Thursday, April 22, 2004

A Quiet Compliment: TNR is surely no great friend to this administration, but there is no denying the tone of this editorial on the Sharon/Bush Washington summit.
Sharon now envisions a Jewish state living alongside a viable Palestinian one. Whether the ultimate peace between the two proves robust will depend on Palestinians' renunciation of their romance with terrorism. Bush understands this, too. He has freed himself from the rancorous attitude toward Israel displayed by his father and his secretary of state, James Baker, and he has disallowed any Palestinian fantasy, couched in the cunning slogan about a "right of return," of overturning the demographic realities of Israel. Yet Sharon or his successors should likewise not succumb to visions of a chintzy and hobbled Palestine, even when they are making, as they are now, unilateral and unreciprocated concessions. They must not claim a dunam more than is required for the safety of Israel. Someday, perhaps sooner than later, a Palestinian leadership whom reasonable people can trust will emerge and come to the negotiating table without illusions.
It's clear, I think, to a non-partisan observer that the only real movement on the Israel-Palestine issue since the false promise of Oslo has been under Bush, not Clinton -- who famously made this "his issue" to the extent that Howard Dean ridiculously suggested him as a regional envoy. TNR, setting aside its cross-aisle differences with Bush, says so:
The establishment opposition to Sharon's war against terrorist leaders, and to the fence that will certainly stop most of their terrorist followers, is by now sheer ritual. Its relevance has collapsed under pressure from reality, under pressure from this American president.
This may ironically become Bush's biggest contribution (pending an Iraqi outcome) to the war on terror: a decision not to fetishize the Palestinian question.

More: Mark Steyn chips in at the Jerusalem Post (registration required):

Ariel Sharon has decided that one cannot negotiate with a void, a nullity – and even sentimental European Yasserphiles might, in their more honest moments, acknowledge that the only way the Palestinians are ever going to get a state is if they're cut out of the process. So the Israelis are building their wall, and what's left over on the other side will either be a new state, the present decayed Arafatist squat, or an ever more frustrated self-detonation academy. But it will be up to the Palestinians to choose because they'll be the ones living with the consequences.
Proving that he, too, reads FauxPolitik, Steyn goes on to look at the tea leaves of the Palestinian bosses. He concludes just what Razor did:
Poor Rantissi, killed this weekend, seems unlikely to get the glowing send-off from European obituarists they gave to his predecessor, the "revered quadriplegic spiritual leader," Sheikh Yassin. Already, bigshot terrorists in Gaza are said to be reconsidering their applications for next month's vacancy.

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