Saturday, November 13, 2004

One last (positive) post on Arafat

Via Eric Alterman, what he describes as a "measured approach to Yasir Arafat", and I tend to agree -

Seizing the Post-Arafat Moment

On the origins of the conflict -
The Palestinians exist, just as the Israelis do, and they claim the same land as their national home. The good news is that significant majorities in both communities now recognize that the only way that they can achieve peace and security in that home is by dividing it into two states.

The Jews recognized that from the beginning. With the exception of a small minority, the early Zionists supported sharing Palestine. Repeatedly, and without exception, the yishuv (the Jews of pre-state Israel) accepted plans to divide the land offered by the British and, ultimately, by the United Nations. Without exception the Palestinian leadership said “no.”

It was that rejection by the Palestinians that produced a series of bloody Arab-Israeli wars. Every Arab-Israeli war from 1947 onwards had at its foundation the idea that the Jewish presence anywhere in Palestine was illegitimate.
And on Arafat's achievement -
Despite the four year intifada and the general collapse in Israeli-Palestinian relations, the deal fostered by Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin transformed Israeli-Palestinian relations forever. Neither side has suggested a return to the days of non-recognition.

This mutual recognition is no small thing. Without it, there would not even be the possibility of negotiations. This is the lasting legacy of the Rabin-Arafat handshake.

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