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August 25, 2006
By Daoud Kuttab

As I predicted in earlier columns, Israelís unilateral policy has proven to be one of the first victims of its war against Lebanon. Politically tarnished from the unsuccessful gamble in Lebanon, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert clearly cannot stomach another ill advised gamble that will turn both the Israeli right and left against him.

The failure of Israeli unilateralism in both Lebanon and Gaza highlight the fact that peace cannot be decided by one party. For way too long Israelis have attempted to negotiate among themselves with respect to issues dealing with their Arab counterparts.

Israelís unilateral theory has been based on the conveniently created assumption that there are no partners on the Palestinian side for the Jewish state. Ariel Sharon coined this legend when Yasser Arafat was alive. The argument was repeated when Hamas won the parliamentary elections. The fact that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was in power before the elections that brought the Haniyeh government to power is conveniently ignored. Also ignored is the fact that the international community, including the US, recognises President Abbas as the legitimate Palestinian partner. Even the Haniyeh government has repeatedly declared that President Abbas is legally and politically entrusted to negotiate with the Israelis.

Unfortunately, however, the decision to trash the unilateral withdrawal will not be replaced by a more sensible plan of bilateral negotiations with the Palestinians.

Source: Jordan Times

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