Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sharon's Vision Survives the Election

Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, former Likud party member, now a member of the new Kadima Party formed by Sharon received the apparent mandate that he needed to continue Sharon's vision of a unilateral drawing of Israel's borders. The electoral switch is a bit of a change, reflecting the viability of third parties in Israel, but more than anything reflecting the fact that the patience of the average Israeli are exhausted with the Palestinians.

Bill Clinton spent almost all of his Administration forcing the Israelis and Palestinians to sit down and talk and to work out borders so that a Palestinian state could be formed and coexist with Israel. Israel was always willing to work, but the Palestinians under Yasser Arafat were never really willing to do anything except agree to the extinguishing of the State of Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000 conceded to almost every request of the Palestinians, and accepted nothing (as nothing was offered) in return. And in the last days of the Clinton Administration, Arafat indicated that he would not accept the deal, sparking a new wave of terrorist violence against Israeli civilians. Because nothing had changed at all. The Palestinian leadership had never disavowed their intention to destroy the nation of Israel, and fully intended to keep that as the cornerstone of their policies.

But unlike his predecessors, and learning from Arafat's backstabbing, Sharon decided that there was never any real possibility that the Palestinians would negotiate in good faith, that doing so only harmed the people of Israel, and that terror was going to continue, unchecked by the Palestinian Authority. The only option in that case would be to give the Palestinians some land, draw hard borders and free them to do whatever they wanted, free from any influence on Israel. And while the Palestinians will be unhappy with just about any plan conceived by the Israelis, they had their chance to participate in good faith, they failed to take it, and they failed to behave in a manner consistent with peaceful objectives. They blew the numerous opportunities they were offered over twenty years, and in a final signal to the world that they intend to continue on the same irresponsible track, confirmed that they consent to and approve of terror by freely electing Hamas--a terrorist organization--to lead them.

But the choices of the Palestinians leave Olmert with no options. He is obligated to defend his people by excluding a populace that condones and supports the murder of his women and children.

It is comforting to see that the Israeli people are through with the "negotiations" because sometimes good fences do make for good neighbors, as it seems that concrete walls will be the only way to ensure that the Palestinians learn the first thing about civility.

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