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Palestinian peace promises sound too familiar

-Mark Schickman
Wednesday May 22, 2002

To the Editor: 

As a member of the Jewish peace camp, who knows that the Palestinians are the only potential peace partner, I’m glad to hear that a Palestinian leader came to Berkeley to talk about reforming his corrupt dictatorial regime. 

I just hope the words turn into action. 

We’ve been here before.  

After the Oslo accords in 1993, Israeli and American Jewish leadership successfully lobbied for the release of millions of dollars promised by Western governments to fund Arafat’s Palestinian Authority. Unfortunately, that money was diverted away from the people and local infrastructures that needed it; instead, it was pocketed by politicians, used to recruit suicide murderers and spent to promote hatred against Jews and Israel in schools and community centers. None of it was invested to create a popular foundation for peace, or to ease the misery of the poorest Palestinians. No wonder Arafat’s public is skeptical about the benefits of the peace process. 

Still I have to remain hopeful in the future good faith of the Palestinian leadership. Israel has no real alternative to the hope for prosperity among the Palestinian people, because that is the only long-term road to peace. So I embrace the Palestinians’ new public pronouncements about democracy and reform, and, to quote The Who, hope that "We Won’t Get Fooled Again.” 


-Mark Schickman