SEPTEMBER 11 -- LATER

By William Markiewicz

William, In your article, "When the Lie is Repeated, It Becomes Truth", you object to the fact that when Bush and Sharon met they said: "First you make peace and then we negotiate." You say it shows disdain for the weaker adversary. But isn't it normal procedure to have a ceasefire while negotiating?

This question was put to me verbally and I answer it here: Bush and Sharon required a unilateral ceasefire before negotiation -- which boils down to an ultimatum. This is not the way Rabin was talking, and therefore there was trust on both sides. Using Sharon's visit to the States to launch Bush - Sharon ultimatum to the Palestinians on TV was a very clumsy and provocative step. WM

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I wrote the above lines in the July-August 2006 issue. Let's try to trace past events chronologically as well as foresee those to come.

In November 1995 a Jewish terrorist killed Rabin and irrevocably killed the Israeli-Arab peace process which was developing beautifully in a climate not only of peace but also of sincere friendship; the warmth radiated from the TV meetings. After this, Arafat, probably fearing for his own security, set new conditions that weren't acceptable for Israel. Arab terrorism, which had been almost nonexistent, began to develop explosively with reaction from the Israeli side. Any peace perspective was long past. Sometime later I saw Bush and Sharon together in a TV interview. Comfortably seated, they gave an ultimatum: "First peace, then negotiations." I couldn't believe my ears. The next provocation came from the Arab side -- September 11. It radically changed the conflict's meaning. From a local Israeli-Arab conflict it became a war between the West and rigid Islam. The situation was complicated by the massive Arab Muslim immigrant presence in the West, and the troubles presently are on the internal and external front. Concerning Israel's situation, social upheaval in the Arab world may create an anti-Israel Tsunami. There are rumors that the Turkish fleet may accompany Turkish ships sailing to help the Gazans. Is Israel ready for armed confrontation with Turkey? Chances are that the Arab countries will fight on the Turkish side. What are Israel's chances and interests in those conflicts --just to keep those settlements on the West Bank? Is it worth it to risk the existence of the state?

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