middle management team was wiped out by Apache strikes and Special Action units of the IDF. Now that the Palestinian's campaign of terror has failed, Sharon must be persuaded to be reasonable as he dictates terms. Only then can the Israelis possibly know a ceasefire under American auspices.
However, it will only be a ceasefire.
The Israelis will never know peace. That is a chimera. Unlike some, I do not believe that neither the Palestinians nor the other Arabs will deviate from their national wish-dream of the extermination of the Jews of Israel. However, because the Israelis are made up of the same stuff that animated Athens and Sparta, the Palestinian dream will remian what it is-sound and fury, signifying nothing.