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Farewell to arms
[INTERNATIONAL Edition]
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Author: Lochery, Neil
Date: Jan 3, 2003
Start Page: 13
Section: Opinion
Abstract (Document Summary)

HERE THE cases of Northern Ireland and Israel diverge. Under the terms of the Oslo Accords Israel actually allowed the PLO to effectively arm itself. Those who have read the small print of the accords will have noted that the PLO was permitted to arm its security forces with only light weapons for domestic security purposes. Instead Yasser Arafat and his ad-hoc security forces stockpiled weapons to prepare for war with Israel.

[Ariel Sharon] was therefore correct to insist upon third- party involvement in the collection and destruction of the illegally held Palestinian arms. Worryingly, however, he did not appear to insist upon third-party verification of the level and whereabouts of the arms.

Sharon needs to learn from the Northern Irish experience how best to insist upon decommissioning, which, although vital to the prospect of peaceful coexistence, remains very difficult to fully achieve in practical and political terms. The Israeli public, however, needs reassurance that there can be no repeat of the current levels of violence being directed against it during a potential post-political settlement period.

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