Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Regarding "Palestinians and Hamas near truce", by Ian Fisher, IHT, June 18, 2003: ( This posting has no real structure, but I decided to post it anyway, since it reflects the confusion that engulfs me these days ) The misleading nature of the heading of this article says much: Hamas members are - just as those of Islamic Jihad, Fatah, Tanzim, Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, PFLP etc. - Palestinians, and form an organic part of Palestinian society. The leaders of these organizations have an essential influence when it comes to decision making on the Palestinian side. Of course this does not mean that all Palestinians are terrorists, but it does indicate what kind of compromises and peace efforts we can expect from the - elected or other - representatives of what will become our neigboring state. " With no major violence since Friday, the parties are optimistic ". For heaven's sake, where in the world would one be optimistic about the chances of ( true ) peace only after less than four days without 'major' violence, whatever that may be? I suppose the killing of an Israeli soldier in Jenin on Friday or the two Israeli women being seriously hurt by gunfire north of Ramallah do not come under the category of "major violence", nor do the attack by and killing of two armed Palestinians near Rafah and Beit Hanun on Sunday. As usual the optimism, which already started on a shaky basis, was premature; by the time we read this article the 7-year old Noam Leibovitch had been murdered and her 3-year old sister was moderately wounded by terrorist fire, while their family was driving within the Green Line. How are we supposed to believe Abu Mazen, Yasser Arafat, Marwan Barghouti, Mohammed Dahlan or anybody else among the Palestinian leadership, when they talk about a cease-fire? If we do business with Abu Mazen, will we be able to rely on him, or will we have to close separate deals with ( or eliminate ) the leaders of each and every terrorist Palestinian organization? Why would they trust Ariel Sharon, or any Israeli? Will a peace deal end the conflict, or at least make life much harder for the terrorists? Should physical separation be a part of such a peace deal? The number of questions we want to see answered these days is overwhelming. How comforting it must be to simply belong to one of the extremist currents on the different sides of the conflict, and to be assured that you have answers to each question that might come up in your head. Or do extremists not ask questions at all?

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