Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Unite for Middle East Peace

Within this terrible situation with Israel, Hamas, and the Gaza Strip, it seems that much of the story has not been told. Is the fighting regarding land (territory) or over the rights of the people?

"18 November 2008 – The top United Nations human rights official called today for an immediate end to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, which she said contravened international law and had deprived those living there of their most basic human rights for months.

“By function of this blockade, 1.5 million Palestinian men, women and children have been forcibly deprived of their most basic human rights for months,” said Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. “This is in direct contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law. It must end now,” she said.

Ms. Pillay welcomed the decision by Israel to allow a limited number of trucks to enter Gaza on 17 November, but recalled its obligation to refrain from all measures that contravene international law." -- UN News Centre

Blockades of any type that interfere with any basic human needs are unacceptable. Humans are not pons in a chess game. They need food, water, powdered milk for their babies. Those who are attempting to give their families the basics, not involving themselves in the politics of this situation other than attempting to have a roof over their heads, clothing for their families, sanitary conditions and other basics, should not be the ploys in this political and religious showdown. This, no matter the Oslo Accords agreed upon by both "governments" involved in this tug-o-war.

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Can the government officials see that more negotiations are necessary and that talks regarding the situation may lead to some standards for lasting peace?

"...Many have made that error, assuming wrongly that the task is merely one of negotiating a compromise between tough opponents who nevertheless are bound by a mutual interest in peace and the prosperity it might be expected to ensure.

But this conflict defies such easy appeals to reason. Its path is littered with the abandoned remnants of once-hopeful plans and promises that are now largely forgotten.
All parties claim to want peace, and perhaps they do. But we must use the term cautiously." -- The Middle East Peace Processs At A Crossroads

So then, why must the United States be so deeply involved in this and every other world conflict. The answer is that "there is no one else to take our place, no one else who will even try. Only we possess the requisite power and resources, only we can engage all sides, only we can aspire to the trust of all...For it is a very American thing to believe that all problems have solutions.

But we cannot make peace by ourselves, however fervent our determination. That
responsibility lies in the hands of those in the region who are fated to live together forever, and they share that responsibility equally"

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The current President of Israel, Shimon Peres, was the person who produced the Oslo Accords. He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize together with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for the peace talks he participated in which produced those accords. He left the Labor Party and joined the Kadima party in 2005 to support Ariel Sharon.

In November of 2005, the Kadima party released main points of its national agenda. Here they are.

"-The Israeli nation has a national and historic right to the whole of Israel. However, in order to maintain a Jewish majority, part of the Land of Israel must be given up to maintain a Jewish and democratic state.

-Israel shall remain a Jewish state and homeland. Jewish majority in Israel will be preserved by territorial concessions to Palestinians.

-Jerusalem and large settlement blocks in the West Bank will be kept under Israeli control.

-The Israeli national agenda to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and achieve two states for two nations will be the road map. It will be carried out in stages: dismantling terror organizations, collecting firearms, implementing security reforms in the Palestinian Authority, and preventing incitement. At the end of the process, a demilitarized Palestinian state devoid of terror will be established.

-Israel's political system will be modified to ensure stability. One possibility to achieve this goal would be to hold primary, regional and personal elections to the Knesset and the Prime Minister's office.

-Kadima would not rule out a future coalition partnership with any Israeli political party or person.

-promoting equality for minorities

-negative income tax and national pension

-increasing social security benefits and national health insurance

-civil marriage

-reform of police" -- Wikipedia - Kadima

The Kadima party has good intentions, however, since there are so many varying parties in the Israeli government, with hugely varying agendas, it is impossible to smoothly implement the peace that is sought.

Involved in the mix is Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel and the Leader of the Opposition. He may be one of the driving forces behind the issues now being faced in Gaza. "He was Finance Minister of Israel until 9 August 2005, having resigned in protest at the Gaza Disengagement Plan advocated by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon."

What is the Gaza Disengagement Plan? It "was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the northern West Bank...Israel later decided to leave the border area, which is now controlled by Egypt and the Palestinians, through the PNA. Israel will continue to control Gaza's coastline and airspace and reserves the right to undertake military operations when necessary." [italics added]

A key factor in this plan is that "Israel will continue to provide Gaza with water, communication, electricity, and sewage networks", which evidently is somewhat lacking, based on the U.N. information.

When Netanyahoo resigned, he said that the Israeli government was not taking into account the expected upsurge in terrorism. "I am convinced today that the disengagement will eventually aggravate terrorism instead of reducing it."

What was the U.S. position? President George W. Bush said:

"I strongly support [Prime Minister Sharon's] courageous initiative to disengage from Gaza and part of the West Bank. The Prime Minister is willing to coordinate the implementation of the disengagement plan with the Palestinians. I urge the Palestinian leadership to accept his offer. By working together, Israelis and Palestinians can lay the groundwork for a peaceful transition."

"Essentially, a Palestinian demand that Israel withdraw to the 1949 [Armistice] lines would become "the position of the United States"."

Palestinian Arabs rejected the plan because it does not require the complete withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which would prevent a Palestinian state for years to come.

Sure enough, Hamas was elected as the Palestinian government. The fighting began again, those who voluntarily left the Gaza Strip have not been duly compensated, and terrorist activity is a consistent threat.

Where is the solution? Unfortunately there is no solution, other than the ceasing of the terrorism and fighting. This is a people who need united leaders who are willing to work together to provide the necessities to the people they govern and show compassion to people on all sides of this conflict. Territories are intermingled and will likely continue to be that way. The only resolution to this conflict is a united front by the leaders who are placing the orders to the military and the citizens.

God Bless America!


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