Now, it's up to the Palestinians...
Yossi Halevi, a senior fellow at the Shalom Center, a Jerusalem-based think tank, has written a terrific op-ed about Gaza.
Even as Israel's anguished self-confrontation unfolds in Gaza with the army's dismantling of two dozen thriv ing towns and agricultural villages, Palestinian leaders are demanding more. This withdrawal is only the beginning, they promise their celebrating followers. Today Gaza, tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem. Yet whether Israel ultimately cedes all that the Palestinians say they want will depend on the Palestinians themselves. A wary Israeli public needs to be convinced that the Palestinians want to build their own state more than they want to destroy the Jewish state. Gaza is the test case for that open question.But, read the whole thing..it's well worth it.
In the coming months, a Palestine taking sovereign control of territory must begin confronting the terrorist regime that has grown in Gaza. It must wrest foreign aid away from militias and private bank accounts and put it into schools and hospitals. Its leaders must dismantle the refugee camps that have been a permanent condition of Gaza life and resettle their residents in decent housing. Finally, it must temper the culture of hatred against the Jewish people that has become routine in Gaza's schools, mosques and media.
If the Palestinian leadership initiates that difficult process of physical and spiritual renewal, then the Israeli majority -- which craves peace far more than biblical borders -- will support negotiations over extending Palestinian sovereignty. And even if, as the Palestinians suspect, Ariel Sharon intends Gaza to be his first and last withdrawal, the Israeli majority will insist on substantive talks. No Israeli leader can survive politically if the electorate perceives him to be blocking a chance for peace.