A half-attentive world is deluded into thinking peace is finally on the way following the death of Arafat and the election of the “constructive” Abu Mazen. Keep the champagne in the picnic basket. Nothing has changed. Abu Mazen is a weak leader who runs the same Palestinian Authority with post-Arafat diplomacy resting on the old Arafat bureaucracy. The officers of the dozen or so Palestinian security agencies are virtually local warlords who continue to collect bribes and protection money from the people they’re supposed to be protecting. Their commanders follow Abu Mazen’s orders only when they feel like it. No less a dove than Shlomo Ben-Ami, Ehud Barak’s foreign minister, has written that Abu Mazen “is moderate in his strategy, not his goals, which are no different from Arafat’s goals.” Abu Mazen’s commitment to disarm Hamas and Islamic Jihad has become a bad joke. The danger is not only that Abbas may be Arafat in a suit; it is that he may be Arafat in an empty suit.