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The Fate of Palestinian Moderates

PLO, Arafat, Paelstine, Israel
Israeli actions in cities like Jenin, we keep hearing, are only creating a whole new generation of suicide bombers. But as we learn whether the deaths there number in the hundreds or dozens, other news reports shed light on the radicalization of the Palestinians. To wit:

April 7: GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- In a secret session before dawn Sunday, a Palestinian military court sentenced six Palestinians to death for collaborating with Israel, Palestinian security officials said. . . . Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat must approve the death sentences before they can be carried out. Some 40 similar sentences await Arafat's approval.

April 5: RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) -- Masked Palestinian gunmen shot dead three men suspected of collaborating with Israeli forces in their West Bank village of Toubas . . . Friday, Palestinian sources said.

April 1: NABLUS, West Bank (AP) -- In the West Bank town of Tulkarem, gunmen from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade entered an apartment where seven suspected collaborators were being held by military intelligence Monday, the officials said. The gunmen took the prisoners into the street and shot them, leaving their bodies behind, the security sources said. . . .

In Qalqilya . . . the bodies of Iyad Abu Ishab, 20, and Walid Radwan, 22, were found riddled with bullets in a side street Monday. Palestinian security sources said the two men, who had been arrested on charges of collaboration more than a year ago, were killed by their prison guards. . .

The body of Mahmood Rahamie, 21, was found in Bethlehem near Manger Square, the traditional birthplace of Jesus. The Al-Aqsa Brigades, which is close to . . . Arafat's Fatah movement, said in a statement that Rahamie had been killed after he was caught sending information to the Israelis through the Internet and e-mail.

March 15: NABLUS, West Bank (Reuters) -- A group linked to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction said it executed two alleged Palestinian collaborators Friday in the West Bank city of Nablus.

March 14: BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) -- Palestinian militiamen shot dead two alleged collaborators with Israel on Thursday, then tied the body of one to the back of a pickup truck, dragged him through town and attempted to hang him from a rooftop overlooking the traditional birthplace of Christ.

March 12: RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- In a grim warning, the blood-streaked body of a Palestinian shot to death for allegedly collaborating with Israel was strung up by the ankles Tuesday in the middle of this West Bank city. Raed Naem Odeh was left dangling in a traffic circle downtown. . . .

It may be that some of these victims were guilty, from a certain perspective, of treason. But the summary executions have certainly had the effect of silencing all voices of dissent. But then, this is nothing new.

Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem and Arab leader during the British mandate in Palestine, killed many Palestinians inclined to tolerate a Jewish presence in the region. In 1967, after Israel captured the West Bank in the Six Day War, Yasser Arafat's Fatah brought back the practice. During the uprising in the late 1980s, some 800 "collaborators" were murdered, many of them simply Palestinians who had prospered under Israeli occupation.

After the 1993 Oslo accords gave him a statelet, Mr. Arafat quickly set about criminalizing "collaboration" -- most famously with a law making the sale of land to Jews punishable by death. But those who get a trial are the lucky ones. Seven decades of "collaborator" killings have silenced or driven out many who would be open to coexistence with Israel.

It's yet one more reason to believe there will never be peace so along as the dictator and his brownshirts run Gaza and the West Bank.



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