Thursday, February 10, 2005

Will the Ceasefire Hold?

The tentative understanding between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been greeted with optimistic rejoicing by the British press and scarcely any less by the American papers. It seems to be holding, for now, but the lion isn't quite ready yet to lie down with the lamb and eat straw like oxen.

Rory Miller and Efraim Karsh, both of Kings College London, and Ehud Ya'ari both point out the real danger of the Palestinian Islamist militants seeking to continue stirring the cauldron. Karsh and Miller don't put much weight on Abu Mazen's supposedly moderate position:
During his brief prime ministerial tenure in 2003, Mr Abbas made no effort to disarm the numerous armed gangs, attempting instead to win their consent for a temporary suspension of hostilities. Whether or not he will change tack now that he has reached the Palestinian Authority’s top spot remains to be seen, but the indications thus far are hardly encouraging.
My personal opinion is that after four years, that both sides are near exhausted and willing to substitute politics for violence, so that we get peace, as Ambrose Bierce so accurately captured it in the Devil's Dictionary:
In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
It seems not too dissimilar from my own troubled homeland!