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The Daily Tar Heel

Palestinian Leadership Solely Responsible For `Disgraceful' Fighting

Arafat, the PLO and all Palestinians had an opportunity to show the world that they were capable of ensuring order and security during Ariel Sharon's Sept. 28 visit to the Temple Mount.

Unfortunately, they gave us living proof why Jerusalem can never again be divided and why Israel must remain as sole protector - ensuring freedom of worship and free access to all of Jerusalem for all faiths. Prior to 1967, under Jordanian rule this was not the case - Jews were barred from their holy sites.

Events of the past weeks have been disgraceful, and blame lies squarely on the Palestinians and their leadership. Ariel Sharon had every right to make his visit to the Temple Mount, a site open to the public.

So why the outrage? The appearance of Mr. Sharon brought back memories of his excursion into Lebanon that succeeded in booting Arafat and the PLO out of Lebanon and into Tunisia. No doubt, this was Arafat's way of seeking revenge - create hysteria with past images of the intifada, thereby enticing Palestinians to rise up and create the kind of terror that we are witnessing today.

Make no mistake, this was a well-orchestrated attempt by the PLO to use violence as a means of bringing the Israeli army in to protect lives. They also knew that if death resulted, Israel would be blamed, enabling the Palestinian leadership to once again run crying to the international community. And that is just what happened.

Adding insult to injury, the United Nations had the audacity to pass a resolution condemning Israel. This was nothing new - the bias against Israel is well-known; that is why these resolutions are almost laughable.

This past year, Israel has made historic concessions to the Palestinians - return of 92 percent of the West Bank, and Gaza for a future state, sovereignty over Muslim and Christian quarters of Old Jerusalem and compensation for refugees, in addition to withdrawing from South Lebanon. Incredibly, Arafat turned down the deal, and Hezbollah continues its attacks out of Lebanon.

The bottom line is that the Palestinians started the fighting, and now they must deal with the consequences.

Judging from past conflicts, they should realize they are fighting a battle they will not win. Arabs here and abroad who blame Israel for this latest incident should be ashamed of themselves. It is time for the Palestinians to acknowledge their responsibility, look at what Barak offered and put together some credible leadership that Palestinians, and the rest of the world, can truly look up to.

Rene de la Varre

Chapel Hill

The length rule was waived.

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