Like Candy From a Baby

Israeli tanks are moving back into Jenin, but that’s not what’s interesting about this MSNBC story. Try this line from the first graf:

The move came a day after Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat announced plans for elections to be held in the next six months.


I could make the easy joke comparing Arafat to Zimbabwe’s recently re-“elected” Robert Mugabe, but I won’t. Instead, how about a prediction?

This election won’t happen. Not because of fraud, or because Arafat might think there won’t be enough fraud, but because Arafat no longer has enough clout with the rest of the Palestinian leadership to make it happen.

Perhaps Arafat still carries enough weight on the Palestinian street to win an election, but elections aren’t held by the street, they’re merely held on the street.

Big difference.

Six months from now, there still won’t be enough of the Palestinian Authority re-built to organize a high school prom, much less a national vote. Furthermore, other Palestinian leaders are increasingly talking past Arafat, rather than to him. If they want an election, maybe they can pull one off — if Israel agrees to help them re-build some infrastructure first.

But Israel would rather send in tanks than butterfly ballots with Arafat’s name on them.

Today’s bar bet: If there is an election in six months, it will have little or nothing to do with Yasser.

Any takers? I didn’t think so.


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