THE BUSH TEAM NOW HAS SOME VERY HARD DECISIONS TO MAKE. A transition in Palestinian leadership may be the best chance to set in place a credible path to a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
The passing of leaders — even ones we may detest — are important staging opportunities. Americans may not have liked Arafat, but many U.S. presidents did deal with him, and he was the elected leader of his constituents.
America needs to constrain any covert attempts by Sharon to keep the Palestinian contenders for post-Arafat leadership off balance. And we need to send someone significant to Arafat’s funeral.
Colin Powell would be good, and probably most appropriate, to send. Cheney would be better actually — a sign that even the most hardened anti-Arafat forces in the U.S. government were ready to deal.
— Steve Clemons