It can’t be easy being Ariel Sharon.
As Prime Minister of Israel, Sharon has the insurmountable duty of protecting Israel against terrorists, while working toward a peace agreement with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat — whom Sharon believes to be responsible for the continued violence in the Middle East.
Yet every move Sharon makes seems to be the wrong one.
After the latest suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, which injured 23 and killed six, Israeli tanks stormed Gaza City, demolished buildings and homes, surrounded Arafat’s compound in Ramallah, and demanded that Palestinian terrorists it said were holed up with Arafat come out.
Sharon refused to end Israel’s assault of the compound, despite a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding that he do so.
Yet on Sunday, Sharon folded under the mounting global pressure, including pleas from President George W. Bush, and ended the 10-day siege – which can be viewed only as a dismal failure.
Instead of forcing Arafat into exile or arresting the estimated 50 militants, Sharon fans the flames of war when Israeli tanks roll over Palestinians; when Israeli troops kill and wound civilians with shells and shrapnel; and when Palestinian leader Arafat is held hostage under Israel’s military might.
And so, the road to peace continues to be crowded by Palestinian suicide bombers, Israeli infantry raids and dead and wounded civilians.
Sharon should realize that it is futile to hold the Palestinian people
accountable for suicide bombings, and that it is arrogant for him to take no responsibility for Palestinian suffering under Israeli governance.
If Sharon is convinced that Arafat is aiding terrorists, he should rally Palestinians who are weary of the destruction to create new leadership.
If Sharon wants peace in the region, he must push for a Palestinian prime minister and commit to creating a Palestinian state – not endear Arafat to those already disgusted with Israeli dominance.
Such Israeli missteps are counterproductive; they strengthen Arafat’s position as a Palestinian leader and, as Israeli tanks roll through Palestinian neighborhoods, they confirm for many Arabs that suicide bombers are religious and political martyrs.
Israeli troops have repositioned themselves about 40 yards outside of Arafat’s compound to ensure that the terrorists it says are in the compound cannot flee the area.
Also, the 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. curfew for Ramallah residents has been re-imposed.
Arafat has asked the Security Council to implement their resolution, adopted last week by a 14-0 vote with the United States abstaining, that called on Israel to end the siege of his compound and for the Palestinian Authority to meet its commitment to end violence against Israelis.
The next move is Sharon’s.
Letters to the editor can be submitted via our Web site @ www.temple-news.com under the “submissions” link. They can also be dropped off at the Temple News office located in the Student Center, Room 315.
The Temple News editorial board members are:
• Jeremy Smith, Editor in Chief
• Mike Gainer, Managing Editor
• Brian White, News Editor
• Kia Gregory, Opinion Editor