Daniel Brett | 04.12.2001 23:49
Above all, the targeting of the Palestinian Authority for the crimes of Hamas defies belief. The continuing efforts of Ariel Sharon to dismantle the Palestinian Authority and undermine President Arafat will bring yet further chaos and violence. Sharon has consistently made demands of the Palestinian Authority, which can never be met all because the current Israeli government has no peace plan worth discussing. How can a Palestinian leader use his own security services to stop the Intifada when officials can barely move in the West bank and Gaza Strip? On top of that, those Palestinian security services, that Ariel Sharon demands prevent these attacks, are routinely bombed by Israeli forces.
Arafat does not have the capability to end the attacks especially when there is no political progress, no end to settlement building and no end to the punitive closures. Over the last few months Sharon has used suicide attacks to create facts on the ground that only serve to fuel the extremists and make peace less likely. He has closed down East Jerusalem institutions, brought back Azzariyyeh and Abu Dis under Israeli control, and seized massive tracks of West Bank and Gaza land, all of which he has declared irreversible actions.
The only way forward is for the international community to direct both parties forward on the basis of international law leading to an end of the Israeli occupation. The first starting point must be the original Mitchell report, which envisaged political and security arrangement proceeding in tandem. This would include the complete end of all forms of settlement expansion and an end to the closures. Together with an end to the Israeli policy of assassination, such a commitment would give the Palestinian authority the political capital to have greater control over the extremists.
Otherwise there will be no winners, only victims and more victims.