August 20, 2002
10.0pt"> Palestinian terrorists are feeling the heat as Israeli troops and police constantly move through the West Bank and Gaza arresting terrorist suspects and raiding weapons stockpiles and bomb assembly facilities. The Palestinian population is largely destitute, but still willing to support terrorist violence. While civil wars and rebellions have lasted a decade or more in the Middle East, they only do so because the populations involved are able to establish some semblance of normal life. This is not the case in the Palestinian areas, and morale will likely continue to slide until the terrorists lose a critical amount of popular support.
If the Palestinian police can establish their authority in the areas the Israelis are leaving, Israel will take their troops out of other Palestinian areas. But it's unlikely that the Palestinian police will be able to stop the Palestinian terrorists. The police are not fanatics, the terrorists are. It has always come down to this, are the Palestinians willing to fight a civil war in their own community to determine who runs things and represents the Palestinians. So far, the answer is no.
Despite the new peace deal with the Palestinians, Israeli troops will still actively search for terrorists or armed Palestinian activists. Most Palestinians and Israelis do not believe that this deal will last, but it at least shows some progress in peace negotiations.