I was really impressed with yesterday's NY Times editorial, "One Step Back in the Mideast":
Maybe President Mahmoud Abbas doesn't quite get it yet but this new era of hope in the Middle East means he needs to restrain his instincts to excuse the terror against Israel.
In his recent meeting in Cairo with the leaders of terrorist groups Mr. Abbas failed to get them to give up their terror as anything more than a temporary measure.
Many Israelis have criticized this lack of resolve and rightly accused the Palestinian terror organizations of being insincere and seeking a chance to regroup rather than a commitment to the political process. One of the fundamental premises of the peace process that started over eleven years ago was that Israel would cede land to the Palestinians and the Palestinians would forswear terror as a means of achieving statehood. In subsequent years we saw the former but nothing of the latter. If Mr. Abbas fails to dismantle the terror groups he is making a mockery of the bargain the PLO made with Israel allowing it an opportunity to escape its terrorist past and embrace a legitimate future.
We never expected that terror would end overnight, but eleven years is plenty of time to usher in an era of understanding and changing a movement's focus from terror to politics. Mr. Abbas's cynical claims of having fulfilled his obligations as he asks Israel to cede to him more land and release more terrorists from prison may play well in the Arab street but it can hardly inspire confidence in the Israeli public or those of us who are serious about peace.
Mr. Abbas is attempting to evade responsibility much as his predecessor, Yasser Arafat did. The Palstinians who supported the terror in polls have no one to complain to when Israel claims more land as its own. If the Palestinians hadn't resorted to terror every time they were unsatisfied with Israeli concessions they would have had a state by now and Ariel Sharon likely would not now be Prime Minister.
Mr. Abbas deserves credit for talking a good game and decrying the use of violence. He now needs to back up his words with strong actions and show that he means them.