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Great News from the Middle-East

While it is easy to get bogged down in the horse race for President, there has been some great news from the middle east in the last few days.

Losing Faith in the Intifada
As uprising enters fifth year, some Palestinians call it a political and economic disaster.

RAMALLAH, West Bank When Abu Fahdi joined a Palestinian militant group and took up arms against Israel, he thought he was serving his people. Now he believes he did them only harm.

"We achieved nothing in all this time, and we lost so much," said the baby-faced 29-year-old, who, because of his status as a fugitive, insisted on being identified by a nickname meaning "father of Fahdi." "People hate us for that and wish we were dead."

The young militant, a member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, is not alone in such thinking. Among Palestinians from all walks of life, there is a quiet but growing sentiment that their intifada, or uprising which broke out four years ago today has largely failed as an armed struggle, and lost its character as a popular resistance movement.

Moreover, many Palestinians fear that what has been, in effect, their military defeat at the hands of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has left them without leverage to extract political and territorial concessions that would help lay the groundwork for their hoped-for state.

This is the key, they are finally figuring it out. Blowing up innocent children makes people less likely to give you your own state. (a surprise ending below the fold)

..."We have witnessed the destruction of Palestinian society its civil institutions, its economy, its infrastructure," said Zuhair Manasra, the governor of Bethlehem. "The result has been a complete disaster for the Palestinians, at all levels. Now we must think how to rebuild."

This month, a poll commissioned by An Najah University in the northern West Bank city of Nablus traditionally a stronghold of militants found that more than two-thirds of Palestinians surveyed supported seeking a cease-fire arrangement with Israel. In the past, a similar proportion lent support to continued fighting.

The Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Korei, made a statement last week that was extraordinary in its implicit assumption that the post-conflict phase is already underway. Interviewed on Israel Radio, Korei spoke of the need to rehabilitate members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed offshoot of Arafat's political faction. ...

Although dogged resistance to the Israeli occupation helped keep the Palestinian hope for statehood in the world spotlight, many now believe that the visible public support for suicide bombings was a crucial error.

"In a post-9/11 world, that could only harm our cause," said Manasra, the Bethlehem governor. [ya don't say -ed]

The intifada's foot soldiers are reassessing their lives as well. One day last week, Abu Fahdi was speaking to a journalist as reports of a suicide bombing flashed on the television screen. He shook his head.

"I used to think that attacks like this would hasten our victory," he said. "Now I only think that attacks like this will hasten my arrest or my death."

It is a very well written story and worth the time to read. Meanwhile, there's more good news....

Palestinian leader questions intifada

JERUSALEM On the fourth anniversary of the Palestinian uprising, the Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qurei, on Tuesday urged both Israelis and Palestinians to reassess the strategies they have adopted during the grinding conflict. ...

Neither the Palestinian leadership nor the Palestinian public has called for an end to the uprising, or intifada. But growing numbers of Palestinians have questioned its high cost in lives lost and economic devastation. ...

"This anniversary should make us all the people, the factions and the Palestinian Authority reconsider the past four years, where we went wrong and where we went right," Qurei told reporters in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Qurei also called on the Israelis to rethink their tough military tactics.

"The destruction of our homes and continuing the killing of our people and hunting of our activists and leaders inside and abroad is crazy and will lead to neither security nor peace," he said.

As if that weren't surprising enough, I bet you never expected to read this:

Hamas Signals Challenge to Unseat Arafat

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinians marked the fourth anniversary of their uprising Tuesday amid signs that the extremist Hamas group is preparing a political challenge to Yasser Arafat (news - web sites) despite a series of Israeli military blows at the movement's leadership.

Hamas published newspaper ads urging supporters to vote in upcoming municipal elections, saying "it's time for change." And a top Hamas leader indicated the group might try to unseat Arafat in presidential elections, which have not yet been scheduled. ...

Obviously the fourth anniversary has caused some soul-searching and people are accepting some harsh realities. There is no future for the Palestinians in waging an intifada. This does not mean there is peace in the middle east effective immediately. As Churchill said after the British defeated the German 'Afrika Korps' in Egypt: Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

That the topic of the failure of the intifada to achieve political gains is even being discussed by Palestinian leadership is, in and of itself, a great milestone.


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Comments (2)

Can't wait until you can us... (Below threshold)

Can't wait until you can use a different title altogether: Losing my religion.

This is great news! I'd be... (Below threshold)
Kevin:

This is great news! I'd bet that Israel would love to be able to end this as much as the palestinians now seem to. Let's all hope it happens.

Props to Wizbang for finding these articles. I had heard nothing of the sort from any other media.




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