Wednesday, June 19, 2002

You don't need a PhD to anticipate how Bush's plan for a provisional Palestinian state is likely to unfold... You can just extrapolate from the past eight years... Palestinians will portray the Bush plan both as a major betrayal and a major victory ... the plan will include stipulations that the PA become more democratic, not serve as a launching pad for terror attacks etc. ... Arafat and the PA will ignor these stipulations, but the Arab world and the EU will exert pressure on Israel to nevertheless turn over more land and authority to the PA.... After various amounts of wrangling, the US and then Israel will cave in. ...

Arafat (or a like-minded successor) will then have succeeded in creating a state in the West Bank/Gaza without having made any real commitments in return... Then the next issue would be the Palestinian refugees languishing in Lebanon and Egypt... the BBC would try to interview Benny Morris but he would decline, so they would talk to Avi Shlaim instead.. you get my drift....

Ze'ev Schiff thinks that making certain ideas explicit in US policy can affect what unfolds.

Barry Rubin surveys the changes that Arafat made to his cabinet and concludes that they're minor. There will be no real reform to the "security services", but the inclusion of Salam Fayad and Ghassan Khatib could signal some openness regarding finances and internal criticism of the government.

The post-terror-attack rescue group ZAKA (who are largely "ultraorthodox') are learning how to be media-savvy (report). Also:

ZAKA head Yehuda Meshi-Zahav said that talking with the media makes the task of his personnel somewhat easier. "You cannot share these sights with your wife and children. We have found that our personnel open up and feel better after having shared their experiences with journalists."

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