Words are cheap — Abbas must deliver

It appears that Israel will allow the peace process to continue despite Tuesday's horrendous bombing that killed at least 20 bus riders in Jerusalem.

If anyone doubts that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wants to make peace, his response should erase those feelings.

Many of his constituents are advocating an end to the "road map" plan, and a permanent separation from the Palestinian populace. Some Jewish groups in America are echoing that same hard-line position.

As a result, Sharon cannot continue business as usual with his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas.

In just the last few days, Israel had been relaxing its demand that Abbas arrest and eliminate militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. But now Abbas' reluctance to rein in on these groups is unacceptable.

If Abbas doesn't act immediately, Israelis will call for an end to the road map. And Sharon will have little latitude except to agree.

Abbas appears to understand that. Hours after the bombing, he announced he is ending talks with Hamas and Jihad, and will begin using security forces to crack down on them.

Abbas was right in calling Tuesday's bombing a "horrible act which does not serve the interest of the Palestinian people at all."

Israel was just getting ready to depart from four cities in the territories and hand them over to Palestinians. But that won't happen right now, and the residents of those cities will not get the freedom they were anticipating.

The fate of all Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza now rests with Abbas. If he can't control terrorism, everyone loses, especially Abbas.

But we wonder if Abbas is strong enough to do that. Just this week, he told Sen. John McCain that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat continues to interfere.

That means Abbas must not only nullify terrorist groups but also Arafat.

Only then can movement on the road map resume in earnest.