Sunday, October 05, 2003

Terror in Haifa

Everyone stop and consider the target of the recent terrorist attack in Haifa: a restaurant partially owned and frequented by Arabs in a city famous for its multicultural atmosphere. This was an assault on the peace process as surely as any of those timed to derail important initiatives or inflame tensions in sensitive areas. Not only that, but as they have before, the terrorists have shown they do not care if Arabs they consider collaborators are killed in their attacks. In this there is a warning. The PA leadership often speaks of the fear of starting a Palestinian civil war. Yet one already exists, and is seen in this attack, in the murder of collaborators in the occupied territories, and in the way Hamas and Islamic Jihad undermine the PA's official policies at every turn. The only choice the Palestinians will have in the long run is to fight it, or be defined by that acquiesence which alone prevents it.

Of course, the problem is that the moderate Palestinians could actually lose such a civil war. That's the block my attempts to see a road to peace in the near future cannot see past. As Yeats once wrote, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." And perhaps that goes for both sides.


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