Tag Archives: peace negotiations

Secrets Of Israel’s Invasion Of Gaza Finally Revealed!

The Israel government insisted the only solution to dealing with rocket attacks from Gaza was to invade the area and employ a strong hand approach which would result in large numbers of deaths. It is now revealed that Hamas attempted to conduct secret talks with the Israel government in the weeks leading up to the invasion. Senior officials in Hamas were ready to enter into negotiation with Israel due to their increasing frustration with Egypt’s role as a mediator that apparently were going nowhere. Gershon Baskin, a veteran Israeli peace activist and a member of the family of Prime Minister Olmert were at the center of these efforts. A major issue in addition to rocket attacks was the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier and Baskin said he tried three times to get discussions about these issues but the Israel government would not cooperate. Baskin tried to open secret talks and link a prisoner exchange that would involve Shalit as well as establish a cease fire.

Bashkin’s efforts extended for months and at times his efforts were blocked by Hamas and at other times by the Olmert government. He had excellent connections with Hamas but they were never used by the Israel government. As the crisis deepened he involved a member of the Olmert family but was not able to get the government to hold off on the invasion and the result was death and destruction.

Any human life is precious and no one with any sense of decency would allow a person to die without being concerned. A single Israel soldier’s life is as important as a single life of a Muslim person. Cease fire should have been the major thrust of peace negotiations, not the life of a single person. That might come across as cruel and insensitive, but 1,300 humans died in the Gaza invasion including a dozen Israelis.

Israel-Syria Talks Progress

Alon Liel, who formerly worked in the Israel Foreign Ministry, told the London Daily Telegraph there had been considerable progress in his talks with second-tier Syrian representatives. Syria is ready to make a move to alter its current relations with Iran. “They are asking not only for the Golan Heights but for a change in Washington that will break the Syrian isolation internationally. But, I think they will not do it unless they are assured they have an alternative to Iran. According to Liel, the Syrians may well wait until there is a new president in Washington due to their distrust of George Bush who for years denounced their country as a source of terrorism.

Turkey has been playing a key role as the mediator in the discussions. It suggests the world has not paid sufficient attention to the importance of Turkey in establishing stability in the Middle East. The Syrian attitude most probably will become more supportive of change if someone like Barack Obama becomes president.

Some Progress In Syria-Israel Talks

In the latest rounds of unofficial discussions between Israel and Syria there are reports of some slight progress in resolving issues between the nations. A Syrain official who is close to the negotiations said that issues were being discussed along genral lines in preparation for future talks which hopefully would get down to specific issues that must be resolved. He said Israel has agreed in principle to the implementation of joint security efforts as atrust building step. Israel has not at this point insisted that Syria cut ties with Iran and Syria has made clear to the Iranian government it presently is dealing with issues of concern to its national interests.

Ibrahim Hamidi, one of Syria’s leading independent journalists, says his nation is anxious to return to the negotiating table and that sereious progress has been made in the talks so far. President Peres of Israel said if Presdient Bashar Asad is serious he will come to Jerusalem and address to the Knesset or invite an Israeli to speak with his legislature as Anwar Sadat did in the 1970s in order to achieve peace with Israel.

Israel, Syria, and Iran Struggle To Resolve Issues

The Israel government is currently engaged in discussions with Syria due to the mediation efforts of Turkey. An initial stumbling block in resolving the Golan Heights issue is the insistence on the part of Israel that Syria cut its ties with Iran and cease funding terrorist groups. There is a strong likelihood had such discussions taken place two or three years ago, the Syrian response would have been more positive, but pressure by the Bush administration and right wing Israeli groups made it impossible to conduct such negotiations. The situation has changed. Hizbullah has now become a dominant force in Lebanon which means Syria has a chance to reassert its power in that nation. “Timing” is a vital factor in achieving a nation’s foreign policy goals and there are signs the current time may not be that beneficial for Israel.

Iranian and Syrian Defense ministers met over the weekend in Tehran where they pledged cooperation. Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mahommad Najjar said “Damascus is a vitaland strategc ally of Iran” and emphasized there was need for a regional alliance to maintain security in the region. The meeting came a day after Syria rejected Israel’s preconditions that Syria must cut off relations with Iran. The Syrian government bluntly stated: “Damascus rejects all preconditions concerning its relations with other countries and peoples.”

Perhaps, it is time to consider the possibility of a regional meeting at which all concerned parties discuss possible compromise solutions to the issues they are confronting.

