Another Opportunity for Peace in the Middle East

  • 1 September 2010

The United States-sponsored direct negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis taking place in Washington are an attempt to reach a settlement to the long-standing conflict between the two sides. The negotiations are an important opportunity for the Middle East and the rest of the world to achieve fair, comprehensive and stable peace. These talks promise to open the way to tackling the root causes of tension and instability in one of the most important regions of the world at economic, spiritual and strategic levels. It is hence important for all sides to grab this opportunity and work for its success especially because peace negotiations, since the Madrid Conference, have yielded no results and the region has paid a heavy price for these missed opportunities. Any abrupt end to the peace process is likely to lead to a rise in violence, tension and terrorism.

Since extremists survive on conflicts and does not always remain behind closed doors their intervention is bound to create obstacles for this round of talks and even trigger a failure. This would lead to a cycle of confrontation not only between Palestinians and Israelis but in the entire region. Hence any stumbling block in the way of talks will enhance the influence of such elements, justify their positions and defeat those in favor of peace and moderation. Under these circumstances, it is the responsibility of the international community to push Israel to give up its stringent positions and not to take any step that leads to the failure of talks. This is even more relevant with regard to settlement operations which are creating a deep friction between the parties involved in the negotiations process.

Arabs have supported the Palestinian engagement in direct negotiations thereby making it clear that peace is their strategic objective and that they are in support of any step that may end the conflict in the region. The Arab initiative, announced during the Arab Summit-2002 in Beirut, expressed this clearly. Yet Israel, through its aggressive positions and attempts to circumvent references to the peace process created a major obstacle on the path of negotiations. Therefore, it is time that Israel takes steps towards peace if it really wishes to coexist with its neighbors and end the era of hostility and bloodshed. What is needed from them is a commitment to the original references to the peace process – on top of which is land for peace – and the implementation of all that has been agreed upon. Israel should give up illusions of liquidating the Palestinian cause by imposing its policy of fait accompli and wasting time. Time has proved that the Palestinian cause cannot be liquidated and dismantled by time and the country must comply with the requirements of peace.