Thursday, September 12, 2002

This AM on the radio there were a lot of comments about Fatah essentially forcing the removal of Arafat's cabinet.

Shimon Peres said that this was not democracy, but a positive step towards it; he didn't mention whether this seemed to disprove his previous contention that the attempt to marginalize Arafat was dangerous and doomed to failure.

A woman associated with the left-wing Meretz party said that this was very dangerous. Israel should neither try to affect the Palestinian political process nor be positively inclined about the latest developments. The weakening of Arafat's position could lead to a more official presence by Hamas, which would be a step backwards, or even to total chaos - she said. Though chaos is actually what Sharon desires, she contends, since he has no diplomatic strategy and would love nothing more than for there to be noone to talk to.

What's fascinating is that Peres and Meretz have this emotional and intellectual investment in Arafat. What's really funny is that Meretz can't deal with an event which seems to contradict their worldview - this woman was not quite hyperventilating as she described the satisfaction that she imagines Sharon would have with her imagined Palestinian chaos. The simple indication is, of course, that the resignations are a step away from Palestinian chaos.

I wouldn't care if Hamas officials attained positions in the PA. It would just give an official veneer to the policies that the PA has had till now.

My concern is that the next PA leader will be an Oslo-era Arafat, who has no real change of goals or attitude, but keeps the lid on the violence just enough so that the USA, Europe, and the Israeli left will push for unilateral concessions.

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