Iraq To US- Make Love Not War With Iran

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, urged the United States and Iran to cease trading accusations and sit down in a peaceful manner to resolve differences between the two nations. The Iraqis repeatedly have told both sides they do not wish to get caught in the middle of a fight. “We believe,” he said, “it is very important to bring both parties to the negotiating table” so they can iron out differences. Zebari expressed his anger over failure on the part of both nations to set a date to discuss problems in Iraq where the US claims Iran is assisting insurgents. Iran broke off talks claiming American troops were guilty of a “massacre” of the Iraqi people because of a recent offense into Sadr City.

The ironic aspect of the Zebari cry for peace is the supposed ineffectual Iraqi government is now giving Americans sound advice on how to conduct their foreign affairs. Perhaps, President Bush should go to Baghdad and learn first hand how to handle Iran other than shouting and screaming and making accusations against that nation.

Condi Rice Face Saving Efforts In Middle East!

The Bush adminsitration is in the process of completing eight years in office during which there have been repeated attempts to create the foundation of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. No sooner had Secetary of State Rice left Israel last week, then the Olmert government began preparatory construction work on thousands of settler units in the occupied West Bank. The new settlement expansion includes 600 units to be built on confiscated Arab land in East Jerusalem and 800 in an ultra-orthodox settlement in the West Bank. The settler expansion drive on the West Bank flies in the face of American efforts to stablish a viable Palestinian state. Olmert insists “this is going on within the framework of negotiations and theneotiations will continue to progress.”

Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian Authority negotiator, does not agree with the Israel leader that such construction is in accord with the framework for peace. “Yesterday, they said they would stop building and today they say they will be building thousands of settler units on occupied Palestinijan land. This can’t go on and on. This development is changing the situation on the ground for the worse. Israel is simply not sincere about peace.”

Secretary Rice makes general comments about the peace process which she believes is proceeding according to prior agreements. “We want to be much more systematic about what is promised and what is actually carried out.” Palestinian leaders believe there will be some sort of face saving statement about the peace process when President Bush arrives in Israel next month. After all, the president will be out of office in a few months and the next president will have to handle the mess he has left. In the meantime, expect a nice comforting statement from Rice how peace is proceeding according to the Bush plan.

Peace And Threats From Israel

For the first time in two months, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with President Mahmoud Abbas in order to review where exactly they were in the process of creating peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The two men apparently are still unclear as to which point they have reached on the road to peace. Even as they prepared to meet, Israel National Infrastructure Minister, Binyamin Ben-Elezer, defiantly told the world, “An Iranian attack will prompt a severe reaction from Israel which will destroy the Iranian nation.” He claims Tehran is “definitely aware of our strength. Even so, they are teasing us with their alliances with Syria and Hizbullah, and supplying them with many weapons and we have to deal with that.” He warned in a future war, missiles will strike major Israeli cities.

There is no question the Israel minister was warning Iran of a potential atomic bomb attack if they dared initiating war with Israel. Secretary of State Condi Rice has now made numerous trips to the Middle East and, as of this date, the two main individuals supposedly engaged in working out a peace agreement, don’t even know where they are in the process. President Bush has held conferences, talked with the parties involved, and still no progress. War is no solution, only a disaster. Is there something wrong with this process?

Trade-Abandon Right Of Refugee Return For 1967 Borders?

A Palestinian academic, Sari Nusselbeh, proposed that Arabs should consider the possibility of a compromise under which the new Palestinian nation would be given the existing borders of 1967, including east Jerusalem, in exchange for abandoning the right of refugees to return to Palestine. “Today, we have to choose between the two and that’s why we must decide which right we want to give priority to.” He argues the highest priority is gaining independence and creation of a Palestinian state. The president of Al-Quds university believes Abbas might be willing to consider such a compromise.

It is this type of thinking which can move both sides toward negotiation that produces a compromise which does not satisfy all goals of either group, but it leads to peace and further negotiations.

North And South Korea Seek Peace Treaty

Leaders of North and South Korea announced they will work to end the current armistice which separates the two nations and work towards writing a peace treaty to ensure peace, harmony, and cooperation between the two entities which have been separated for over fifty years. In the first step towards that goal, they agreed to initiate train service between the nations and have their military leaders get together to work out details of neutralizing border areas. North Korea stated that it would cease production of nuclear weapons.

Six years ago, George Bush assumed the presidency by attacking Bill Clinton’s efforts to conduct peace negotiations with North Korea. Bush claimed the United States could not negotiate with “evil” dictators. He began a verbal campaign of abusing North Korea which only increased tension. Today, the fallacy of Bush policies is now evident. One can negotiate with dictators and achieve the basis for peace and cooperation. Perhaps, now, Bush can push for talks with Hamas and other enemies of Israel and the United States.