Monday, January 02, 2006

Missed Opportunities... Again

The Palestinians "...have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity--Abba Eban, 1978That quote, about the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, has been used by Israeli politicians and their supporters for decades now. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak extended it to the Palestinians as a whole. I have used the Barak version in a previous post myself. Sadly, Abba Eban's words seem more true now than ever and seem to be true of every aspiring Palestinian leader on the scene today.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, now leading his new centrist Kadima (literally "forward") party, has made the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel a part of his election platform. Polls show Kadima with a wide lead over all other parties with elections scheduled for March.

The Palestinians, for their part, seem ready to vote Hamas into power. Part of this is certainly due to current President Mahmoud Abbas' ineptitude and corruption. According to Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres, a Hamas takeover of the PA would put would the entire Roadmap peace plan in question. He added:
A Hamas takeover would endanger any aid offered to the Palestinians, since no country would provide financial or any other kind of aid to an authority headed by an armed organization of terroristsGaza is the scene of chaos and anarchy. Leaders of various Palestinian factions are announcing they share they view of Iranian President Mahmoud Adhmadinejad that Israel must be "wiped from the map" and replaced with a Palestinian state. Various armed Palestinian groups, some of which did, at times, abide by the cease fire called for by Palestinian President Abbas, now say they have called off any truce and will resume their attacks on Israel. Even during the so-called truce Qassam rockets rained down on Israel, landing next to a kindergarten classroom and damaging a power plant in the city of Ashkelon, prompting increasing calls in Israel to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable.

During all of this there seems to be no even vaguely moderate Palestinian voice, no calls for a renewed peace process. The Bush administration, which had seemed to be moving towards a more pro-Palestinian position since the President's reelection last year, clearly has grown frustrated and has supported Israel's military response in Gaza. Even European leaders over the past year have said there will be no Palestinian state without an end to terrorism and a return to the peace process.

There is overwhelming support in the world community: in Europe, in the United States, even in Israel, for the Palestinians to have a state of their own. It is the Palestinians' own continued insistence on the destruction of Israel that will cause them, once again, to miss an opportunity for freedom and a hopeful future. The Palestinians face only further hardship and suffering until they abandon their terror war and truly accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.

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