February 28, 2008

Insatiable extremism

Roni Yihye, 47, a father of four, was murdered on Wednesday in the latest rocket assault from the Gaza Strip.

His death came a day after the 80th birthday of Ariel Sharon, the general and politician who ended a long career of outmaneuvering hostile Arab forces by withdrawing completely from the Gaza Strip. And it followed the latest anti-Israel broadside from the UN's Human Rights Council, whose rapporteur John Dugard wrote earlier this week that "a distinction must be drawn between acts of mindless terror, such as acts committed by al-Qaida, and acts committed in the course of a war of national liberation against colonialism, apartheid or military occupation... As long as there is occupation, there will be terrorism."

The combination of Yihye's murder, Sharon's birthday and Dugard's misguided report brings the current untenable reality apropos Gaza into sharp focus.

Led by Sharon, more than two years ago, Israel wrenched its settlers and withdrew its soldiers from the Gaza Strip. It left behind an unprecedented opportunity for Palestinian state-building and an international commitment to create a Singapore in the impoverished Strip, not to mention millions of dollars in farming equipment, including a world-famous complex of greenhouses. All these were wasted.


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