Israel and Palestine - Roadmap

Discussion in 'Politics and Society' started by brian, Jun 27, 2003.

  1. brian

    brian Administrator Admin

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    Well, despite some tough going ons the Roadmap is actually still going on - the Israeli Army are withdrawing from parts of the West Bank, and Hamas have practically agreed to a ceasefire.

    What's sad for the Palestinians is that a couple of years ago they had the West Bank and Gaza under Palestinian only control - perhaps Ariel Sharon's hardline tactics have actually succeeded to some degree - it;s certainly astonishing that Hamas may allow some form of ceasefire, whether official or not.

    Perhaps it's simply that the USA is finally putting its full weight behind the issue - and that was always the feature most lacking in previous peace attempts.

    So far not entirely good, but substantial progress is still being made.

    Hamas leader signals truce
     
  2. brian

    brian Administrator Admin

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    Well, well - incredibly good news - the major Palestinian terror groups are calling a temporary cessation of attacks. That is an absolutekly unprecedented move, and demonstrates something of the level of commitment being put into this by all sides. No doubt it's difficult for everybody concerned, with so much opportunity for factionalmism - which is all the more testament to those concerned.

    And - Israeli is withdrawing from agreed areas of the West Bank and Gaza strip.

    More here:

    Breakthrough on Mid-East roadmap
     
  3. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Not much happening at the moment - a slow and rough - but otherwise generally successful implementation has begun. Of course, the prisoners issue is still thorny:

    Hamas warns on Mid-East truce



    It will therefore be interesting to see how the coming talks between George W. Bush and Abu-Mazen in the USA develop - especially as Ariel Sharon will be following shortly after. Expect the issue of prisoner releases to be addressed - either by overt decalration, else by direction action by the opening of cell doors from Israeli jails.

    Anyway, the USA has opened up monies towards the Palestinians - no doubt a start for future investments. It will be interesting to see how this reflect on Abu Mazen's popularity as well. After all, Yasser Arafat was getting building funds from the European Union.

    Palestinians get US aid
     
  4. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Something I've just noticed in another news article -

    The BBC report on the Congressional Foreign Aid bill makes for interesting reading - namely because it specifically references the coming budget for Israel, which is set at $2.7 billion. I'm under the impression that this is distinctly less than the more recent anmounts, which I believe have been reported as nearer $5 billion as a usual annual figure.

    It's also interesting to note the extensive aid budget to Egypt, with $1.9 billion set for them. That's quite substantial.

    Anyway, here's the article:

    Dollars out for Mid-East TV
     
  5. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Just to keep all informed -

    Although the recent troubles with Tony Blair and claims he "sexed-up" the dossier on Iraq are dominating the British news, you may be forgiven to not have noticed that the Palestinian Prime Minister, Abu Mazen, actually went to Washington for high profile talks with President Bush.

    There are still some issue to adderss - but already they are getting results from the serious attention.

    Here are some links from the BBC covering the issue:

    Just before he left, there were warning of a crisis in Palestine, notable over the issue of Prisoner releases souring Palestinian attitudes to the Road Map:

    Palestinians warn of crisis

    However, Abu Mazen took off to Washington, where he was given full honours and the red carpet treatment. The significance of this cannot be overstated.

    Abbas wins White House red carpet



    After talks Bush publicly criticised the fence that Israel is building between the two peoples - quite astonishing, really, for a US president - let alone a Republican - to be openly critical about Israeli policy:

    Bush criticises Israel fence



    It's also no surprise that during this time the Israeli cabinet suddenly found themselves voting for the release of hundreds more Palestinian prisoners. As this was a primary concern that Abu Mazen took with him, it's good to see that Bush has ensured it's proper consideration by the Israeli authorities:

    Israel to free 500 Palestinians



    Now, it'll be very interesting to see what happens when Ariel Sharon visits the Whitehouse later. No doubt he's going to want to take home pledges of continued US support - not least in monetary terms. We'll see, though.
     
  6. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Sharon is in Washington and the issues of prisoners and the fence have both arisen, with Sharon seemingly defiant.

    It's certainly interesting to note the comment by Radie Jarai in the following article, about hundreds of detentions already having being carried out within ther past two weeks - which makes the recent move to release 500 prisoners perhaps not so signficant as is claimed. Assuming the allegation of the mass detentions being true and verifiable (noting that there is intense propaganda on both sides of this argument that even this site once fell victim to).

    Anyway, Sharon in Washington:

    Sharon defiant on security barrier

    There's also an interesting general commentary by the BBC reporter Paul Reynolds, on the situation so far:

    Pressure on Sharon for a change
     
  7. petertdavis

    petertdavis New Member

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    This peace effort is going to turn out to be as illusionary as any of the others. You see, the root problem is religion, not economics or politics. There is a significant element in Palestine (and the rest of the Muslim world) that will not rest until Israel is destroyed. How do you make peace with people who have no other goal than your total destruction?
     
  8. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    You can reverse the words Palestine and Israel and say the same thing. Looking at the statistics, Palestine is getting the short end of it about 5:1 on deaths, and about the same in injuries. Property damage is much heavier on the Palestinians - the Israeli army has flattened a LOT. Of course, that is probably due to some degree to the fact that Palestine doesn't have an army & tanks - tends to make things easier if you've got the weaponry.

    I am hoping that the cease-fire holds and some progress is made. Both deserve to have functional states and be free from terror.

    Unfortunately, on both sides there's a contingent whose political benefit is wrapped up in keeping the conflict going - somewhat like the Northern Ireland situation. Perhaps this will resolve more quickly, but I'm not holding my breath.
     
  9. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Certainly it's not likely to be resolved any time soon, but any form of functional peace process is long overdue.

