While the EU seems all too happy to continue asking nothing of the Palestinians, as if they were too dim or too primitive to be held accountable for their own actions, Bush has tackled the issue of accountability head on. In his correct perception, it is the total absence of this factor from Middle Eastern political life that has allowed a long succession of local dictators, from Gamal Abdel Nasser, to Saddam Hussein, to Yasir Arafat, to inflict recurrent disasters and endless suffering on their peoples, and mayhem upon the world. So long as the Palestinian territories continue to be run by men of this kind and by their terrorist organizations, there can be no true or lasting reconciliation with Israel. And so long as the territories continue to be governed by Arafat's rule of the jungle, no Palestinian civil society, let alone a viable state, can develop. Just as the creation of free and democratic societies in Germany and Japan after World War II necessitated, above and beyond the overthrow of the ruling parties, a comprehensive purge of the existing political elites and the reeducation of the entire populace, so the Palestinians deserve a profound structural reform that will sweep the PA from power, free the territories from its grip, eradicate the endemic violence from political and social life, and teach the virtues of coexistence with their Israeli neighbors. Until this happens, there will be no lasting peace in the Middle East.
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|Published - Jan 2005