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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK
Can the Middle East peace process survive?
Heavy gun battles have been raging between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank towns of Bethlehem and Ramallah.
The Israeli army has also reoccupied the West Bank towns of Qalqilya and Tulkarm.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says his army's actions are aimed at eliminating once and for all what he calls a terrorist infrastructure.
As the battles rage, US President George W Bush has urged Israel to keep open a pathway to peace.
But can there be any hope of peace amid such violence? What can be done to stop the cycle of attacks and retaliation?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Forester Mauler, South Africa
I don't think that either side is looking for peace or else it would have been achieved by now.
The problems in the Middle East will never be sorted because the people there don't want things to change.
If they want to kill each other, as they have over the last 40 years and longer, the West has no chance of sorting it out.
David Minnie, South Africa
Ariel Sharon has consistently opposed the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and withdrawal from the Occupied Territories. He has reaffirmed this in his outright rejection of the Saudi plan. He has built 36 settlements since his appointment and, until the stepping up of the suicide bombings, his approval rating was over 60%. To what, then, can the Palestinians aspire while he remains in power? Their only hope is to unseat him and, judging by the decline in his support, this horrific strategy is working.
Bush, Tony Blair,
Sharon must go, not
Arafat. They are
the Axis of
evil. Americans want
a war in Iraq. Middle east countries don't agree to this. For
getting support for the war in the Middle East
Bush and Sharon
are playing dangerous political games in
I am only a kid. But I wonder why does the USA support Israel so adamantly? Also the USA shouldn't be the mediator for peace, because they are obviously allied with Israel, and because of that they can't have an objective view. In my opinion the EU should be the one to try to brokerage a peace deal. The USA has had more than three chances and they failed each time.
It is obvious that Israelis do not want the peace by occupying Palestinian territory ,terrorizing and killing innocent people every single day. So it is in the human nature to defend themselves by sueside missions.
James Goldman, UK
It is the
blind American support of Israel that has had sustained the conflict in the Middle East. USA are not impartial in this conflict. The Israeli government is using the American weaponry. USA should realise that its weapons can not kill the sense of independence of Palestinians.
As long as the Israelis don't value the Palestinian people's life, they shall never live in peace.
The difference between a bomb attack and a suicide attack is desperation. And the remedy for desperation is not repression, but hope. Unless Mr. Sharon understands that, and allows Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side, in two states, like the rest of the civilized world does, we are bound to see more and more of these suicide attacks.
If he does not want enemies, he should let the Palestinians have no reasons to be enemies, instead of using the genocide option.
Vladimir Beker, Israel
Isn't it interesting that the Arab world hates the USA for supporting Israel but the Arab world expects, no demands, the USA to show respect, not hatred, to provide humanitarian and military aid to most of the Arab world even though they, the Arab world, support, directly and indirectly, Palestine and blindly hate the USA! In my opinion America and any other right thinking human being simply cannot understand the Arab world in general, nor the "engine" that drives its blind hatred and contempt for the non-Arab world.
It is funny that Sharon can accuse Arafat of being a terrorist, but correct me if I am wrong but who is accused of war crimes and supposed to be tried in Belgium?
Can anyone tell me the difference between what the Prime Minister Sharon is doing to Palestine and What the Former Yugoslavian Leader was doing to Kosovo?
The state of Israel was artificially planted into the Arab lands where almost no Jews had lived for the previous 1500 years.
It originated and exists due to the larger political interests of the world powers in the area and to the backing of various Jewish lobbies in the US and Europe.
This may change in the next 20, 50 or 100 years and if by then the people of Israel don't make peace with their Arab neighbours the country of Israel will cease to exist.
The official line is that Arafat must be isolated in order to break the chain of command that links him to the terrorists and to destroy terrorist infrastructure in his compound. If that has worked, then how come there have been two more suicide bombings since his isolation began? It is quite obvious to a casual onlooker that this is not working. It is quite likely that it will only fan the flames of hatred amongst the Palestinians. So what next, Mr Sharon?
Truth is bitter, but the situation in Middle East is very terrible; very terrible in such a way that by mere asking Israeli to move from his illegal acquired land of Palestinian or Yaser Arafat to arrest his terrorist could solved, that is never a solution to the problem. The diplomatic way used by USA to conquer terrorists i.e. Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan¿ why can't it be used again to stop Sharon from his Strong-arm attack on the innocent Palestinian and Suicide bombers on the innocent Israeli? Don't we have a US or UN peacekeeping force? If really we want peace process to survive in the Middle East it is up to them to do it.
