The Spine

The Wisdom Of Ze'ev Schiff

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Ze'ev Schiff is a very wise and moderate man, the long-time military and security analyst for Ha'aretz. He has always--I truly mean "always"--been for Israel taking reasonable risks for peace. What he says carries a lot of weight in Washington, and it carries even more weight in Jerusalem. Not just now. But over many years. It certainly carries enormous authority with me. What message do you take from these reports?

In a column published in the Friday weekend edition, "Lest the sword slip from our hand," he reports on two happenings. One is a television statement by Jibril Rajoub, once head of the Preventive Security in the West Bank and a moderate of sorts. What did he say? "That, in the end, the Palestinians will recover every inch of land between the river and the sea." The further they get from having Palestine the more intransigent they become.

And the second account. A senior Fatah official, Sufian Abu Zaida "described how his neighbor, a colonel in the PLO, and his nephew, were executed. First they were shot in the legs, and finally in the back, with the gunmen telling jokes while pulling the trigger. Before they shot the nephew, they tried to make him drink acid."

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