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April 14, 2004

Arafat's Future

InstaPundit links to this story:

RAMALLAH, Fla., April 13 (UPI) -- Yasser Arafat reportedly approved, in concept, an attack on a U.S. convoy in the Gaza Strip last year that took the lives of three Americans.

Middle East Newsline said Tuesday it was told by "U.S. diplomatic sources" a U.S. investigation into the attack on the convoy in October revealed a clear role by the Palestinian Authority chairman.

InstaPundit wonders if this has prompted a sea change in the Bush administration's Israel policy -- as Bush essentially said today that the Palestinians are going to have to give up the "right of return" and the hope of regaining the 1967 borders.

I suspect that if this story is sound and the president believes that Arafat approved the killing of the three Americans in 2003 -- who, by the way, were in the Gaza to offer Fulbright Scholarships to Palestinians -- then we will soon see the end of Arafat, one way or another.

UPDATE: More here, including this: "Arafat earlier called the idea 'the complete end of the peace process.'" And that's somehow a change?

FURTHER UPDATE: Greetings InstaPundit readers. Thank you for stopping by.

ONE MORE UPDATE: Meryl Yourish writes to clarify that he pointed out the change in Bush's policy, not that Arafat's possible complicity in the killing of the Americans might be linked to that change, which my post previously implied. I have since edited the post to clarify. Thank you, Meryl.

YET ONE MORE UPDATE: David Bernstein at Volokh has this take on Bush's policy:

Bush and Sharon: For all the handwringing of the American (not to mention world) media, the dynamic is very simple: Bush has made it abundantly clear that he wants the Palestinians to have a responsible government that fights terrorism, and wants the Israelis to move toward a settlement that turns over sovereignty of Gaza and most of the West Bank to a Palestinian state. No progress was being made in either direction for some time. Then, Sharon announced a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. Self-interested, sure, but also a political risk that breaks the impasse that had developed, and a potential momentum builder. Bush looked in vain for a reciprocal gesture from the Palestinians. He got nothing. Worse then nothing, the Palestinians have been busily discussing how to bring Hamas into their government. Result: political rewards for Sharon, a cold shoulder for the Palestinians. It was almost two years ago that Bush made it clear that he would judge the Palestinian leadership by one criteria: its willingness to fight terrorism. Why, two years and no willingness to fight terrorism later, it expects "evenhandedness" from Bush shows that they simply don't understand the man.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 10:01 PM | Permalink

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