Wednesday, December 10, 2003

And on it goes....

Tragically, Palestinian groups have failed to agree on any proposal for a ceasefire, even a limited one, with Israel. While Fatah had actually proposed a full ceasefire applying to civilians and military personnel within both Israel proper and the occupied territories, that was probably never a realistic option. There was hope, however, that Hamas and others would agree on a truce to end suicide bombings inside Israel and as recently as Saturday it looked as if that would be achieved.

It wasn't.

Israel, for its part, took no advantage of this potential opening; rather, it rejected a limited ceasefire even before one was actually offered and like so many times before used the occasion as an opportunity to repeat demands. The Sharon government promised in the event of a full ceasefire only to withhold "certain military operations" - without specifying what those would be - and demanded that such a ceasefire be only a first step toward total dismantling of radical groups - without, again, promising anything real in return.
[Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert] said there was no room for negotiation until the attacks stopped.

"They have to stop terrorist actions unilaterally and without any reservations... If they will stop it, there will be a basis for further discussion about implementing the roadmap."
In other words, "you lay down your arms, we'll keep ours, we'll keep building our wall, and then we'll talk about talking."

And so the cycle continues of retaliation, counter-retaliation, counter-counter-retaliation, counter-counter-counter-retaliation.... Hot blood flows the freest.

By the way: On December 1 I mentioned "provocative" Israeli arrests immediately preceding a meeting of Palestinian groups. This was that meeting.

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