By William Markiewicz

Sharon as much as Abbas is a hostage of extreme organizations. Neither Sharon nor Abbas can do anything to stop it. It's hard to figure out what the Kamikaze goal is: Immediate goal, like forcing Israelis to quit the settlements or distant goal like destruction of Israel? As we will never know what is in the hard-liners' minds, we can only refer to more or less similar historical situations. When Carter was tied up with the American hostages in Iran, simply not knowing what to do, Reagan found a simple and amazing solution. In his campaign speeches, he just declared the American hostages in Iran, "American prisoners of war in Iran." Now the Iranians were tied up -- Prisoners of war? They must be treated as prisoners of war, humanely, without displaying them, insulting them, etc. As for Reagan, if he declared them 'prisoners of war' it meant that he considered himself at war with Iran, which opened all kinds of options. Iranians could not kill the hostages because it would be killing prisoners of war, a no-no among countries pretending to be civilized. Iranians exploded in rage and insults but gave back the prisoners sooner than expected.

Lesson for Israel: if it treated the Palestinian territories as a foreign state, it would allow Israel to play a new card. Any attack coming from a foreign country is an act of war that may create, in reaction, another act of war. It would no longer be a reaction against terrorists, in which attack is addressed mainly against civilians, because terrorists are not an army. We don't know who they are and civilians are attacked in consequence. In order to save itself and win, Israel would have to show determination for which it is probably not prepared: immediately dismantle the settlements which are really Israeli military bases of occupation, immediately leave the Arab part of Jerusalem and unilaterally declare Palestine an independent state. Too fast for Palestinians? They don't have necessary infrastructure for independence? It won't be Israel's business any more. For each terrorist attack, Israel would strike as at a foreign country's aggression. In their independent country, the attackers would no longer be 'terrorists' but foreign aggressors. They would be a society, with internal disagreements, perhaps chaotic, but again -- it will be mostly their own business and it will be in their best interest to keep peace.

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