SO, it's been a long time since I've posted some good 'ol Safire...maybe that's what's lacking from my life...

Finally someone came out and said it. What is it? you ask?

Here's an excerpt:

"It seems as if everyone is coming up with a surefire, can't-miss, "comprehensive" agreement to make peace once and for all between Palestinians and Israelis.


One small drawback to such magical solutions: they are out of touch with reality. The suicide-bomber war will not be ended when powerless brokers list all the points of disputation and then pretend to trade concessions. Nor will it end by fiat from a superpower or resolutions from irresolute outside bodies.

Peace will be made only when the two parties are prepared to deal and have the authority to deliver on their commitments.

For nearly three years, embattled Israel has been ready. A few months ago, there was reason to hope that 70 percent of the Palestinian people, exhausted by their unwinnable war, would put in power a government to exert control over the belligerent 30 percent beholden to Hamas and other terrorists and fanatics.

They tried and failed. Arafat, his absolute authority over his armed forces challenged, threw Abu Mazen out for daring to try to stop the terror. He replaced him with a loyal aide, Ahmed Qurei, known as Abu Ala, and let the world know that only Arafat would be in charge of the men with guns.

As usual, world opinion (Putin, Chirac, Carter, etc.) blames Sharon for insisting that Palestinians stop their 30 percent from supporting the murder of civilians during negotiations. Pro-Palestinian media (as well as the free, anti-Sharon media in Israel) are calling for another Oslo charade, or for giving Arafat yet another chance, or for new pressure on Israel to stop taking the war to the terrorists.

The White House isn't ignoring the need to show fairness. Bush's aides yesterday pressed Sharon's chief of staff, Dov Weisglass, to dismantle the dozens of unauthorized outposts in the West Bank, as called for in the road map, and to reduce discomfiting searches at checkpoints. And Israel will be penalized for building its much-needed antiterrorist barrier by a reduction of a loan guarantee. But there will be no demand that Israel waste time and lives doing business with Arafat.

Fortunately, Sharon — elected by a landslide and with his strong coalition in parliament — is backed up by a U.S. president who has shown he understands the value of patience and courage in the face of terror.

Secure in his support at home and here, but aware that in a democracy, a politician has to show progress, Sharon suspended his requirement for "quiet first" and recently invited Abu Ala, a man he knows well, to meet with him.

The Palestinian, hoping to see heavy publicity afforded the Geneva accordianists, buttered up his boss by rejecting the opening, demanding a series of Israeli concessions first. Sharon does not do meetings with preconditions; the two prime ministers will get together when Arafat decides to let Abu Ala out of his sight.

Then come visits to the U.S. and the "process" begins again. It will have meaning when the Palestinian majority takes charge of its enemy within. Only after that will we hear, in Hebrew and Arabic, "There — all finished!"

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