About a week before Arafat, I visited Jericho to see how “the autonomy” (as my Israeli friends call it) was faring. It was, that week, faring well. The city, bedecked in Palestinian flags, was quiet; the old police and new security forces seemed to be effective and, for the moment, popular; the joint Israeli-Palestinian patrols were the surprising success story of the autonomy’s first stage. The one sign of future trouble was that every official I met came from outside, from Tunis, Lebanon, or Iraq; the locals seem to have been displaced—though perhaps they have only retreated into temporary invisibility. In any case, the new civil administration was not yet at work, and elections were still months away, on the most optimistic schedule. Virtually everything remains to be done; still, there I was, walking peacefully around a square in . . . Palestine.
This is peacemaking on the ground, and though it can turn very sour very fast, it is a remarkable achieveme...
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