Arafat continues to wield power, having made himself head of a new national security council. Though Abbas has said that resort to terror has been a disaster for the Palestinian cause, it isn't altogether clear that he accepts the permanent existence of the Jewish state any more than his old boss. He is a hard-liner on the matter of the Palestinian "right of return," for example, which would cause Israel to cease to exist.
The tendency now to speak of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is actually a victory for Arab propaganda. Until the early 1990s, it was always called the Arab/Israeli conflict because the refusal of the Arab states to accept Israel created the Palestinian refugee problem in the first place. Today, the Saudis, though nominally a U.S. ally, continue to spread the ugliest propaganda against Israel imaginable. And together with Arafat, they have transformed the populations of the West Bank and Gaza into cauldrons of white-hot hatred.
For an example of one of the milder forms of propaganda that is daily fare in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, watch the television program that was broadcast on the day President Bush unveiled the "roadmap." It can be viewed at www.zoa.org.
Praising masked men with guns, the music chants over pictures of a Jewish man and his wife "Foreigners have no place in this land. ... Pour fire on their settlements ... keep the cauldron burning."
A Pew Global Attitudes poll recently found that 80 percent of Palestinians believe that "the rights and needs of the Palestinian people cannot be taken care of so long as the state of Israel exists."
No roadmap can erase that landscape.