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The “After Arafat, Arafat II?” article discusses the dilemma that has occurred in the Palestinian Authority now that Yasir Arafat has died. Both Bush and Israel’s Ariel Sharon described Yasir Arafat as being an “insurmountable obstacle to peace.” Some wonder whether Mahmoud Abbas’s election as the president of the Palestine Authority will bring about positive changes to the Israeli-Palestine peace agreements. Although Sharon and Bush approve of Abbas, some still wonder whether or not this new appointment will provide new possibilities for the agreement between Palestine and Israel. Both sides have such strong fears. The Israelis are afraid that the Israel state as a Jewish state will be destroyed. The Palestinians fear that Palestine as a viable state will never be created. The lack of a solution is not due to the fact that there is an obstacle for one, but rather that there is an absence of one. Arafat failed to achieve a solution, so it is up to Abbas to try and do what Arafat was unable to.
I agree with the argument presented in Wallerstein’s article. Arafat did fail to find a peace agreement between Palestine and Israel, but condemning him as an “obstacle to peace” is extreme. Any Palestinian could just as easily argue that Israel and Sharon are impeding on their peace as a people. The fear that Abbas will become another Arafat is perfectly legitimate and understandable. At the same time I think it is a bit presumptuous to expect Abbas to establish the agreement between Palestine and Israel. In all the years that Arafat was president, he was unable to make these necessary changes. The only way that a peace agreement between the two can be reached is if both leaders agree with the terms. Currently, nobody wants to agree, and therefore there is no peace agreement.
Neither Israel nor Palestine wants to compromise or sacrifice certain things in order for this agreement to happen. I think that bother leaders are in a lose-lose situation. If they are able to create an agreement between Israel and Palestine, somebody will be unhappy. It is nearly impossible to please both everybody without a compromise of some sort. More than likely, either leader will have to sacrifice something, which will then upset their people.
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I personally believe that the Palestinians have every right to have their own nation. Before Israel was established, there was Palestine. I think that this should still be so. At the same time, I can understand where the Israelis are coming from. I sometimes doubt that there will ever be a nation called Palestine. There is not an easy solution, for if there was it would have already been discovered.