ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Palestinians Look for Alternatives to Violence?

Palestinians Look for Alternatives to Violence?

19 August 2002

By Yisrael Ne’eman

- He lives at the poverty line or has sunk below it.

- The Israeli Army is in occupation of his town or village and most of his day is
   passed under curfew.

- The Palestinian Authority is completely corrupt and has stolen the relief funds
   necessary to help him ward off malnutrition.

- Terror groups such as the Tanzim, the Hamas and the Jihad threaten to enlist his children as
   suicide bombers and then he and the rest of the family will pay for it when Israel destroys his home
   as a deterrent measure.

- After almost two years of Arafats war of independence, he sees no hope.

As a result he may theoretically support the battle against Israel but exhaustion has set in and many Palestinians have had enough.  Arafat is not at the point of being replaced, but public criticism of his corruption and failed military and political endeavors are surfacing.  The average Palestinian sees no hope.

On the Israeli side there is cautious optimism as an agreement for withdrawals of Israeli forces from areas taken since Sept. 2000 (when the Arafat/PA initiated violence broke out) are being negotiated.  The Palestinians are to stop the terrorism and all violence in return.  So far the plan is to be initiated in Gaza and Bethlehem and if that works it will be implemented elsewhere.  Unfortunately the Hamas has rejected any cease fires so it is far from certain the terror attacks will end.

Only continual Israeli pressure leading to Palestinian resistance collapse will lead to a cease fire and the possibility of getting back to negotiations.  There was no chance for an end to violence as long as the Palestinians thought they had a chance of undermining Israels will to fight back.  The National Unity Government put an end to any such PA illusions when they decided to go to war and leave the negotiations for later.

Maybe now there will be glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel.