Arafat’s vaudeville routine

Over the weekend, Likud party voters rejected Prime Minister Sharon’s disengagement plan under which Israel would unilaterally withdraw from Gaza and substantial portions of the West Bank. The Jerusalem Post had endorsed the plan on the theory that it would put Israel “in a better position to wait out and defeat Palestinian intransigence.” However, one of the Post’s ace columnists, Caroline Glick opposed the plan, arguing that it would simply be the prelude to additional withdrawals and retreats.
I agree with Glick. In theory, Sharon’s plan is sound. Since there is no peace to be made with Arafat and his ilk, Israel imposes its own two-state solution characterized by defensible borders protected by a security fence. But, in the real world, Sharon’s two-state solution will not be final. Violence will continue (even if diminished) and so will pressure for a negotiated solution. Eventually, Israel will be forced back to the table, and be forced to negotiate from a weaker position, having already given up land in exchange for nothing.
The dynamic reminds me of the old George Burns and Gracie Allen vaudeville routine about the property implications of marriage. George would start with four cigars and, handing Gracie two of them, would say, “half of everything I have is yours.” Then, adding the corollary that “half of everything you have is mine,” he would take back one of the cigars, leaving himself with three. Burns never got the last cigar, but Arafat plans to, through the right of return.


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