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January 17, 2005
The Palestinian Three-Step

Mahmoud Abbas has called for an end to attacks on Israeli citizens in a move that will either prove his control over the regions or present the world with yet another Palestinian three-step:

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has ordered his security forces to try to prevent militant attacks on Israelis, a Palestinian cabinet minister has said.

Qadoura Fares said Mr Abbas gave orders for all violence to be stopped, "including attacks against Israel". ... Reports say Mr Abbas is due to travel to Gaza on Monday to try to persuade militant groups to agree to a ceasefire.

If Abbas can end the violence against Israeli citizens, then I find this a promising development. However, I remain deeply skeptical of both his desire and his power to do so. The Palestinians have played this game for decades now between the three power centers of Palestinian politics: the PA (Fatah), Hamas, and Islamic Jihad. One point on the triangle declares a cease-fire, or maybe two, and Israel ceases military operations, sometimes even withdrawing altogether. Then the third point attacks, killing Israeli citizens, sometimes more than once, forcing Israel to respond. When they do, the other two points blame Israel for violating the cease-fire and continuing their attacks.

It matters little whether they actually coordinate this strategy, or simply take advantage of one another to dance. The results always amount to dead Israelis who get blamed by the Europeans for the problem. Wake me up when Abbas stamps out the other two dance partners.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 17, 2005 7:47 AM

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