Well! A cease-fire! Bless my buttons! That's amazingly good! And yes, my tongue is in my cheek, but only a little tiny bit.
I've mentioned in the past, and my mind hasn't been changed, that no one is really in charge of the people who call themselves Palestinians. There are a million groups, and none of the really violent fringe ones have ever seemed willing to honor any kind of cease-fire agreed to in the past. But wait -
Rice also announced Monday that U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William Ward will act as a security coordinator and will visit the region in the next few weeks. Ward also will work on Mideast security issues with Egypt and Jordan, she said.
"Gen. Ward's mandate is on security, which after all, really has to get established and has to be moving forward in order for us to make progress," Rice said.
Ward's responsibilities will include helping the Palestinians train and equip their security forces. Among his duties, Rice said, would be monitoring compliance with Israeli and Palestinian security agreements.
"We are very clear that the parties need to live up to their obligations," she said. "We won't hesitate to say to the parties when those obligations aren't being met."
Palestinian security forces? Could this possibly mean what I think it does? That Palestinians are willing to admit that they have some responsibility to police their own people, and to try and prevent terrorist forces within their midst? Because that's the only way that peace in this region can ever work. Simply decrying terrorism in public forums is not enough, Palestinians must actually work to stop terrorists in their own ranks. Do they really want to?
Now, the next problem is, of course, getting the Israelis to stop the violence, too. How do you convince a group of soldiers who've lived their whole lives looking over their shoulders every minute to stop shooting at the suspicious? Reactions like that have kept them alive up until now, for more often than not, people were trying to kill them. Go ahead, call me paranoid, but I spent 7 months of my life in Israel, just being a student, and I got to see 2 real bombs left in the street and I once moved carefully in the opposite direction of a grenade attack one night in town. Sure, I got held up by bomb threats dozens of times and only 2 were real, and I was in town every night for 5 months, more or less, with only one grenade attack... I think you can see what I'm saying. It's been a violent place, people aren't used to the idea of not shooting.
I once again bring up the issue of feelings and desire. These people have been raised to hate each other. Hate. Not the namby-pamby idea of hate that we here in the U.S. use to express strong dislike, but the kind of hate that inspires you to try and end others' lives. We can say that there's a cease fire, but do the people want it? Is the desire for peace just something that is given lip service, because its real meaning has been lost amongst ancient feuding that outsiders can't understand? I kind of think so, and that's what makes me so pessimistic about this "road map". I'd like to see peace, but I haven't lived with the anger all my life.