Monday, January 10, 2005

The Song Remains the Same

Hate to rain on anyone’s parade but the latest election is not the greatest hope for peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis contrary to what you hear or read. Abu Mazen was part of Arafat’s inner circle for decades. His thesis was based on the Holocaust being a lie. He has never denounced terrorism as being morally repugnant. You cannot remain a supplicant without being cut from the same mold. Arafat held an election too, and what did that get the Palestinians? Widescale corruption, tyranny, and the infitada. Nor do I buy into Mazen winning 65-70% of the vote as a sign that the Palestinians are willing to embrace a peace with Israel when the turnout is not what it appears to be. The Globe and Mail reports on what the Palestinian Central Election said:
Some said that lower-than-expected turnout figures — the Central Election Commission said only that "at least" 66 per cent of eligible voters had cast ballots — would damage the president-elect's credibility and give him weakened bargaining power with militants.

Do the math. Israel National News has reported on exchanged broadcasted on Israel Radio’s newsmagazine:

Appearing before cheering crowds last night, Abu Mazen did little to allay Israeli fears that he is no different than Arafat. He said he dedicates his victory to "brother shahid [martyr] Yasser Arafat," to the "shahids and prisoners," and to the "Palestinian people from Rafiach to Jenin." The crowd responded, "A Million Shahids Marching to Jerusalem!"

Abu Mazen also said that the period of the "little Jihad [holy war] had ended, and now the big Jihad is beginning." This quote led to a quaint exchange on Israel Radio's morning newsmagazine. Arabic-speaking correspondent Avi Yisacharov played the tapes of Abu Mazen's quotes, and then quickly said, "Regarding the future..." He was immediately interrupted by anchorman Aryeh Golan, who said, "Whoa, wait a second. What's this 'big Jihad' stuff?" Yisacharov gave a nervous chuckle and said, "I don't think he means a real Jihad, he just means the challenges ahead of reforms in the PA and the release of Palestinian prisoners by Israel..." Yisacharov similarly played a recording of a leading Abu Mazen supporter singing in joy at the results of the election, and explained that it was simply "an old PLO war song."

So the little jihad is over and the big jihad will begin. It all leaves me very unimpressed.

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