Friday, July 15, 2005

Is the Palestinian Authority Making A Good Faith Effort?

That's the question I have (I don't pretend to know the answer) as I read this story about Palestinian police clashing with Hamas militants. In and of itself, that's a hopeful development, but the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is notorious for shooting down dreams of peace. In this case, the bad news is that Mahmoud Abbas is unwilling to condemn Islamic Jihad or Hamas specifically. The easiest conclusion to draw is that Abbas cannot survive politically without at least the tacit support of these organizations, but is that the correct conclusion?

After all, many assured us that Lebanon would fall into civil war without Hezbollah and its proxy-for-Syria stranglehold that brought 'stability'. I predict that Abbas will not survive if he continues to play hot-and-cold; he has to pick one side or the other. We've already seen where the militant side leads; if Abbas wants to go down in history as the leader who secured the Palestinian state, he needs to move beyond the generic and take these two groups on...and if he does, he needs to know he will have our support.

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