Nov 04 2001

Bush Holds Key to Mideast Peace

Published by at 12:00 am under Articles,US-Middle East

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil have given President Bush a freer hand to dictate foreign policy. Congress, which in the past has thrown monkey wrenches into foreign policy initiatives, is unlikely to tamper with any new policy directives coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also are unlikely to attempt to block any new push by the Bush administration toward the long-awaited peace.

The Palestinians, fighting attempts to link them with Osama bin Laden and his terrorist activities, have given strong and clear signals of support to Washington in its fight against the Taliban. Even the attempts by Bin Laden to claim the Palestinian cause as the reason for his actions failed to win him support from Palestinians. Yasser Arafat and senior Palestinian leaders have publicly rejected all attempts at such linkage. Exhausted and pained by the loss of life and property, the Palestinians have never been more ready or willing to make the compromises needed for a diplomatic solution.

The Israelis are also exhausted. Although a recent poll showed Israelis equally divided between those who support a more aggressive policy against Palestinians and those wishing for a more accelerated push for negotiations, I am confident that even the first group is only supporting hawkish positions to improve its leadership’s eventual negotiating position.

If both sides have learned anything in the past year, it has been that neither side can force its own political solution on the other. Both Palestinians and Israelis now know exactly how far the other side is willing to go. There is no uncertainty remaining about which points are the most sensitive and which issues are nonnegotiable.

Military means have failed to crush either side, and will continue to fail. All that has resulted has been an unending cycle of bloodshed and hatred.

It is time for people of goodwill to end the misery that we in the Middle East have gotten ourselves into. The U.S. is the only party that can do that. The U.S. has the moral authority and power to negotiate a solution for both sides.

President Bush’s determination to remove all obstacles from the path of a U.S. victory over international terrorism is a powerful tool. It can be used to help forge an eventual U.S. foreign policy initiative regarding the Middle East, guided by internationally accepted fundamentals.

The Palestinians should have the ability to create and run a sovereign independent state that is viable and has geographical continuity. Israel must be guaranteed peace and security within recognized borders. The continuation of the policy of occupation and subjugation will never produce peace or stability.

For Jerusalem, an inclusive rather an exclusive solution must be found that deals with the national needs of both peoples as well as the religious requirements of the three major faiths.

A fair solution must be found to the Palestinian refugee problem that respects the principle of the right of return without affecting the sensitive demographic situation in Israel.

There will be grumbling once such a U.S. initiative is announced. Israelis will likely squirm the most. Having been spoiled by U.S. policies often dictated by the powerful pro-Israel lobby, Israel will not quietly accept such a plan.

The key will be the depth of the Bush administration’s determination to stay the course and insist on its plan, despite attempts to derail it.

There has never been a better time to bring peace to the Middle East.

No responses yet

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.