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Sunday, 11 January 2009

The crucial ingredient and why getting to peace in Gaza wll be so difficult

Adrian Hamilton in The Independent put his finger on the critical issue getting in the way of movement towards a peaceful solution The Path to Middle East Peace;

The tragedy of Gaza is that war was not necessary. By all the accounts of those involved, it should have been possible to have negotiated a renewal of the ceasefire. Hamas may have made it more difficult by ending the previous agreement and resorting to rocket fire, but it hadn't ruled out a new one; indeed, it kept saying it wanted one.

But the tragedy is also that Palestine need not be part of the remorseless pattern of provocation, military response and greater hatred that has been the pattern of the Middle East. In the immediate urgency of ceasefire negotiations, talk will be concentrated on the difficulties of ensuring an end to rocket fire, forcing Hamas to accept Israel, restoring Fatah's authority to Gaza and all the intricacies of inter-Palestinian politics. Israel's sense of success, it seems, can only be bought at the expense of the humbling of Hamas and that in turn can only be achieved by humiliating the Palestinians, and with them the Arabs.

There will never be peace this way. Negotiations will always get bogged down on the almost insuperable obstacle of trust. The Palestinians believe Israel's real purpose is to keep them divided and unable to operate as an independent state, and they see in the Gaza war proof of the fact. Israel sees the Palestinians driven by a desire to see Israel driven into the sea, and see in the rocket launches proof of that fact. If the trust isn't there, no amount of outside fiddling with controls on Hamas and pushing for Fatah's return to Gaza will succeed in restoring it. Indeed, it will almost certainly achieve the opposite by further humiliating the Palestinians with outside interference.

adrian-hamilton-the-path-to-middle-east-peace

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