Monday, August 05, 2002

Summary of yesterday's terror attacks.

In Europe particularly, Ariel Sharon is often thought of as a bull in a china shop. This article explains how and why he is now following a policy of restraint.

The IDF's working plan, approved by the political echelon, is to avoid escalation and wait for developments that will have far-reaching implications: sun setting on Arafat, the war against Iraq, and the completion of the security fence. The basic assumption is that the global tendencies of today are working against Arafat:
By the spring of 2003, says this plan, Saddam Hussein will be gone, Arafat will be sidelined to a ceremonial role without much influence - much like Shimon Peres - and the residents of Tul Karm and Qalqilyah will wake up to a view of the wall, not the Mediterranean. That wall will mark the end of Arab expansion westward - and Israeli expansion eastward - and its psychological importance will have ramifications far more important for both sides than its practical purposes.

The operative question, therefore, is how to get through the coming six months with a "tolerable" level of terror. That's a vague concept, which does not lend itself easily to measurement, and it changes - what was considered two years ago to be intolerable and necessarily requiring an escalation, mortars flying out of Gaza, for example, are now nearly routine.

No comments: