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Powell Blunders into Palestinian Quagmire  
By Alan Caruba, Founder, The National Anxiety Center



The latest US Secretary of State to blunder into the Palestinian quagmire is Colin Powell. It is reported that he is urging Israel to lift an economic "siege" of the West Bank and Gaza as soon as possible.

Well, one wonders why the Israelis aren't welcoming the Palestinians who work there? Could it be the car bomb attacks? Could it be the bus driver who killed eight soldiers by running over them? Could it be the desecration of Joseph's Tomb? Could it be the cold-blooded murder of two Israeli soldiers who took a wrong turn and ended up in the hands of a Palestinian mob? The random killings of Israelis? Could it be the renewal of the intifada that has been going on for months now?

Maybe Secretary Powell didn't see the images of himself being burnt by Palestinians? Maybe he isn't aware that they blame their misery on the United States as well as Israel?

"If people are not able to get to their jobs, they become more frustrated," says our Secretary of State. And are the Israelis frustrated at the end of a decade of compromise to discover that nothing short of packing up and leaving their nation will satisfy Mr. Arafat?

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The Israelis have a right to protect themselves, but the Secretary of State is more worried about Palestinian jobs (and their Israeli paychecks) than this most fundamental element of statehood. If this is the U.S. policy in that area of the world, it is as pathetic as every thing that has preceded it. As it is, our new Secretary of State's visit to the Middle East has been devoted to hearing the leaders of various Arab nations tell him to get lost. Except, of course, to save them if Saddam decides to invade.

"This is the time to bring calm to the region," said Secretary Powell. No kidding! The man's a genius.

"Peace is in the interest of the Palestinians, the Israelis, the Arabs and the international community at large," says Arafat. Heard that. Been there. Ain't buying it anymore. There would be peace tomorrow if the Palestinians put down their arms and decide to live with the Israelis. They are never going to do that. If they can't even make the connection with their jobs and peace, they are never going to understand this simple fact.

Israel has been a sovereign nation since its founding in 1948. It existed in the time of David and in the time of Jesus. Message to Arafat, Hamas and El Fatah: Get over it!

If Secretary Powell's first official visit to the Middle East is any indication, it's clear that he knows how to speak the usual diplomatic gibberish, but far less clear he has a clue to "solving" anything there. So far, nothing that even vaguely resembles a "foreign policy" is evident. Some may say, "give him time", but if he didn't bring it with him when he walked into his office in Foggy Bottom, he's not going to find it in a drawer in his new desk.

Alan Caruba is a frequent contributor. He is the founder of The National Anxiety Center. (

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Alan Caruba, 2001

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