Monday, September 15, 2003

Palestinian Politics

A Haaretz piece by Arnon Regular gives an interesting portrayal of Abu Mazen's account of his fall from power, for which the former PM blamed Arafat, Israel, the U.S., and Arab TV networks. The bulk of this article was taken up with depictions of Arafat, which revealed him to be obsessed with holding on to power, and paranoid about losing it. The last three paragraphs especially suggest that Arafat is definitely not entirely with it, accusing even his allies of trying to topple him with little or no reason whatsoever. I'm not sure where that leaves us as far as peacemaking goes - it would seem Arafat would be most likely to make a deal if obsessively flattered and given concessions to enhance his personal power, but neither Israel nor the U.S. is likely to adopt that approach, and in my judgement they should not. By the same token, he won't risk attacking the terror groups if it could undercut his position, and they're the real obstacle to peace. Perhaps in the short term, the best we can hope for is a cease-fire, but even then Israel will continue to expand settlements and build a security wall through Palestinian territory, making things much more difficult down the road.


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