The condemned man is already buckled into the electric chair and the signal is given to throw the switch. All of a sudden the power goes dead. They press the button again and again, and nothing happens. All of a sudden, they remember that the guy in the hot seat is an electrician. "Hey, man. Maybe you can fix this thing?" they ask. "I can," he replies, "but at the moment, I'm not exactly motivated."
The Abu Mazen government is not in control of the West Bank today. For it to be capable of cracking down on terror from there, Israel must hand over jurisdiction of more population centers. In two dramatic meetings over the weekend, Mofaz accepted Dahlan's argument that the more extensive his powers and the more cities under the aegis of the PA, the fewer attacks there will be. Mofaz proposed transferring control of Qalqilyah, Jericho and Tul Karm to the Palestinians, and further easing restrictions on the civilian population, and Sharon agreed in principle.
That last point is key. The real battle here hinges on the perception of the Palestinian civilian population. No other group. And therefore it is that group to whom all efforts must be tuned towards education and an aligning of self-interest towards peace:
Israel, with all its power, will never be able to get rid of all the terror infrastructure. The harder Israel strikes, the more it will multiply. Only the Palestinian government can hold it in check - not as a collaborator of Israel, but as a central governing body that derives its authority from representing the whole of the Palestinian people.
But as long as we bark the orders in the West Bank, the terror organizations will enjoy the support of the masses. The Palestinian government will be in a position to enforce its authority only if it has national and economic achievements to show off. A Palestinian government threatened by the terror organizations needs sweeping support from the Palestinian public if it is to do anything about stopping terror. And that depends a lot on us.
The experiment begun by Mofaz is worthy of encouragement. The more urban territory in the West Bank handed over to the Abu Mazen administration, the more interest it will have in guarding the cream. And as the possibility of founding a state without terror becomes more of a reality, popular support for Abu Mazen will grow, and with it, the motivation of his government to take a tough stand against the terror organizations.
All this promising recognition of the real solution has been put in peril by a small band of fanatic maniacal bloodthirsty bastards. And Israel is all too willing, under Ariel Sharon's watch, to let the terrorists win:
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will hold security consultations on Wednesday to discuss the suicide bombing. Well-informed sources in Jerusalem said Tuesday that all understandings reached with the Palestinians on the transfer of security control in West Bank cities were void.
Following instructions from the political echelons, IDF officials cancelled talks scheduled to have taken part with PA officials on Tuesday night and Wednesday. IDF officers were to have met with Palestinian officers in the vicinity of Jericho on Tuesday, and talks were to have been held near Qalqilyah on Wednesday, ahead of the transfer of security control of these cities on Thursday.
Earlier Tuesday, top security officials decided that Israel would probably hand over Qalqilyah and Jericho to Palestinian Authority security control this week.