The situation in Gaza highlights issues in attaining peace in the Middle East. The opposing forces are locked in a Catch-22 arrangement in which each side insists the other agree to its conditions before accepting anything on faith from the other. Israel and Hamas agreed on a cease fire with the assumption border crossings would be re-open and all rocket attacks cease on Israel. Several days after the cease fire was implemented, rockets were fired by the Islamist Jihad which, ostensibly broke the truce. Israel closed entry points in retaliation. Hamas announced, it “is not going to be a police securing the border of the occupation.” There is a madness in reading such statements. What do the words “cease fire” mean to Hamas? Of course, the Islamist Jihad and Hamas claim Israel broke the truce by killing militants in a different areas of Israel.
Saudi Arabian leaders once again indicated their nation was ready to negotiate a peace with Israel but there must be a halt to construction of housing on the West Bank and the entire issue of who owns the West Bank must be resolved. The West Bank originally was to be part of a state of Palestine but Israel insisted it needed housing to protect itself against an attack. Housing construction began as a defensive move but now the means have become the end.
How do the parties extricate themselves from their fixed positions in which everyone believes its security depends on maintaining an immovable commitment to what is rather than investigating the possibility of what might be? The ironic aspect of this conflict is combining the creative talents of Palestinians and Jews would create a vibrant economy that would make the area among the most prosperous in the world.
The only possible solution begins with the cliche of– trust. Each side has to be willing to afford the other trust and be willing to risk. So far, both prefer the mess they have rather than risk achieving success.