by Mort Zuckerman
Did you hear about the two policemen who stopped to help a driver stuck with a flat—and were shot to death in the head at point-blank range?
Did you know about the 120-kilogram bomb planted in a parking lot adjacent to a shopping mall where thousands of people were milling about the stores, restaurants, and movie theaters?
No, of course, you didn't. These are just two everyday incidents of the ordeal confronted by people in
Ordinary Israelis despair of the cruel bias. The policemen died because
The willingness to give a free pass to terrorism was, of course, manifest most luridly in the
Once the cease-fire was achieved, the world lost interest in
The tragedy for the Palestinians as much as the Israelis is that they do not have leadership strong enough to make peace. Hamas wants perpetual war: No one can doubt that it aims not to have a two-state solution but to have a "no state" solution—that is, to have the State of Israel stop existing. For its part, "moderate" Fatah is hopelessly corrupt and weak and seemingly incapable of reform or of enforcing law and order on its people. That is why an Israeli-Palestinian peace remains a dream today and why what
Even the language of peace is eroding. The Palestinians say they support two states for two peoples but refrain from saying that one of those is the Jewish people. Most recently, a major Palestine Liberation Organization figure, Mohammed Dahlan, asserted that the Fatah movement hasn't even recognized
There is justification for the widespread Israeli concern that if a Palestinian state were established, power in
The Fatah party is facing an election within a year, which may well be won by Hamas. If the Iranian-supported Hamas ultimately succeeds in its 20-year effort to be the principal voice of Palestinian nationalism,
In a "unity" government, Hamas would undoubtedly be integrated in the security services, which would end Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation covering the majority of the
No wonder the Palestinian Reconciliation Conference in
And what of Israeli leadership? Now
Contrary to many reports, Netanyahu has asserted that he is not opposed to a two-state solution, provided it does not put at risk the national security of the Jewish state. The key component would be a record of Palestinian determination and ability to fight terrorism and to live in peace with
Therefore, Netanyahu will focus on improving Palestinian life by lifting roadblocks (100 so far) and reducing checkpoints (they have gone down from 50 to 15) and making other improvements on the ground for the Palestinian community. In this he is supported by dovish Israeli President Shimon Peres, who now has doubts about
A Palestinian state cannot be created by terrorism. It can be created through the reformation of political and economic institutions so that they reflect democracy, market economics, and real actions to confront terrorism. When there is an effective, Palestinian-based security force with counterterrorism capability in the
In the interim,
Peace will come only when the Palestinians are liberated from their age-old hatred of
The sad but realistic fact is that we are much closer to the establishment of two Palestinian states, one in the West Bank and one in Gaza, than to reaching a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians.
Mort Zuckerman is editor-in-chief and publisher of U.S. News and World Report.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.