Intifada forces Mideast breakthrough

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IS THE AGREEMENT SIGNED IN SEPTEMBER between Israel and the PLO an enormous advance for the cause of Palestinian self-determination and peace in the Middle East? Or is it a capitulation by Arafat to Israeli self-interest, an accommodation brokered behind the scenes by the U.S., one that evades or negates all the real issues of national rights?

It’s both.

First and foremost, the accords are a victory for the heroic Intifada. An unquenchable movement made up largely of women and teenagers with stones in their hands has forced serious concessions from one of the most heavily armed juggernauts in the world.

Credit also goes to the peace movement within Israel, which is battling that same juggernaut on the home front.

CONCRETELY, THE DEAL LEAVES as much unresolved as it resolves. But it broaches the possibility of meaningful improvements in the situations of Palestinians at least on the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank: respite from war, bettering of material and economic conditions, increased self-government, and the opportunity to develop politically.

The lasting solution for the people of Israel and Palestine will be a bilateral, secular, socialist state. But on the road to revolution, hard-won reform is worth recognizing, celebrating, and building on.

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