The Cost of Faltering Peace Process

  • 24 July 2008

Whenever the peace process faces a setback, one notices an increase in tension and violence. A study of the course of the peace process between Arab and Israel since the Madrid Conference of 1992 manifests this trend. The violence to have hit East of Jerusalem last Tuesday is also a reflection of the same reality, when a Palestinian man rammed vehicles with his bulldozer, injuring 16 persons, before being gunned down. This is the second incident of its kind this month. The only way to avoid such incidents lies in the immediate resumption of the peace operation and by putting pressure on Israel to accept a just and comprehensive settlement. 

The East Jerusalem incident was condemned by various international and regional sources, even the Palestinian National Authority. However, statements of condemnation would not prevent such attacks from taking place in the future. Therefore, it is important that international forces involved in the peace process work toward eliminating the obstacles that lie in this path.

The obstacles that hamper the peace process strengthen the elements of violence and extremism on both sides and weaken the moderate forces. Israel, through its intransigence, continuing settlement activities and campaign to 'Judaize' Palestinian lands, puts the moderate Arab elements in a quandary because their conciliatory approach seems both untenable and redundant. Therefore, the way forward for easing Arab-Israeli conflict lies in the strengthening of moderate elements on both sides.

Israel always talks about paying a “high price” for peace, but it does not take any tangible steps in the path to peace. If anything, it always comes up with new ways  to scuttle the peace process. The result is that everyone, Arabs and Israelis, are forced to pay the price for the stalled peace process with their security and prosperity.