And the Palestinian Band Plays On
In the spring of 2003, the international press corps fell in love with the new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). Abbas was the alternative to Arafat the
Abbas, whatever his attributes, did not last very long. He resigned, expressing frustration with his inability to deal with the Israelis or the Americans without Arafat's interference. But the international press reported a different story. Abbas failed, it was argued, because Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had failed to come up with the necessary concessions and gestures that would have legitimized Abbas in the eyes of his people. Only by Israeli upfront concessions would he be enabled to negotiate the "roadmap for peace" and deal with the terrorist groups in the territories.
Anyone with even a basic knowledge of this conflict, should have been aware that after 50 years as the head of the Palestainian resistance movement, Arafat certainly had no interest in creating an alternative to his authority and rule, nor would he give any subordinate the ability to act independently.
This of course did not stop New York Times columnist Tom Friedman from blaming Ariel Sharon for Abbas' failure, charging that
Now many months after his departure, Abbas is back, blaming Arafat and the Palestinian Authority for undermining him. The Jerusalem Post covered the story , but this will not get much coverage elsewhere. It flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that Ariel Sharon is the obstacle to peace, that
When the Palestinians want peace, and are willing to share the land, they will have peace and a state. But not before. For now, as in all their past, their leadership and society are committed more to