Reorganizing files for my past articles I came across some amusing and revealing things you might enjoy, showing how often the region doesn’t really change in some key ways and how rarely Western observers learn from events.
Palestinian Authority (PA) Health Minister Munzir Sharif complained to reporters that Israeli security measures, taken after two terrorist bombs killed 12 people in a Jerusalem marketplace, prevented Palestinians from getting needed medical treatment in Israel.
This protest seemed less credible when, three days later, Sharif himself had an operation in an Israeli hospital. He was not alone. Another hundred Palestinians received passes to obtain special care during the closure’s first days.
A key element in the way Arafat is often interpreted is to treat each of his declarations as if it has no history behind it. Thus, when he denounces terrorist attacks on Israel, pledges to make reforms, and asks for patience, this is merely a repetition of statements made many times previously without results. Often, though, headlines around the world about Arafat opposing violence or favoring compromise drown out the fact that these sound bites have long proved empty public relations’ gestures….
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