Monday, September 30, 2002

Yesterday, Army Radio's morning show spoke to a number of different people and asked them: "What is the way to end the violence now entering its third year?" and "What do you think will happen in the near future?".

One interviewee was a senior Palestinian Authority official who spoke excellent Hebrew. Don't remember his name ("Abuzaida"? maybe it was Ziyad Abu Ziyad), or position ("Ministry of civil authority"?). Here's a paraphrase of the interview:
Interviewer: What is the way to end the intifada?

PA official: Israel should implement, immediately and without negotiations, the plan advocated by King Abdullah - and return to the '67 borders (more or less), evacuate all of the settlements, and create a Palestinian state.

Interviewer: OK. That's what you think Israel should do .... but what about your own government? What should the PA do?

PA official (angrily): The ball is not in our court, the ball is in your court etc. etc.

Interviewer: What about arresting or neutralizing Hamas? That's something that many Israelis ask about..

PA official: You expect us to neutralize Hamas?! And then what?! The government of Israel will go and fund more settlements etc.

Interviewer: What do you expect in the near future?

PA official: We're waiting to see what happens in Iraq and in the Labor and Likud Central Committees. We are in a waiting position for probably the next nine months or so....

So note that when a PA official speaks to the Israeli public, he doesn't say "we try to restrain Hamas and prevent terror attacks, but Israel attacked our security forces". Rather, he is frank about the fact that the PA has no intention whatsoever of reigning in Hamas, much less other groups like Fatah that are closer to the PA.

Most of the other interviewees were not so interesting, though editorialist Dan Margalit said that after the US takes care of Saddam it is likely to try to impose a solution here.

Saturday night I drove past Kikar Paris and saw the Peace Now demonstration outside the Prime Minister's Residence. There were about 50 people. I wanted to stop my car and try to reason with them.

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