Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The Fruits of the Al-Aqsa Intifada

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The Fruits of the Al-Aqsa Intifada

Article excerpt


THE AL-AQSA INTIFADA has been a benefit in one way for the latest phase of the peace process which Bush and Company presumably will be pursuing: It has brought a sense of reality to both Israelis and Palestinians. Both now realize that either they separate as much as possible and divide up Palestine and, yes, Jerusalem, or they will continue at war into the indefinite future. There is no turning back.

The current intifada "will continue and get worse," predicted Gaza human rights activist Raji Sourani in late December. Neither side will admit defeat and calm the situation, as Washington would like. Instead, they will fight it out to the finish.

At the same time, there were real advances in what former President Bill Clinton proposed as the basis for further negotiations: A Palestinian state free of day-to-day Israeli control, Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram al-Sharif, two states, each with its capital in Jerusalem, and the right of refugees to return to the Palestinian state. The proposed Palestinian capital would be called "Al Quds," the president suggested in a Jan. 7 farewell speech to the Israel Policy Forum. Clinton's proposal differed on all counts from the one Arafat rejected last August.

The correct ideas are in place for the Bush team to take up and try to establish a timetable and obtain direct assurances--if they can find an Israeli government willing to make a deal.

Certainly it's hard to imagine Gen. Ariel Sharon sitting down with President George W. …

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