Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Annapolis: Mideast Peace Process to continue in January 2008


The summit at Annapolis has yielded a promise from leaders of Israel and Palestine that the peace process will continue in January, 2008. The three big issues are (1) an independent Palestinian state (2) the Palestinian refugees (3) the status of Jerusalem.

We've seen this kind of benchmark agreement before. Back in 1978, Jimmy Carter jawboned Begin and Sadat into peace talks at his September Camp David accords, and even appealed to family values to get them to keep talking. Today, younger people in the region say (as on a film on PBS Tuesday night "Campus Battleground" from the "America at a Crossroads" series -- see the TV blog for Nov 26) say they look forward to a day where individual values trump over tribal and religious strife in the region. Yet, people who elect to move to Israel often believe in the idea of the chosen people, and that the Holocaust proves that Israel must be their historical homeland, even if established by expropriatory land takings and even if it must be defended by all security means necessary. Individually, many people who have lived in Israel tell me that the Palestinians should have their homeland so that this strife stops, but they are afraid to say it publicly.

Commentators maintain that a lot depends upon the involvement of the president himself. Bush may travel to the region early in 2008, and his successor will need to be heavily involved, regardless of party.

Ex Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair, has a job as a peace mediator. He points out that it is difficult to get Hamas into the negotiations when it does not officially recognize the right of Israel to exist.

There are many media stories. The Washington Post story today (Nov 28, p A1) is by Glenn Kessler, "Mideast Talks Yield Promises To Press On; Israelis, Palestinians Will Restart Peace Negotiations," link here.

The New York Times story today, by Steven Lee Myers and Helene Cooper, is "Israel and Palestinians Set Goal of a Treaty in 2008", here.

The 1993 Oslo Declaration of Principles is here.

1 comment:

Alex said...

And what do you think of Obadiah Shoher's arguments against the peace process ( samsonblinded.org/blog/we-need-a-respite-from-peace.htm )?