Friday, April 26, 2002

SHARON IS PLAYING ARAFAT'S GAME: Arafat says "peace" and signs peace agreements in English; he says "war," signs invoices for suicide bomber belts, and writes checks for "martyrs'" families in Arabic. In English, Sharon says Israel has "completed" its West Bank offensive; in Hebrew, he orders the Israeli Army to keep hunting down and killing Palestinian terrorists. That strikes me as the most sensible way to read Sharon. It may also be the best way to read President Bush, who has demanded that Israel withdraw and then, when it hasn't withdrawn, praised Israel for withdrawing. In the past, the Arab states would demand a ceasefire, but tell Israel, "You go first." Israel would comply, and the Arab states would renege. Now, Israel (and the United States, at least sometimes) is calling for a ceasefire, and mouthing platitudes about peace, but telling the Arab states, "You go first." Of course they won't, which exposes them for the terrorist-sponsoring war-mongers they are, and gives the excuse invoke the Bush Doctrine. I like this game.

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