The Difference Is, Falwell Only Claims to Talk to God.
Safire writes such good essays, it’s easy sometimes to forget how good a reporter he can be. Especially with sources like Ariel Sharon. Read it.
Sharon describes his conditions for further dealings with the Palestinians. And notice that’s not “dealings with Arafat.” Still the old general, Sharon meant it when he called Arafat irrelevant. He’s now dealing with others.
But can Arafat’s underlings deliver what Arafat himself couldn’t or wouldn’t? Look at it this way. Like any good dictator, Arafat has left no clear line of succession for after he’s gone. Which means his underlings must jockey for position. And one of the best ways to gain position is to be the guy who can deliver to the Israelis. And because the Israelis control the roads, airspace, ports, etc, the Palestinians can’t do anything without them.
That’s the secret Arafat can’t or won’t understand.
But the PA member who both understands that and can deliver what both sides need — that’s the man who will replace Arafat. And Sharon will make sure it’s “someone we can do business with.”