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?
At the turn of the 20th century, Turkey was usually portrayed as the “sick man of Europe,” but today it is emerging as the new “middle man of the Middle East.” The Turkish government just concluded an important meeting by bringing together the presidents of Palestine and Israel for an extended get together in which President Gul tried to use his influence in resolving some problems. He also urged in his private sessions with Peres and Abbas that Syria should be invited to the upcoming Annapolis conference. Turkey is already attempting to build an industrial zone on the West Bank in order to stimulate economic activity and create jobs for Palestinians. The Muslim Justice and Development Party of Turkey is among the few Muslim political groups which has excellent relations with Israel and seeks to serve as a go between in fostering peace in the region.
The prospect for significant progress at the Annapolis meeting is doubtful. But, Turkey might well be encouraged by the United States to follow up on the meeting by serving as a middle man in negotiation with both sides. It could well be the site of an Israel-Syria meeting to discuss the Golan Heights. Perhaps, Turkish soldiers could serve as a guardian force to maintain peace in that area and end the current impasse between Israel and Syria. They could also guard the Israel-Lebanon boarder and halt Hizbullah initiated raids on Israel.
Posted in Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Muslims, Syria, Turkey, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged Abbas, Israel, Palestinians, Peres, President Gul, Turkey
The Turkish government is presently hosting a meeting with Israel President Peres and Palestinian President Abbas in hope of fostering peaceful relations. President Gul urged Israel to support the presence of Syria at the upcoming Annapolis conference but the Israeli leader was hesitant since he charged Syria is hostile to peace. Gul also emphasized the importance that “tangible and cocnrete results” will emerge from the conference. He also supported the desire of Abbas that all meaningful issues related to the Middle East should be open for discussion at the conference. Peres responded: “I believe we can make peace with Palestine, it takes time to make peace.”
Perhaps, the United States might learn the importance of allowing regional powers such as Turkey to assume leadership in moving the Middle East forward toward peace. Gul is right that all issues must be discussed, that Syria should be invited, and that the end result has to be more than talk. Peres is right that peace takes time, but it is also important for immediate steps in order to build some momentum to further the progress. After all these years of talk and promises, the region is anxiously seeking concrete results today, not in some unknown future.
Posted in Islam, Israel, Judaism, Muslims, Peace, Politics, Turkey, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged Abbas, Annapolis conference, Gul, Peres, Syria, Turkey