All hopes are not lost: on May 18th, 2006, an Oregon based peace organisation Everest Peace Project made history by having the first Palestinian/Israeli summit push. Israeli climber Dudu Yifrah made a bold and heroic statement of peace and friendship when he unfolded a joint (sewn together) Israeli/Palestinian flag on the summit of Everest. The Everest Climb for Peace team summited 10 climbers on that historic day.
Author: Dr. Abdul Ruff
Edited by Divas
Israel has signaled positively on the possibility of settling world’s longest regional crisis in the Mideast, first ever such move since Gaza Strip was granted freedom during the Ariel Sharon era.
Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted that Palestine state would come into existence sooner than later.
UN vote for Palestine State and the relentless efforts by the Obama government & European Union seems to have indeed worked for the better of Israel-Palestine relations, the Mideast and the world as a whole.
Israeli PM Netanyahu is turning positive to the peace momentum mediated by Washington, now insisting that Jewish settlers in the West Bank have a right to remain under Palestinian rule in any peace deal.
That is indeed encouraging for those seeking peace in the Mideast and humanity at large.
Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek to establish a state in those areas and fear that Israeli settlements will deny them a viable country.
In 2005, Israel under PM Ariel Sharon, ignoring the firm opposition by many Israeli leaders, pulled its troops and settlers out the Gaza Strip, only to strangely fall sick and losing consciousness, and he was in a coma for many years before he was declared dead last month.
Gaza is now ruled by Hamas Party which is opposed to the U.S. brokered peace efforts as they do not trust Israeli intentions.
The apparent trial balloon of peace momentum also drew angry words from Naftali Bennett, an extremist occupation party and a key pro-settlement partner in Israel’s governing coalition.
“The idea of Jewish settlements under Palestinian sovereignty is very dangerous and reflects an irrationality of values,” Bennett said.
An Israeli report quoted an official from Netanyahu’s office as saying he did not intend to uproot Jewish settlements anywhere in the West Bank, land that Palestinians seek for a state under U.S.-brokered peace talks.
Netanyahu would “insist that settlers be given the free choice of remaining in place and living under Palestinian rule, or relocating to areas under Israeli sovereign rule,” the official was quoted as saying.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Netanyahu had said that he did not intend to uproot a single settler in a future Palestinian statehood agreement.
The Times of Israel quoted an unidentified official as saying Netanyahu’s idea of allowing settlers the option of staying in their homes under Palestinian rule fell under that pledge.
Some Israeli political commentators suggested the leak was aimed at heading off settlers’ opposition to a framework deal, or as guidelines for a final peace agreement that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been trying to formulate.
Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party and an advocate of Israeli annexation of the West Bank, demanded Netanyahu to immediately refute the “dangerous” peace proposal.
There was no immediate Palestinian reaction to the report. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has already balked at an Israeli demand to keep an Israeli troop presence in the Jordan Valley, an area likely to be the eastern border of a Palestinian state.
One thing is clear: Jews generally do not hate Palestine people as their policy, but only some hawkish and high-handed Israeli leaders and military-Mossad want the Jews to hate Palestinians.
This fact can easily be ascertained by the way Ariel Sharon handled the issue, giving the Palestinians freedom in Gaza Strip. Jews did not protest but they appreciated Sharon’s intelligent politics.
But the trouble started in the Likud party, which he had founded, as some leaders opposed Ariel Sharon’s positive approach towards the besieged Palestinians.
Upset, Sharon quit his own Likud party to float a new party, Kadima to pursue positive diplomacy for permanent peace in the region. Kadmia party won the parliamentary poll and he resumed power once again.
It is enough here to say that people of Israel, the Jews did support the Sharon policy for Palestine and overwhelmingly voted for his new party.
But very soon he was admitted to military hospital, where, after years of intense treatment for coma, he was declared dead.
Hopefully, Palestine-Israel peace talk which looks now somewhat serious in character would continue and result in permanent peace in Mideast where Israel and Palestine coexist not just as neighbors but also as close allies.
It is quite likely that Israel, as its former occupier, would help Palestine develop its economy and infrastructure.
After all, a strong Palestine would also strengthen Israel, and its security.
Of course, this is just a speculation but, all the same, a necessary one.
Peace has been evading the Mideast for a long time.