Sunday, January 09, 2005

Abbas -- a short chance to prove himself

Says The Economist:
"Mahmoud Abbas could do great things, provided he doesn't mean everything he says... During his election campaign, Mr. Abbas said some foolish things -- refering to Israel as 'the Zionist enemy,' equivocating on terrorism and suggesting that the refugees of 1948 would one day return to their vanished homes in Israel proper. Presumably, this was mere electioneering. If he meant it all, you can forget about peace for another decade."
I actually doubt he did mean it -- but whether he did or didn't isn't the important factor here. He said it. And the fact that he said these things suggests that even if he personally were the dove of doves, he is not the leader the Palestinians (and Israelis) are waiting for, the leader who will be brave enough not to pander to the armed gunmen but to lead, to tell his people the truth about what it really takes to make the peace of the brave. Here we have another leader who is scared of his own people.
Of-course, I could be wrong; perhaps, like Sharon, he will find that actually being in office changes one's perspective and gives one courage. I hope so. In the meanwhile, now his electioneering is over, he better change his tune pretty quickly. No second chances. No suspension of disbelief. We've been down that road before.

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