U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is in Israel this weekend. He’s meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to discuss the Road Map To Peace, and then he’s going to the Palestinian Territories to meet with Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.
The “Road Map” has been around since the Clinton Administration, and ever since then it’s been a steady cycle. Israel is called upon to make “good faith gestures” (usually involving the release of violent prisoners), Israel makes the “gestures,” the Palestinians make promises to “curb terrorism,” there’s another terrorist attack, Israel is called upon to “show restraint,” Israel hits back, and everyone bemoans the “danger to the Road Map.”
It’s become a tragic cliche’. Israel is always being called upon to “show restraint” and “show patience” whenever there’s another terrorist attack. But “patience” and “restraint” seems to be measured in dead Israelis.
The very first obligation of the Palestinians in the Road Map is to crack down on terrorism, and terrorist groups. But every time someone brings up that uncomfortable truth, Arafat always said that he didn’t dare, out of fear of triggering a civil war.
Now we’re finally seeing signs of the Palestinian Authority actually cracking down on terrorism, with confrontations with Hamas. Only time will show whether this is a sincere attempt to live up to their obligations, or just another show.
Either way, the cynic in me feels a smidgen of relief that they are shooting at each other for a change.