Several decades ago, the word "Palestinian" became associated in the minds of many around the world with hijacking, hostage-taking and other terrorist acts. Then the PLO had its face-lift. Yasser Arafat was miraculously rehabilitated, and transformed from leader of a gang of violent thugs to an honoured guest at the White House.

But today, despite short memories and pro-Arab inclinations, the truth is there for all to see: Arafat and his associates remain hijackers. This time, the entire nation of Israel is being held hostage.

Every time Israel moves, the Palestinian leadership including such alleged "moderates" as Hanan Ashwari and Faisal Husseini turn on the pressure, reminding the Jewish people that they are not free agents, that they remain hostages.

The row over Har Homa is merely the latest manifestation of this strategy.

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