Abbas Pushes For Security Reform

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered a significant consolidation of Palestinian security services to put them more firmly under the control of the Palestinian government. Currently security is provided by a patchwork of groups, some of whom have more ties to terrorist groups than to the Palestinian Authority. Reforming the security services is a key part of any potential peace agreement.

Meanwhile, settlers in Gaza are floating options for relocation, including a coastal settlement in Southern Israel. Sharon’s biggest worry is that his pullout plan will tear Israel apart and lead to a collapse of his government. The “hard-liner” Sharon now finds himself standing in opposition to members of his own party who reject any kind of deal that would restrict settlement activity.

It is not encumbant upon both sides to seek compromise. Palestinians may have to deal with an expansion of the Maale Adumim suburb of Jerusalem, while Israel may have to make some concessions in return. Peace between Israel and Palestine remains more likely now than it ever has been, but extremists on either side can derail the process once again. The Israelis must realize that expanding isolated settlements is no longer viable for their own security. The Palestinians must be willing to reject terrorism and treat their Israeli neighbors with respect. The only solution right now is a two-state solution in which both sides agree to respect the other and negotiate in good faith to alleviate conflicts. Both sides have made great and important strides towards that end, but terrorism is still rampant in Palestine, and Sharon’s coalition government is on shaky ground. Peace is possible, but only if the Palestinians are willing to compromise and Sharon can hold his government together.

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