Enough is Enough!

Ever since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington had occurred the violence between Israelis and Palestinians has escalated. Due to Hamas et al’s targeting noncombatants, especially children and teenagers, and the Israeli government’s attacks on the symbols of Palestinian legitimacy (the radio station, Arafat’s helicopters, etc) in retaliation, gives credence to some observers that the Oslo Peace Accords are dead. In my opinion this isn’t true. What the increasing violence does prove is that peace isn’t an unreachable goal but that in order to achieve this a change of leadership is on both sides of the equation is essential. This and the political will to do it are vital. In order for this to come about both Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat must resign. ASAP! Not only to save the agreements but to prevent a conflagration that will consume both people.

There are several reasons why Arafat must resign. The hatred between him and Ariel Sharon is too strong for meaningful negotiations to take place. Although he has served the Palestinian cause well there are no tangible benefits from his leadership. He needs to groom a successor. His tolerance or ignorance of corruption by his subordinates amid the absence of economic opportunities for the mass of Palestinians makes his rhetoric appear empty and insipid. Arafat’s political acumen is in doubt considering that he grossly miscalculated what concessions he could obtain from the former Barak government, turning down a damn good deal, then stupidly refusing to consider President Clinton’s proposals. Even though there was no chance for him to get everything he had wanted, the fact that East Jerusalem, as capital of an independent Palestine, was on the table, should have signaled that here was an opportunity-the opportunity-to obtain something concrete for his people. But no. For some reason the ignorant bastard blew it. Big time.

On the Israeli side the presence of Ariel Sharon is a hindrance to any lasting peace in the region. Due to his tour of the Temple Mount in East Jerusalem the so- called Intifadah broke out. The outbreak of violence and the continued hostility suits Sharon just fine since peace is the last thing this man wants, because without a crisis, he would be irrelevant. As a lightening rod for Palestinian hatred and having been found responsible for the massacres at Sabrah and Chatilla perpetrated by the Phalangist Militias, there is no way for him to prove that he has the integrity to carry out meaningful negotiations and to enforce the agreements. Sharon is great at expressing his “outrage” over Arafat’s inability to halt terrorism but remains silent when Jewish settlers appropriate Palestinian land, attack Palestinians, abuse these people and act like thugs. Sharon has a habit, like George W. Bush, of talking out of both sides of his mouth. Due to his tacit approval of these acts, no on, especially Arafat, would agree to even drink from the same cup, let alone discuss peace with him.

Should the resignations of both leaders not halt the violence then there is only one solution-a massive relocation of the Palestinians abroad. If this sounds like I am asking them to surrender to the Jews’ dream of a “Greater Israel” maybe so. But to me it seems much better to reside elsewhere, living as free human beings with full rights and responsibilities than remain where they are. In affect prisoners in an Arab version of Bantustans, subservient to Israelis and their mercy, both politically and economically. If blacks in South Africa refused to tolerate such a system what makes Sharon think that the Palestinians would? Black South Africans decided to take up the armed struggle when all routes to peaceful change were blocked. Do you think that the Palestinians, especially the children, will sit still for such bullshit forever?

The government of the United States gives $7 billion dollars to Israel annually. So it should be possible for Israel to pay half of this assistance as compensation to people who have been chased from their homes. If Israelis want a “Greater Israel” then they should be made to pay for it. Paybacks are a bitch, aren’t they?