Middle East Opinions - opinions about all aspects of the middle east region

Monday, March 21, 2005

Israel pulls out of West Bank

Once again it looks like "peace" talks are on the move. Israel has begun to hand over control of 5 major (5 of the biggest) Palestinian cities to the Palestinian Authority. The cities to be handed over to Palestinian control (in order) are:

  • Jericho
  • Tulkarem
  • Qalqilya
  • Bethlehem
  • and Ramallah

    I would like to point out two very important things to bear in mind about this return of control of these cities to the Palestinian Authority. So:

  • Firstly, this is return of control to the PA, so in order to understand this correctly we need to know when last the PA had control of this cities. The answer is in 2000 before Arafat and his minions released the latest wave of terror attacks on Israel after Camp David. For those who don't remember the Camp David summit was held in 2000 by Bill Clinton and was attended by Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat. Arafat was offered 97% of what was asked for and declined saying he would not compromise with Israel. (97% is not even a true compromise; it's more like a landslide victory. Still enough for Arafat to say no to though. Compromise as I was taught is roughly 50/50 not 97/3. In retrospect, nothing less than everything would have been accepted.) So back to the point. At this stage (Camp David) the Palestinian Authority was already in control of virtually all Palestinian areas in an attempt to prepare for a "Palestine". Despite this level of control and the offer made by Barak, the Palestinian Authority decided to launch a new war against Israel. This war as decided and planned before the Camp David summit (what does that say about the PA?) would be characterized by the virtually exclusive targeting of civilians in an attempt to cause maximum damage and break the spirit of the Israeli people. As a result of this new war (intifada - I'll speak to this term in another post) Israel retook control of these areas. This was not as a means of revenge or tit-for-tat retaliation but an attempt to protect Israeli citizens. In doing so Israel managed to stop almost 90% of attempted attacks (that's right what is on the news are only successful attacks). Unfortunately this situation caused a large setback in the "peace process" as well as in the furthering of the Palestinian quality of life. Once again people are made to suffer for their leaders egotistical and thoughtless actions. So the need for return of control comes from the Palestinian Authority attacking Israelis citizens in a planned and methodical wave of terrorism. It follows logically then that the most important thing the PA can do now with their new control (assuming their interest is the Palestinian people and not the destruction of Israel) is to start improving the lives of Palestinians in these areas, while keeping a short leash on militants. Unfortunately this also means the PA will actually have to punish militants and extremists for violence as well as inciting violence.

  • Secondly, let's understand what is meant by a "Palestinian city". These cities are not necessarily built by Palestinians or were originally under Palestinian control. In fact at least three of these cities were originally Jewish or Christian (long before the notion of a Palestine). What this means is that these cities are today predominantly Palestinian. In many cases this is so because of Palestinian intolerance towards other people. There are many recorded cases of Jews being expelled from traditionally Jewish cities at the threat of violence or death by Palestinians. In a lot of these situations the cities non-Arab artifacts and landmarks were destroyed and the city called a "Palestinian city". One has to remember that in some of these cases this is simply a political means to a greater end - the belief in the eyes of the world of the Palestinians as a people forced out of their land, merely trying today to return. (A 2000 year old Palestinian city backs this up quite well, especially if we don't understand that it is only Palestinian today and that the city is 2000 years old not the Palestinian claim to it.) The point is simply put that these cities are today Palestinian and that does not mean that they were originally.

    So with these things in mind, the handover is positive. It is another chance for the Palestinian Authority to use diplomatic means to further its aims and put a hold on the incredible levels of terrorism within the Palestinian people. In order to successfully and effectively stop this terrorism the Palestinian Authority needs not only to halt the flow of terrorism but dismantle the infrastructure and deal with Palestinian attitudes to Israel (largely due to massive amounts of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda perpetuated by the Palestinian Authority). The point as I see it is that Israel has come to the table but the Palestinians need to respond not only with rhetoric but with actual tangible results in terms of addressing terrorism (and its support) amongst Palestinians.


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