Column: Road map of perpetuating violence

By David Solana

The truce between Israel and the Palestinians is once again an opportunity to come to agreements that bring peace to these war-torn peoples after decades of unrest. Provided each side is willing to make concessions and realizes they really can live together in peace, the situation has the potential to set a beautiful example of coexistence between two groups that have long struggled because of their intolerance of each other.

Yet the rhetoric put out by some suggests the problem will not be solved even if both sides come to a political compromise. Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz wants the Israeli public to choose a name for the conflict that was just ended, according to The Jerusalem Post. Some of his suggestions are “Arafat’s War,” and the “Terror War” to replace the term that had been used, matzav – Hebrew for situation. Yes, the Palestinians have been calling the conflict the Second Intifada, but the conflict is now over. Mofaz should not be occupying the public with finding a name of equally inflammatory content – he should be concentrating on what compromises everyone will have to make to arrive at a solution. The same article detailed the importance of meeting several criteria so both parties might be able to pursue the U.S. road map. One of the main points was to round up all of the terrorists and their weapons, take away their ability to produce arms and halt the arms trade.

Yet this assumes the guilt for the conflict is on the terrorists. It implies the Israelis are allowed to keep their arms because they are somehow the only legitimate users of force in this conflict. This plan is not Israeli; it is American. It is the reason the United States should do the best it can at keeping its nose out of these talks and letting the two sides come to terms with each other with a neutral mediator.

The pre-road map plan never called for such dramatic disarmament of the Palestinians. It called for an end to terrorist attacks – as in ending the events themselves, not the utter obliteration of the perpetrators of the attacks. The problem is in that word – terror. It is the use of violence, especially fear, to attain a goal, in this case a political goal. But it has come to adopt secondary meanings in many minds since 2001. The word is now associated only with bad things, and its uses that could easily be termed good are largely ignored.

On Dec. 20, 1973, a Basque terrorist organization killed Luis Carrero Blanco, the man most people believed was to be Spanish dictator Francisco Franco’s successor. Had he not been killed, it is unlikely Franco would have been replaced by a democracy-minded king, which is what led to the constitutional monarchy Spain has today. The comparison is not perfect. Israel is in no way the dictatorship Franco headed, but the Basque organization, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) – Basque Homeland and Liberty – was fighting against a government that denied them rights as basic as speaking their own language. Violence – terrorism – was the only viable manner for them to combat a government that was not listening to reason.

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    The ideal situation is for the Palestinian terror groups to abandon their fight when a compromise is achieved. If they continue pursuing attacks as a method of political gain, they will lose whatever public support they now enjoy – just as ETA has. Instead of even giving them this opportunity, the U.S. plan wants to seek them out and destroy them instead of giving them a chance to arrive at peace. That mode of thinking will simply force them into a continuation of their conflict instead of giving them the chance to leave it behind. If Israel is smart, it will ignore this aspect of the U.S. plan for peace and allow talks with Palestinian leaders to go forward. This gives the Palestinians a chance to dismantle their own terror networks so they might enter normal lives without exacerbating the situation.