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The basic equation
The real fight is against forces of reason in both societies

April 9, 2002
The Iranian

After General Sharon is done with his latest banal, ironfisted policy of "preventive first strike" at potential Palestinian suicide bombers, adding more counts to his abysmal, atrocious record along the way -- and perhaps swelling the ranks of prospective human cruse missiles -- the basic equation will stay intact: Land for peace.

What is taking place right now in the occupied and reoccupied territories, is nothing but the last desperate try by a breed of men who know their time and bloody tactics are coming to an end. Contrary to popular opinion that holds the combatants in the fray as the Palestinians verses the Israelis, I firmly belive that the real fight is against forces of reason in both societies.

Close to two thousand Israeli men, women and child, in defiance of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) directive, in the early days of the current military operations, tried to enter the territories in a gesture of solidarity with the beleaguered inhabitants. The brutal suppression of the demonstrators by the trenchant wielding, tear gas lobbing Israeli police and border guards only reaffirmed the identity of the real target that has prompted Mr. Sharon to unleash his tanks and other implements of death and destruction onto the territories.

The IDF, itself is facing a burgeoning crises of conscience. At last count, just prior to the latest bloodletting, over two hundred of its ranks, both active and reservists, some highly decorated, signed their names to a declaration, refusing to serve in the territories.

In the civilian Israeli society, too, calls for curtailing the power of Shas and other hardline, Orthodox religious parties were getting louder and louder. So were the outcry against the new strings of settlements, 23 of them, being built on the expropriated Palestinian land, financed with more than generous government subsidies, in direct contravention to the Mitchell Plan.

On the Palestinian side, the impetus for the next to the last and the most successful suicide bombing at the Park Hotel on Passover, was the Arab Summit declaration (prompted by the September 11) -- which laid the framework for the recognition of the State of Israel by all its members.

The forces against a reasonable way out of the morass on this side are also fighting their last battles. Palestinians are wising up to the fact that they have been and are being used as cannon fodder by other powers with their own agendas, least of which is their welfare.

Not many of them have forgotten their mass expulsions from Kuwait and other brotherly Arab countries after the outbreak of the Gulf War. Nor should they forget Black September in Jordan.

On the day commemorating the Holocaust, it is incumbent upon the forces of reason on both sides of the divide to reenergize their efforts and go the extra mile, and defeat the minority who must fail. The two great nations, besides having been squeezed into a limited geographical location, are of the same ancestry, they are quite literally distant cousins. Shalom and salaam, not only sound the same, they have the same definition too, peace.

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Shahriar Zangeneh

By Shahriar Zangeneh

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