Saturday must’ve looked like a promising day to Palestinians.
The International Court of Justice had just declared the Israeli wall illegal, the UN was in the process of drafting resolutions criticizing Israel about it. Ariel Sharon’s position was weakening, he had just turned to Shimon Peres, who made his cooperation conditional to speeding up the pullout from Gaza.
Of course, anyone who has paid any attention to the last half century of this war knew that couldn’t last.
So today, al-Aqsa, a militia affiliated with Fatah, decided this would be a good idea to blow up a bus in Tel Aviv, killing one innocent woman. So now Sharon has postponed his meeting with Peres and is childishly blaming the attack on the ICJ. One can only assume he’ll respond with some kind of retaliatory attack.
Yassir Arafat, for his part, condemned the attack. But it still leaves me sitting here thinking “he’s the leader of Fatah, right?”. I mean, I know al-Aqsa and the other militias operate independently of the parent group, but surely if he had called for an end to attacks beforehand, perhaps while cheering the ICJ ruling the other day, it might’ve been prevented. Even if it hadn’t, calling for an end to attacks would’ve been more meaningful if he’d done it before, rather than after.
Moreover, as he so often does, he suggested that Israel was responsible for the attack. Now, assuming that was true, why would al-Aqsa take credit for it? I mean, again, he’s the leader of Fatah… surely he could’ve at least convinced the militias not to take credit for the thing if they really didn’t do it. That’s almost as stupid as blaming the ICJ for it.
So now Sharon has another excuse to escalate the conflict, and that retaliation will lead to more retaliation from groups like al-Aqsa. Fifty plus years in you’d figure one side or the other would’ve figured out retaliation ad-infinitum isn’t going to end this war.