"Now" is always a good time for proactive initiatives to get the Mid-east
peace process moving. Right now, as in today and the coming weeks, is,
however, a period much richer than usual in its potential to yield positive
Why is this the case? Because the European Union aspires to a greater
regional role and the UN special envoy to the Middle East, Terje Roed
Larsen, is currently on the job, on the ground. Because Turkey aspires to
join the EU and enjoys influential good relations with Israel at the same
time as being a subtle player in regional politics.
So what do the above mean? Taken together, it means an opportunity exists
for the Palestinians to marshal European and Turkish regional interests
into a Brussels-Ankara diplomatic pincer to create a new political reality.
But before this can happen the Palestinians, and especially the
hard-liners, must be prepared to put aside their most pointed differences,
and their arms, at least temporarily, to work for a common goal.
This is, of course, easier said than done, but the effort must be made. The
Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be capped in 2005 - the year tentatively
set for the creation of an independent Palestinian state according to the
"road map" being administered by the "Quartet" of the United States, EU,
Russia and the UN. It would be unwise of the Palestinians to wait until
after the US elections in November before throwing what weight they have
behind moves to make their state more than a dream.
In short, the Palestinians would be doing themselves, and the majority of
Israelis who also desire peace, a great service if they push the diplomatic
front forward, now, before the US elections, so that a new US
administration will find something already on the table come year's end.
Source: The Daily Star, July 9, 2004
Visit The Daily Star website at www.dailystar.com.lb/
Distributed by the Common Ground News Service.
Copyright permission has been obtained for publication.
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