04 December 2001

The Israelis and Palestinians are at it again.

A few years ago it seemed that the Oslo accords held out of the possibility of Israel and Palestine actually coming to some kind of compromise. But that hope has faded.

I'm no expert on mid-east politics and I know that there has been a great deal of wrong-doing on both sides over many, many years, but I have a lot of trouble understanding the Israelis, especially Sharon, during the intifada of the past year. It really seems to me that the present government of Israel does not want peace and wants to create almost any excuse to attack the Palestinians.

Remember that much of this renewed conflict began with Sharon's foolish visit to the Dome of the Rock last year. He had to have known that this was a provocative attack upon symbols important to many Palestinians. And over the past weeks Sharon has kept saying again and again that he would not sit down with Arafat until seven days passed without any incident, knowing full well that to make such a demand was basically to fling wide a door to Palestinian extremists who want to scuttle any peace process. And now, he has attacked the headquarters of Arafat himself, holding Arafat personally responsible for the recent bombings as if Arafat could have entirely prevented an incident that even Israeli intelligence seem not to have expected (how can you expect and prevent someone strapping bombs to themselves and blowing themselves up?). If Arafat were to be killed, Sharon knows the Palestinians would become more militant and that whoever was to step in to take Arafat's place would likely be far less conciliatory.

Why should anyone think that Sharon wants peace? It looks to me that all he wants is an excuse for war.