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Last Updated: Friday, 22 August, 2003, 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK
Peace plan in crisis
Shlomo Ben-Ami and Tim Sebastian
The ceasefire is over. Is this the end for the roadmap?

In a HARDtalk interview on 22 August, Tim Sebastian speaks to former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami about the prospects for peace in the Middle East now the ceasefire is over.

After seven weeks, Hamas declares the ceasefire over as Israel executes a targeted killing on one of its senior leaders.

The action followed a devastating suicide bombing in Jerusalem that killed twenty people and injured over a hundred more.

HardTalk speaks to Shlomo Ben-Ami the former Israeli Foreign Minister and progressive voice of the Israeli left.

Mr Ben-Ami paints a gloomy picture predicting more suicide bombings from Palestinian extremist groups.

"People have the wrong idea about what the ceasefire means," he says.

"The ceasefire is not between Israel and Hamas, the ceasefire is between Hamas and Abu Mazen."

He believes the "roadmap" will not lead Palestinians to a state, therefore the Palestinian Prime Minister has no incentive to really confront the militants.

What is needed, he says, is with the immediate involvement of an international force.

Without it, Israelis and Palestinians will never come to an agreed settlement.

Tim Sebastian asks him when that might happen.

"It will come when some sort of untold catastrophe happens," Mr Ben-Ami says, "maybe a devastating terrorist attack, maybe the threat of a regional flare up."

Turning to Iraq, Ben-Ami says the consequences of the war were not thought through properly by the Bush administration.

He says that shows a real lack of understanding over how problems are solved in the Middle East.

"You can't bring democracy on the wings of an F-16 or B52," he says, "More force will not work. More force is not the solution."

HARDtalk can be seen on BBC World at 03:30 GMT, 08:30 GMT, 11:30 GMT, 15:30 GMT, 18:30 GMT and 22:30 GMT.

It can also be seen on BBC News 24 at 03:30 and 23:30



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