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A time for historic decision-making
[Daily Edition]
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Date: Oct 31, 2002
Start Page: 09
Section: Opinion
Abstract (Document Summary)

For the Palestinian leadership there is a need to finally address the pivotal issue of whether Yasser Arafat should cut a deal with Israel for the good of the Palestinians who today reside in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Such a deal would effectively sacrifice the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war who live in the refugee camps scattered throughout the Arab world.

Indeed, the whole debate - which dominated the Netanyahu era - over the non-removal of clauses in the Palestinian covenant that called for the destruction of the State of Israel was characterized by a growing Israeli awareness that the Palestinian leadership may still have aspirations for a Palestinian state in all of the lands to the west of the River Jordan, despite its public acceptance of Israel's right to existence.

In retrospect, perhaps the greatest tragedy of the recent attempts of Israelis and Palestinians to make peace has been that they tried to do so without first taking the historic internal decisions that are required in order to create the pre-conditions for bringing long-running conflicts to an end. In practical terms, Israelis needs to come to terms with the simple fact that giving away land will not necessarily bring peace; the Palestinians have to realize that no pragmatic compromise with Israel is possible if they continue to insist on the right of return of return of the 1948 refugees.

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