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May 11, 2007


Hard Rain

That school co-ed event in Gaza was organized by those friendly UN guys- the ones helping to keep Palestinians under a permanent status of refugeedom all the while enduring the often-violent negativity towards their presence in the PA territories.

Brett Chatz

Shimon Peres, the Israeli vice Prime Minister recently announced that Israel is prepared to work alongside the Arab league in securing an Israeli/Arab peace deal.

The details of such a meeting are scheduled to be made public when the Egyptian and Jordanian delegates meet in Israel in several weeks time.

While the issue of Land for Peace is an interesting one, it is an unrealistic one for several reasons. One of the many problems in the Middle-East, for Israel, lies in the extreme volatility of the governments of the day.

While moderate regimes may be ruling Egypt and Jordan today, the same cannot be said of what tomorrow may bring. This point has interesting repercussions.

Firstly, an extremist group that rises to power through popular support will not honour peace deals made with Israel. Indeed many states in the region refuse to recognise the right of Israel to exist.

Can such an entity be considered a partner in peace?

The issue of ceding land for peace, at the risk of fundamentalist regimes taking over, is not one that Israel will consider.

From the other side, the issue of the West Bank and Gaza are of extreme importance. Fatah and Hamas are locked in fierce conflicts in certain parts of Palestinian territory. Each side is jockeying for position in trying to control the fate of Palestine. It is now generally recognised that whoever rules the Palestinians must accept the right of the State of Israel to exist.

Hamas recently ended a truce with Israel, claiming that Israel was procrastinating on movement towards a Palestinian State.

It is this very volatility in the Middle-East that is at the heart of the conflict. There is no question whatsoever that the Palestinian question must be answered. The time for this impasse is over - results are required.

There exists a fundamental right of all nations to self determination and that right applies to Palestinians. However, peace without security is not a peace worth brokering.

In all honesty, Israel is surrounded by hostile nations many of which reject the right of Israel to exist. Several of them actively seek its destruction. Even Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country and friend to Israel is presently undergoing a major move in public sentiment towards Islamic rule. Thus the concept of the secular state is being tested like never before.

Iran is the black cloud on the horizon. This is not only for Israel, but indeed for the rest of the free world. Countries such as Syria, Lebanon and Iraq are as vehemently anti-Israel as Iran, only less capable in terms of the destruction they can wreak.

It is against this backdrop that Israel must negotiate. To what end should the lone Jewish state be prepared to compromise in an overwhelmingly hostile environment. When each and every action of Israel is scrutinised by the global press, it is an insuperable task to be praised for anything.

Yet despite these obvious difficulties peace must prevail. It is imperative that a solution is found. The West Bank and Gaza will be the homeland of the Palestinian people and autonomy must somehow be enacted.

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