Israel: October 26, 2003

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 The death toll for 37 months of conflict is now 3,584 (74 percent Palestinian) and there is no end in sight. Palestinians are split into several radical factions that are determined to destroy Israel no matter what, and several more moderate factions that are willing to make a deal with Israel. The moderates are actually the majority, but by their very nature, are reluctant to fight the radicals for clear control of the Palestinian people. Yassir Arafat heads most of the moderates, and some of the radicals, which explains his inability to make a deal with the Israelis. The Israelis also have their problems with radicals, in this case represented by the people living in the settlements inside Palestinian territory. The Israeli radicals believe that Israel should occupy most of the Palestinian territory. The more extreme of the Israeli radicals believe that Arabs who resist this notion should be forcibly expelled to neighboring Arab countries. The only difference between the Palestinian and Israeli situation is that the Israelis can, if there is enough popular support, control their radicals. This has been done in the past (Israeli settlers were forcibly removed from Sinai when that area was returned to Egypt in the 1970s). But unless the Palestinians can get their act together and gain control over their radicals, there will be no peace. Unless, of course, the Israelis eventually  root out all the radicals. That's a difficult, but not impossible chore. It would be expensive, time consuming and get a lot of Israeli troops and police killed. This is not a popular option, but may eventually be the only one.

 

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