Tag Archives: Mediation

Israel Rejects Turkish Mediation Assistance

The conservative government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues its program of rejecting assistance from other nations in order to attain peace in the Middle East. A few days ago a senior Israel government official said there would be no further effort on the part of Israel to seek the assistance of Turkey in order to achieve an accord with Syria. According to Israel Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, “we have enormous respect and great appreciation for the Turkish efforts. But, they have not succeeded–not because of the Turks. It’s because of Syrian intransigence.”

In reality the reason Turkey has functioned in a mediating role is because Syria and Israel cannot even be in a room together without becoming angry. Netanyahu simply does not want any peace with Syria unless it is on his own terms. He seeks to create conflict, blame the Syrians, and thus avoid making any changes in Israel policy. The reality is Turkey is the only country which has relations with both Israel and Syria so it is the natural nation to serve as a mediator.

Saudi Arabia Mediates Afghanistan-Taliban Conflict

Saudi Arabia has done more to spread Islamic militancy than any other force in Asia, but apparently its rulers have finally recognized that establishing religious schools in which children are taught to hate the West and other religions in the end creates chaos. Saudi Arabian leaders have finally grasped they must do something to halt the slide into disaster which has resulted in the Taliban making it impossible for the Afghanistan government to function. Afghanistan and Taliban leaders met last m onth during Ramadan in Mecca and entered into discussions with the assistance of Saudi mediators.

A diplomat who was privy to the discussions said, “they(Saudi) want to help because Pakistan is frightening. They fear what could happen in Pakistan. This(mediation) is to stabilize Pakistan.” The goal is to entice the Taliban away from hardliner elements wedded to the alliance with al-Qaeda whose ideology backs suicide bombings in a war against the West. Saudi Arabia helped create the monster that was al-Qaeda and now it must destroy its own creation.

Turkey Ideal Mediator Say Israel Academics

This blog has been arguing for several months of the necessity of engaging Turkey in the Palestinian-Israel conflict and the Syrian dispute with Israel. Unlike Bush and Condi Rice, Turkish diplomats do not bring to the bargaining table the baggage of one sided support for Israel. Involvement of Turkey removes from Hamas or Syrian leaders the ability to argue that mediation is being conducted by a western power with strong ties to Israel. According to a report in al-Hayat, “Ankara would like like both(Syria and Israel) sides to commit to a signed declaration as a starting point for talks.” Both have to be willing to accept the concept of compromise which means something must be given up in order to attain peace.

Moshe Ma’oz, professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at Hebrew University, points out that not only does turkey have good relations with both sides, but it also has hundreds of years of historical connection to the region. “Unlike the United States, Turkey has a connection to the region because of its historical ties. Turkey can play a constructive role.”

On the other hand, Zvi Bar’l writing in Haaretz, believes Prime Minister Olmert is hampered in negotiating because of impending charges against him for corruption and he fears taking a bold step while in this weakened postion. Middle Eastern expert Ehud Ya’an, says Turkey’s weak point is not being able to offer military security to ensure an agreement is fulfilled by both sides. However, he does believe Turkey can play a key role if both sides seek genuine mediation.

Tony Blair Plan Infuriates Palestinians

Tony Blair presented a plan for resolving conflicts between Palestinians and Israelis that left Palestinians wondering if the former British prime minister was truly an objective third party. His proposal calls for increasing the effectiveness of the Palestinian government in combating Hamas and other Islamic militants. He argued without successful operations against Palestinian resistance movements in the West Bank, there is no hope of reaching a settlement in the conflict. Blair wants a strengthened judiciary which will try members of the resistance and ensure they are not released from jail until completion of their sentences. He wants more European police assistance to train Palestinian police in becoming effective. His plan would lclreate a thee person committee to oversee implementation of the recommendations including Israel’s Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak.

A main issue between israel and Palestinians is the return of refugees. Blair proposes building a new city on the West Bank which would include housing to repatriate those who had fled. Palestinians are upset at what is never discussed in the plan as much as what it contains. No mention is made of dealing with oppressive measures used by the Israel government towards Arab residents of the West Bank. For example, since the beginning of the year, 350 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli bullets while terrorist organizations have killed five Israelis.

According to human rights organizations, West Bank settlers have committed thousands of assaults on Palestinians just in this year. Settlers have obtained laws allowing them to dig deeper wells than Palestinians s well as obstruct free movement of people. The report speaks of “reform” of the Palestinian judiciary, but ignores changes in the Israel system of justice for Palestinians. The Blair Report indicates it was a mistake to allow Tony Blair, a close ally of George Bush, to serve in a mediating role between Israelis and Palestinians. There was desperate need of an individual who could be viewed by both parties for his/her impartiality.