President Shimon Peres offered a back handed compliment to Hamas by arguing its terrorism and radical message is forcing both Palestinian and Israel leaders to get serious concerning the need for peace because failure to do so will only increase Hamas power and influence in the region. He doesn’t believe moderate Palestinians wish to live under the rule of religious fanatics and are anxious to find some way of achieving a compromise peace with Israel. Peres emphasized, “we will not cease to negotiate with the Palestinians and help them with all our might in order to establish an independent Palestinian state with a real economy. The better the life is for the Palestinians, the better it will be for us and we want to see the Palestinians as a neighbor and not as an enemy.”
Any logical person would have to agree with Peres, but, unfortunately there are too many hot headed fundamentalists among both Israelis and Palestinians who prefer war to compromise. The Saudi Arabia proposal for a return to 1967 borders is the basis for a compromise solution. Can Peres sell it to the West Bank settlers?
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, rumored to be the next prime minister, told reporters her nation needs a unity government to avoid problems that eventually could result in a 3rd Intifada. If she does become the new prime minister creating a government including all parties would be among her goals. “I believe that what we called in the past left and right is something that belongs in the past.” However, she was equally insistent international pressure could be dangerous and result in the emergence of a 3rd Intifada. Lvni believes Palestinian Authority leaders and those from Israel must resolve differences and create a two nation reality in the region.
She compared the current situation to 2000 when President Clinton tried to broker a peace agreement before he left office. Now President Bush is attempting to do the same thing and Livni fears placing tight deadlines to achieve peace will invariably result in more problems.
Unfortunately, Foreign Minister Livni, has yet to address key issue such as West Bank settlements and the desire of Palestinians for east Jerusalem as their capital. At some point, Israel leaders must confront the realities of peace.
Posted in Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Muslims, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Israel, Livni, Palestine, US pressure
President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority rejected the latest Israel proposal on grounds it still maintains Israel control of the West Bank and prevents Arabs from having east Jerusalem as its capital. “The Palestinian side will only accept a Palestinian state with territorial continuity. with holy Jerusalem as its capital, without settlements, and on thee June 4, 1967 boundaries.” An essential aspect of the Israel proposal is that the Palestinian Authority should be in control of all areas including Gaza.
The United States has been urging a resolution of the Palestinian-Israel dispute for over two years with no apparent progress. Perhaps, President Bush and Secretary of State Rice might pose the question as to whether their presence as “mediators” is an effective strategy. It might be more appropriate if Turkey served in the role of mediator.
The Sixth International Al-Awda conference was held in California as Palestians spoke of their intention of returning to Palestine. ‘Palestine is and will be Arab until the Day of Judgement. Occupations come and go but Palestine perevered and maintained the Arab-ness. Plstinian cities will remain forever Arab.”Speakers denounced Israel and said there was but one goal and that was a return to Palestine. Bishop Atallah Hanna compared his God, who is one of peace, in contrast to the justifications that Zionists use which are “stantic and have nothing to do with God.”
The overwhelming majority of speakers insisted all Arab refugees had to be allowed back into Palestine and there could only be one state in which the majority–Arabs– would decide who is in charge. The non-ceasing rhetoric led Salman Abu Sitta to term Gaza the “new Auschwitz” while Abu Khalil, professor of political science at California State University, noted that “after 60 years, we should be aware how Zionism has its tentacles through Arab media and government.”
The one tragedy not discussed at the convention was the inability of Palestinian leaders to approach the current situation with a focus on solutions rather than on pandering to one another with the rhetoric of failure. The Palestinian people need an independent nation, they need leaders who will create a vibrant political democracy as well as draw upon the talents of so many bright humans. Instead there is nothing but hatred, and a complete lack of any sense of reality.
I have always advocated there must be compromise on the part of all sides, and compromises deal with the present reality, not what happened in the past. Step one is the evacuation of all West Bank settlements with existing housing being used for Palestinians who fled. Step two is renouncing violence as a means of attaining goals. Step three is creation of a new “Marshall Plan” for the Middle East which would bring all nations together in a peaceful approach that would transform the Middle East into a new economic giant. Step four is creating academic organizations which can help all sides end the hatred that is taught children and replace it with common sense, historical accuracy, and a desire for peace.
Not all Palestinians will be able to return. Neither will Jews who had to flee Arab nations due to persecution in the 1940s and 1950s. I suspect not a word was mentioned at the conference about North Africans Jews who fled or those who left Iraq and Yemen.