    I don't think the purpose of the Roadmap is to actually erase or negate the hostility between the two - as much as simply create a forward moving political platform for airing - and, to some degree, addressing - certain grievances.

    I doubt there's any real expectation that decades of animosity will be removed quickly or easily. But despite the difficulties still being adderssed in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, it does demonstrate that political dialogue first can have some measure of success in even beginning to confront serious issues - at least a more constructive way. We certainly see that here in the UK.

    Of course, whether a Peace Process in the Middle East actually holds or not is more dependent upon the United States, more than anything. They really are the key to addressing the whole problem. Without direct US action on the issue of peace, there is no peace process. Oslo taught us that.

    The US has a position of particular privilege over Israel, in terms of funding its military to the tune of billions of dollars per annum. And the USA is also smoothing Palestinian concerns with the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars, so long as Abu Mazen is seen to be acting in a constructive manner.

    Whatever the resentments on the ground, money really does talk. Without American money, there is no Israeli military to protect Israel - and without the great reserves of American money, there is no one to rebuild the internal structure of Palestine, from decades of war, destruction, and neglect.
     
  10. petertdavis

    petertdavis New Member

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    I'm curious to know what is your opinion of the wall?
     
  11. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    In honesty - a temporary measure, that will be removed long before it can attain any form of notoriety, as like the one once dividing Berlin.

    Walls always have to come down eventually. Likely we'll see it gone at some point in the current peace drive - so long as the USA remains steadfastly behind it. If not, it'll simply take longer to come down.
     
  12. petertdavis

    petertdavis New Member

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    How do you find it comparable to the Berlin Wall? Seems to me the reasons for that wall was very different than the one the Israelis are building. Speaking of walls coming down, what's your prediction for the bringing down of the Great Wall of China? ;)
     
  13. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    The Great Wall of...what?? China? And where would that be? :)
     
  14. petertdavis

    petertdavis New Member

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    That would be where a wall actually outlived it's political and military usefulness. ;)
     
  15. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Absolutely - but it's a darn big wall, solidly built, and of incredible length - not to mention an extensively rural presence, so not too much in anyone's way.

    I'm sure nature will do its job in time, though. :)
     
  16. petertdavis

    petertdavis New Member

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    Getting back on the topic a bit.. . ;) I think the wall will be somewhat successful in the short term (from the Israeli perspective), but in the long-run it's not going to stop the people who want to destroy Israel from eventually having their way.
     
  17. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    ummm

    i don't think this is at all helpful. yes, there are some right maniacs in the israeli political establishment (leiberman springs to mind) and a worrying number of people who now think that only "transfer" (in other words, forcing the palestinians to flee to other arab countries) will ever solve the problem. this is, of course, unacceptable. and there are, unfortunately, a lot of people that maintain that any form of palestinian self-determination in a state called "palestine" is unacceptable to them - and they're going to be disappointed, because history has already passed them by.

    what there is *not*, however, is even a sizeable minority in israel that thinks that the sort of tactics that hamas and islamic jihad engage in are acceptable, let alone, G!D forbid, praiseworthy. i don't think playing with numbers helps, unless the numbers are to your advantage. personally, i believe every human life is sacred and i cannot condone a point of view which reduces this to statistical games.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  18. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    Hardly statistical games. Pointing out that the Israelis have done more killing and more damage than the Palestinians, yet the post to which it was a response portrayed only one side of the equation. Both sides are embroiled in an automatic response situation and behaving poorly. The question you raise is perhaps better phrased:

    1) What % of the Israeli people (arabs, jews & others) approve of the tactics of the army in the West Bank and Gaza?

    2) What % of the Palestinians support Hammas and Islamic Jihad's tactics in both the West Bank/Gaza and in Israel?

    3) Reverse the players & see what happens.

    Both sides are bloody. One side is not only better funded, but better armed, and is killing more - not only "combatants" (hard to tell with no organized government what a combatant is), but non-combatants.

    Neither is in the right.

    B'shalom to you as well
     
  19. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    What is more tragic is the simple lack of will to enforce peace, on both sides of the divide.

    The fact that Ariel Sharon's government thought a terrorist ceasefire worthless was an incredible position to make. It makes Sharon live up to his warmonger image. Targeting Hamas after the ceasfire was an incredible provocation, and one that plainly invited the Jerusalem bus bombing. It seems that Ariel Sharon is simply content to throw bricks into wasps nest every time Israel is stung - further precipitating more stings.

    Yasser Arafat has also lived up to his image of thriving on conflict - it is what maintains his political position. That's an old accusation, and a precise reason why the Bush government would not work with him - yet here Arafat is, straining the peace process, allowing Abu Mazen to go, all on the grounds that Arafat much prefers to hold onto power. And he can only do that while Israel throws bricks into wasp nests...

    The behaviour of the two leaderships is quite astonishing. I find it incredible that anyone allows themselves to be so easily wrapped up in their own game of demagoguery. Then again, I suppose neither side has created much of anything else to look forward to.

    What astonishes me is how far it has all fallen since Yitzhak Rabin - after being so close it took just one Jewish extremist to destroy the best peace prospect in the Middle East.
     
  20. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    Part of the problem is that Sharon came to power and maintains power by maintaining the violence. His actions precipitated the breakdown, which caused the moderates to lose power & him to get elected. The war is good for him personally.

    Arafat, similarly - his power depends on a level of conflict being there so he can say "I told you so".

    The personal aspirations of both are supported by continuing the cycle. Neither has a personal incentive to stop it.

    You'd think that the people would realize this, and throw both out of office, but both populations are scared, and believe the promises of their leaders that they can make them safe by eliminating the other side - at least enough to keep re-electing them.
     

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