Demosthenes writes about the difference between Palestinian extremist groups and the general Palestinian population, a point I want to go a little deeper into. While there has always been a small minority of Palestinians who support Hamas (as low as 14% during the best days of Oslo), the vast majority of Palestinians have been ready to live at peace, side by side with Israel. Even during the current intifada, it's a number that's reached as high as 75% (during the 3 week cease fire before Israel's assassination of Raed Karmi).
Nowadays, people who've never believed in any form of Palestinian rights are showing a poll that says that half ("More than half! 51%!" they say.) of the Palestinians want to "liberate all of historic Palestine". However, since we know that Palestinian willingness to accept Israel isn't dogmatic for more than that hard-core rejectionist 14%, the poll is less indicative of how many Palestinians are willing to live at peace with Israel, than how many believe that Israel will ever let them live in peace. While I realize that this is a misreading of the intentions of most Israelis, its a very similar misreading to the one Israelis have of the Palestinians. The mistake is that one side doesn't understand why the other feel it needs to do things it doesn't want to do. If more Palestinians were convinced that Israel was interested in peace, there wold be stronger support for a accepting Israel. Similarly, if more Israelis thought that Palestinians wanted peace, there would be more support for a Palestinian state, as there was a few years ago.
The key for Israel to reducing terror is not killing either the potential terrorists or the dogmatic rejectionist leaders, but to make the 85% of Palestinians who are willing to accept Israel under the right conditions stop the 15% who aren't. If one looks at the opinion polls throughout the Oslo process, there was a strong correlation between Palestinians believing that they would get their minimum demands met (control over all of the territories, two states, shared Jerusalem, compensation for refugees), and the levels of support for terror and rejectionism. Israel should use those divisions within Palestinian society to its advantage (and to the advantage of most Palestinians) by not giving the dogmatic terrorists recruitment material, but by showing Palestinians that there is hope that their needs will be met. To do otherwise is to let 14% of the Palestinians have a veto over peace for all 10 million people.
:: Judah 10:32 AM [+] ::
Update on the Palestinian "anti-terror" open letter:
Some 150 Palestinians added their names yesterday to an anti-terror
advertisement run by 55 prominent Palestinian intellectuals in the Arabic daily
al-Quds. The ad, first published Wednesday, urges Palestinian militants to halt
attacks on civilians inside Israel, saying such actions hinder the Palestinians'
aspirations for independence. The ad also says that the murder of civilians
deepens the hatred between the two peoples and undermines any chance of
living side-by-side in peace.
:: Judah 7:56 PM [+] ::
In an interview with Ha'aretz, Arafat says he accepts the Clintion proposals, agrees with the public campaign against suicide bombings (as reported below), wishes he would make condolence calls to Israelis, blames "foreigners" for exploiting young Palestinians by paying suicide bombers, and says he's ready for peace. Of course, we don't know how much he's ready to back that up with action, but, if I was Israel, I'd call him on it - tell him that if he actually does everything he says he's going to, as determined by a third-party monitor, Israel would leave the territories entirely and put into place a Taba/Saudi style deal.
:: Judah 7:54 PM [+] ::
The Guardian of London on the "Hamas veto". Hamas times its attacks in order to destroy any international peace initiatives that might bring the Israelis and Palestinians closer to the two-state solution they both need. If only Ariel Sharon wouldn't give Hamas that veto power and go ahead and make the "concessions" neccesary.
:: Judah 12:11 AM [+] ::
Two small pearls of wisdom from Desmond Tutu:
To criticise the occupation is not to overlook Israel's unique strengths, just as protesting the Vietnam war did not imply ignoring the distinct freedoms and humanitarian accomplishments of the United States. In a region where repressive governments and unjust policies are the norm, Israel is certainly more democratic than most of its neighbours. This does not make dismantling the settlements any less of a priority.
Almost instinctively, the Jewish people have always been on the side of the voiceless. In their history, there is painful memory of massive round-ups, house demolitions and collective punishment. In their scripture, there is acute empathy for the disenfranchised. The occupation represents a dangerous and selective amnesia of the persecution from which these traditions were born.
Shibley Telhami writes about why the "mini-Palestine" won't help bring peace to the region. He closes with an idea that I've long proposed: negotiation what the permanent settlement will look like and then, slowly, implement it. This way the Palestinians will see the end result that is coming and the Israelis can have it come step-by-step. It was the disagreement over what a final settlement would look like that brought down Camp David and the Palestinians need to know that Israel will leave all of the territories. At the same time, Israel needs to know it can leave and not be attacked in leaving.
:: Judah 12:05 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, June 19, 2002 ::
Molly Ivins comments on the Texas Democratic Convention. If the TexDems take both Phil Gramm's Senate seat and Dubya's old governorship, it will be a day for celebration around the country.
:: Judah 11:57 PM [+] ::
Testing out the new comments system.
:: Judah 1:07 PM [+] ::
More updates soon... Hold yer horses.
:: Judah 12:59 PM [+] ::
Prominent Palestinians call for halting terror attacks inside Israel (Ha'aretz) Former Palestinian minister Hanan Ashrawi and Palestinian commissioner for Jerusalem
Sari Nusseibeh were among 55 Palestinians listed in a full page advertisement in the Al
Quds newspaper calling for an end to terror attacks inside Israel.
The call came a day after a suicide bomber killed 19 people aboard a bus in Jerusalem,
which prompted Israel to pledge it would seize Palestinian land in retaliation.
"We urge those behind military attacks against civilians inside Israel to reconsider their
positions and to stop pushing our youth to carry out these attacks, which only result in
deepening hatred between the two peoples," said the group in the East Jerusalem daily.
"We see that these attacks do not achieve progress towards achieving our...freedom and
independence," said the signatories.
Most Palestinians consider attacks on Jewish settlers in the territories, as well as on
Israeli soldiers, legitimate. Of at least 530 Israelis killed in the violence which erupted in
September 2000 after peace talks stalled, almost half were civilians targeted inside Israel.
"They give this aggressive government headed by (Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon
justification to pursue its harsh and aggressive war against our people and against our
cities and villages," they said in the advertisement.