The Intifada, better termed a Palestinian war, will not continue on asit has. In recent months we’ve witnessed the recognition of a political, economic, psychological and military Palestinian defeat. Leaders now recognize the gross miscalculation of the violence launched in September 2000. Indeed, Israel’s reprisals and sanctions have crippled Palestinian society inside the disputed territories. This, coupled with anger over political corruption, has sparked an urgency for political reform. Many Palestinians today also recognize the utility of renewed peace negotiations.
This, however, doesn’t ensure an end to the conflict. The Oslo process began with a drive toward peace and reform in 1993, but came full circle back to violence in 2000. The primary reason for this was the inherent inability of the Palestinian people, and particularly their leadership, to make a crucial decision. The Palestinians must make a choice between defeating Israel and building a state. They have learned the hard way for more than a half-century that they cannot do both simultaneously. Should the Palestinians finally commit to building a state while renouncing violence, a cessation of the conflict will be within view.