FROM THE EDITOR

No-one's admitting it yet, but despite the hype and hysteria surrounding the Wye Agreement, nothing has actually changed in the reality of Israeli life.

Prime Minister Netanyahu remains in power and so far seems set to stay.

At least two Israelis have been killed by Arabs. In one case the PA arrested the murderers, but that's not new either; they won't be extradited.

The PA chairman still chants his pre-Wye mantra. One day after the agreement he reiterated his intention to proclaim Palestine next May.

His minions continue to lie and obfuscate. They returned to Israel and immediately launched a campaign to dispute the agreed concessions: There will be no changing of the PLO Charter, no reducing the number of PA police. The PA will do nothing, but Israel will have to hand over more of its land.

No international goodwill towards Israel was generated by Netanyahu's signing of the agreement. When, after returning home, he held off presenting it to his cabinet until the PA submitted its promised security proposals to the US, he was excoriated by the world press for trying to "back out".

Yes, Netanyahu has become the first Likud leader to sign away parts of Judea-Samaria, but in March 1997 he gave away three quarters of Hebron, the oldest Jewish city. And yes, Israel will pay in lives for this, as Israel has paid for every bit of land it has given away. But Israel has also, and will also, pay in blood to hold onto the land.

Nothing has really changed. Netanyahu, a pragmatic realist who has never claimed to believe in Divine intervention on Israel's behalf if he were simply to scrap the Oslo Accords, still knows that the PA remains committed to Israel's destruction. As he has done all along, he continues to steer his country through the minefield of Mideast geopolitical reality, negotiating in sincere good faith while certain that Israel's enemies are not.

Oh, one thing has changed: Netanyahu has a new right-hand man to help him lead Israel in the months ahead. Just before the conference opened, he appointed one of his country's exceptional leaders as Foreign Minister.

The October 23 agreement is already crumbling, but Ariel Sharon is firmly in place.


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