Joined: 24 Feb 2003
|Posted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 6:48 am Post subject: Our Test for Abu Mazen - By Natan Sharansky
|Our Test for Abu Mazen
Peace is possible only if Palestinians are free.
By Natan Sharansky
The Wall Street Journal
January 11, 2005
Whether the election of Abu Mazen will be a turning point in the search for peace depends critically on whether the Free World, led by the U.S., is prepared to link its policies toward his new government to the degree of freedom the Palestinian Authority affords its own citizens.
Though many of Abu Mazen's recent statements are not encouraging--from pledging to follow in Yasser Arafat's path to ensuring Palestinian terrorists that he will protect them from Israeli reprisals to demanding a so-called right of return to pre-1967 Israel--George W. Bush's understanding that the key to peace lies in building a free society for the Palestinians is a source of optimism. If Mr. Bush makes it clear that the U.S. will support him only if he dedicates himself to expanding freedom within Palestinian society rather than on feeding resentments, then the chances that Abu Mazen will become a genuine partner will improve immeasurably.
For many policy makers, a free society for the Palestinians has little to do with the demands of peace. What is advocated instead is a policy that will strengthen a "moderate" so that he can fight extremists and make a deal with Israel. But merely replacing Arafat with Abu Mazen will not turn a failed Oslo formula into a success.
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