Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Kosovo and Palestine

IWPR has a report on a wave of terroristic violence which has recently swept through Kosovo. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which are almost certainly a response to the start of war crimes trials for former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army. I haven't been paying much attention to the Balkans lately, but apparently there has been a lot of outcry that the government, under its UN sponsors, is "'criminalizing' the struggle against Serb rule."

What happens in Kosovo is certainly important in its own right, but when I read this I couldn't help but think of the far more inflamed situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Don't hold your breath waiting for the PA to put the top terrorist leaders on trial, unless it somehow becomes a totalitarian police state or something. Mainly from personal experience, I've gotten the strong impression that while Palestinians in general disapprove of terrorism, they don't see why they should act to defend Israelis without getting anything in return: Ending the occupation is a far more important goal to them than ensuring Israeli security. And this is why while an end to violence is by definition crucial to the peace process, I don't think thoroughly cracking down on terrorist networks is feasible as the very first step along the road to peace. I feel like an insensitive jerk saying this, but Israel needs to find some other concession as the PA's great sign of seriousness.


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