And stuck in the middle, we have Sharon and Arafat, both with blood on their hands; Arafat, from a long career of active and, more lately, tacit support for terrorism, and Sharon, most notoriously, for his role in the massacre of well over a thousand civilians at Sabra and Shatila during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
The intent of the invasion, led by Sharon as defense minister, was to eliminate threats to Israeli security from Lebanese raiders. The effect, argues Knesset opposition leader Yossi Sarid in an op-ed in today's New York Times, was to spawn Hizbollah --- thereby creating a new long-term security threat for Israel. (Hizbollah's own web site concurs, at least to an extent, citing the invasion as "the most important moment" in the movement's history, while not mentioning anything that happened at an earlier date).
Sarid goes on to argue for the United States somehow imposing the Clinton administration's proposed settlement on both parties, because "General Zinni needs to offer a plan for the longer run as part of a strategy to end the immediate violence --- and the only viable plan is the proposal made by the Clinton administration." It is hard to imagine a more direct invocation of the classic syllogism:
We must do something.
This is something.
We must do this.
And there are plenty of reasons to doubt the viability of that strategy, starting with commonsense reservations about Arafat's viability as a negotiating partner, as I've written before. But let's remember that Sharon, left to his own devices, may come up with something just as bad. He's done it before.
And the guys with the web site? They paid for Sharon's house.