Israel: March 19, 2002

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Israel pulled nearly all of its troops out of Palestinian territory as a gesture to get some peace talks going while the American vice president visits Israel. This isn't working, for the fighting goes on.

The 18 months of fighting have left over 1500 dead (1,210 Palestinians and 352 Israelis.) The fighting is still popular among Palestinians and attempts to arrange a ceasefire and peace talks have not been successful. Many Palestinians see the successful guerilla campaign by Hizbollah against Israel in south Lebanon as a model for Palestinians. But in south Lebanon, Israelis were not directly defending Israel, while fighting Palestinians in Israel they are. A basic problem with attempts to even discuss a peace deal are that Yasser Arafat cannot afford to displease the millions of Palestinian refugees by not getting Israel to allow these refugees to return to Israel. But Israel cannot allow the refugees to return without Jews becoming a minority in their own country. And then there are the Palestinian radicals, who will settle for nothing less than the destruction of Israel and expulsion of all Jews from the region.

 

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