By Cari Oleskewicz

........Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleberger is a nervous wreck about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
........He was on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer Monday night, desperately wringing his hands, sweating, and sputtering pessimistic yet informed words concerning the future of the Middle East.
........It’s reassuring that someone is disturbed.
........President Bush seems almost indifferent. He glibly explained (as articulate as ever) that he believes Israel has the right to defend itself.
........Usually, when one party is attacked by the other in Gaza or West Bank or Jerusalem, the United States urges both sides to exercise restraint and diplomacy in the interests of peace in the Middle East.
........We have lost that authority.
........The United States would look mighty hypocritical by asking Israel not to employ bombs and missiles against their terrorist. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was quick to compare Yassar Arafat to Osama bin Laden. A calculated move on his part – it gives his military response legitimacy, and it likens his nemesis to the man the superpowers of the world are hunting down to kill.
........The terrorist attack on Israeli civilians, killing 26 over the weekend, was abominable. It was wrong and indefensible, and it deserves to be condemned. However, this act is a continuation of the merciless killing that has been going on in that region of the world for the better part of the 20th century. Thousands of innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives have been lost over the last 50 years. Both sides have survived on provocation and retaliation.
........The sad truth appears to be that neither side wants peace.
........The militant group Hamas has taken credit for the suicide bombings, but Israel is placing blame on Arafat personally. They have called for an end to the leader’s authority and if possible, his life.
........All the cool countries are doing it these days.
........“We’re fighting the same war against terrorism that America is,” Sharon said.
........For years, peaceful Israelis have lived in constant fear of sudden, unexpected acts of terror against its civilians. And for years, peaceful Palestinians have lived in fear of Israeli revenge for these acts of extremists such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.
........I used to have faith in the peace process.
........However, I’m disappointed. Both America and Israel have decided to stoop to the level of their enemies. Arafat, as everyone knows, including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, is a weak leader. He does not tell terrorists to walk into shopping malls strapped to explosives. Terrorists are not on his side, because he has spent the last several years working on peace with a series of Israeli Prime Ministers and U.S. Presidents. The militants and the terrorists want to disturb the peace process with their violence. By retaliating, Israel has allowed it, just as the United States has given into Osama bin Laden and his army by attacking Afghanistan.
........President Bush is now learning that his actions are a model for others. He has opened the door for further violence in the entire Middle Eastern region, and unfortunately, everybody is okay with that.
........Peace is very unpopular.
........War is suddenly justified and understandable.
........And we are all in trouble.

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