There can be no denying that what seems like decades of frozen ice are beginning to thaw in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Mahmoud Abbas publicly calls on Palestinian factions to turn from terrorist violence to political action to pursue the national struggle. Sharon frees 159 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in a gesture of goodwill. The New York Times notes that 560 Palestinian leaders have called for a renunciation of violence against Israel:
In another development, Palestinian cabinet ministers, legislators and academics, issued a carefully worded call for an end to attacks on Israelis, saying that the violence was harming the Palestinian cause.
“We reaffirm our legitimate right to confront occupation, but call for restoring the popular character of our uprising and ceasing actions that reduce the range of support for our cause and harm the credibility of our struggle,” the Palestinians said in an advertisement that appeared on the front pages of Palestinian newspapers.
While such statements are not unprecedented, more Palestinians have been willing to speak out on this issue since the death last month of the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.
Thanks to Lawrence of Cyberia for locating the entire letter on-line: Open Letter To Palestinian Public Opinion: What We Want From The Elected President.
Let’s hope that this tentative thaw turns into a raging torrent presaging a warm and wonderful spring for Israelis and Palestinians. Nothing’s ever over till it’s over in Palestinian-Israeli relations and virtually any little thing could stop this thaw in its tracks. But these developments seem to have traction in a way that other similar positive portents in the past did not. May it be so.