Friday, December 4, 2009

Israeli-Palestinian Peace To Remain Elusive

Israel and Palestine have been at war with each other for a few decades now. But the world community still cannot see dawn of peace there. All along, successive US presidents did try to reconcile the conflict between the two of them so that each can have their own independent state and live in peace without disturbing each other.

Unresolved Issues
For years, the United States has worked on this Middle East peace plan that involves mainly the unresolved conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians. But until now, when it is President Obama's turn to handle this Middle East issue, the Obama administration still needs to work hard on it. The present US position is that Washington does not expect that lasting peace can happen between Israel and Palestine right away. But Washington does hope that the two confronting sides can at least return to the negotiation table. It is obvious that the Obama administration is serious in wanting to bring lasting peace to the Middle East. With such a mission in mind, President Obama sent US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Middle East for such a special trip on 31 October to meet with leaders from both sides with the hope that they will resume the long-suspended peace talks.

Hillary Clinton's Remarks
But Hillary Clinton's effort has failed. Shorting after Hillary Clinton's arrival in Israel, Hillary has made some remarks that did not reflect the real conflicting situation between Israel and Palestine. She said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had offered "unprecedented" concessions on West Bank settlement construction in an effort to restart peace talks. But Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is known to apply tough stance to handle the Palestinians. He also encouraged the Jews to build construction in the Palestinian territory.
If Natanyahu can really offer some "concessions" to the Palestinians on the West Bank settlement construction, it will be a real surprise to hear. In response, the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat rebuked Hillary Clinton's remarks. He said that "Palestinians expressed deep disappointment and frustration at Clinton's words, which signaled a departure from past US calls for a complete freeze on settlement activity."

Peace Road Map
In 2003, all relevant authorities have already proposed a "Middle East Peace Road Map" that stipulated that Israel should completely freeze building construction on the Palestinian settlements. But the Israeli authority has never accepted such a Middle East Peace Road Map and has continued to ignore world pressure in allowing the Jews to build new homes on the Palestinian settlements. Available figures show that since 2003, new Jewish settlements built on West Bank have increased to 73.000.
The Jews in the United States have a strong influence in US government. This has resulted in the US government and US leaders have all along adopted a Middle East policy either intentionally or unintentionally deemed favoring Israel. This is an indisputable fact. Even President Obama has also followed such a policy path now.

Palestinian Hard-line Attitude
We recall that at the beginning of this year, President Obama has called on Israel to freeze construction of Jewish settlements on West Bank. But later on, President Obama has also softened his tune by explaining vaguely that: "The Israeli side has held a useful meeting to talk about constraints on settlement construction."
Palestine and Israel have history of deep hatred. We understand the hard-line attitude of Palestinians toward the Israelis. It seems to us that the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must really work double hard and take good courage to make a truly "unprecedented" concession so that we can see some hope that peace talks can resume between Israel and Palestine. Failing that Israeli-Palestinian peace will remain elusive.

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