The roadmap to peace between Israelis and Palestinians faces countless bloody detours. Few Israelis expect Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas to deliver security to Israel, or to implement far reaching political and financial reforms. Few Palestinians expect Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to deliver what they want: a freeze on the construction and expansion of settlements, and the eventual creation of a truly sovereign Palestinian state on contiguous territory.
In a survey of Israeli and Palestinian opinion of the roadmap, Yaakov Shamir of Hebrew University and I found that only 15% of Palestinians agreed that Sharon would stand by Israel's commitments, while only 30% of Israelis believed that Abu Mazen would hold up the Palestinian end of the agreement.
Security remains the critical component in the first phase of the roadmap for both parties. The roadmap calls upon the Palestinians to take steps that would bring violence to an end. One early Palestinian achievement has been a ceasefire agreement among all factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad (although both groups claim the right to retaliate for Israel's ``targeted killings'' of their leaders).
But the roadmap stipulates that additional measures are to be taken by Palestinian authorities, including arresting individuals planning or carrying out violent attacks and the ``dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure,'' including confiscating illegal weapons from armed groups. The Palestinian security services are discovering that they lack the capacity to do so without risking civil war.