Third Intifada In Sight?

During the past few years there have been repeated efforts to mediate the dispute between Israel and Palestinians. Norwegians, Germans, British, Turks, South Africans and a host of Arab nations seek an end to the conflict. Ghazi Hamad, former spokesperson for dismissed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, claims “the Hamas movment conveyed its vision of a comprehensive agreement to several foreign diplomats so they could convey this vision to Israel. Yet all indication show that Israel has not exhibited any enthusiasm for trting this vision in a positive manner.” Among the points submitted to Omar Suleiman, chief of Egyptian General Intelligence is the following:

A mutual cease fire in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on which basis Israel must halt assassinations, invasions, and arrests, and resistance movements must halt firing rockets on Israeli settlements near the Gaza Strip.

A lifting of the siege imposed on the Gaza Stip since mid-June of last year, including reopening of border and commercial crossings.

Completion of the prisoner swap deal by which Israel soldier Gilad Shalit would be released in exchange for therelease of Palestinian prisoneers named by Hamas.

Hamas has met with all resistance groups in Gaza and obtained their agreement to these conditions. Israel’s usual responmse to such proposals is to insist they are attempts to buy time to obtain more weapons. Hamas proposals indicate the gulf between parties can be bridged by people of good will. Why not invite Kofi Ananan, who recently brokered a peace agreement in Kenya, to serve as a mediator in this dispute? He could be assisted by Nelson Mandela to add even further weight to the necessity of resolving the dispute before it escalated into an Israel invasion of Gaza and the end of peace talks.s