Many people on this thread have not listened to a word that the Israeli spokespeople have said. The Palestinian people have never been targeted. There are no daily killings of Palestinian women and children that the media fail to cover - the PA has killed more of their own through extra-judicial "collaborator" killings than the IDF has. It makes me sad that the people from Arab states on this thread call the actions by Hamas, IJ and Al-Aqsa (whose charters reflect their deep-seated hatred for Israel and advocate its destruction including "driving the Jews into the sea") defence. Unfortunately, resolution of this conflict will only occur when the Arab states call these groups which kill innocent Israelis terrorists (not freedom fighters) and stop funding them.
Leaders of peace process:
Since Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat cannot agree and cannot get along with each other both are not allowing their people to live in peace and harmony. Their citizens are living an abnormal life.
They should not allow their citizen to live in misery.
Both of them should step down. Let the younger generation leaders continue with the peace process.
While the lives of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians are lost and ruined, Sharon and his cabinet believe that they can obtain peace through total military oppression. His term as prime minister has been an almost predictable spiral into the disaster it is today and even now, amazingly, after so many ill-conceived military ventures Sharon believes that a little more military pressure will do the trick. I have no doubt that his premiership will in time be regarded by Israelis as one of the proud nation's biggest mistakes. The Pope, The United Nations and every sane and impartial onlooker to this catastrophe believes this madness has to stop but, incredibly, Mr. Sharon and his right wing zealots continue to believe that they can obtain peace by military means.
Israel is doing exactly what it must do. It is attempting to dismantle the infrastructure of a horrible regime which supports terrorist activities aimed at women and children. Arafat chose terror instead of negotiations and now he is paying the price for that decision.
Stop the starting point of the cycle of violence.
Arab peacekeepers to search and detain all forms of explosives used by suicide bombers
All leaders of the Palestine leaders agree to it. The announcement is to be made to all Palestinians.
WHO SHOULD DO IT?
The experienced Egyptian and Jordanian peacekeepers are the best people to do it as they are both accepted in terms of diplomatic relations by Israel and Palestine.
Bilal Patel, London, UK
What peace process?
As the Jewish people celebrated Passover
the terrorists, and make no mistake, the
maiming and killing of innocent
civilians is terrorism,
do their worst! I see complete
hypocrisy on the part
of the west, who pursue any terrorism on
their soil to the far corners of
the world and yet acquiesce to the
constant terrorist activities
being conducted against Israel, what is
It seems that whenever Israel goes to
defend its citizens
by rooting out these nests of vipers, the
wrath of the free
world falls upon her. The Arab summit
requires that Israel
withdraws to the pre-1967 borders. Why
should they? In those pre-1967 days, they had no more
peace from their Arab 'neighbours' than
they do now. The targeted killing of
civilians and the indoctrination of
children into suicide bombers should be
stopped, For God's sake!
"50 Muslim Countries condemn Israeli actions" according to the BBC, and yet only 10 of the 22 invited parties manage to show for the peace conference! There will be no peace in the Middle East until the Muslim countries accept Israel's right to exist.
Simon Rockman, UK
Sharon is responsible not just for the killing of Palestinians but for the continued killing of his own people.
Even if Arafat supposedly could control suicide bombers, there's hardly a way for him to do it now, trapped in his offices. Bush's statements concerning Arafat, that he could do more about terrorism etc. are clearly drivel. And what happens if and when Israel gets rid of Arafat? Will the ensuing power vacuum control suicide bombers more efficiently? Israel needs to rethink its policy.
To Mohamed, Lebanon,
I call people who murder civilians for political ends "terrorists" and I call soldiers sitting in armoured tanks who kill stone-throwing children "murderers". Evil deeds require tough words not blinded eyes and mealy mouths.
No, as long as Israel's troops remain in the West Bank and Gaza it will get worse, and worse for Israel. It seems as if no-one understands what is really going on. Only deaths of Jews seem to be reported, not of Arabs.
When Milosevic oppressed the Kosovars by sending Tanks into towns and villages and rounded up all the men of fighting age with the excuse of "anti-terrorist operations" the West spent millions under the guise of humanitarianism bombing Yugoslavia to blazes. Now the US governmant gives Sharon an encouraging pat on the back and Blair's silence is deafening. The double standards of the Western governments are absolutely pathetic. If the West really wanted to they could stop the violence today.
The only reason why the Middle East conflict is getting more and more serious by day is the blind support of Israel by the USA.
I would gladly send my sons and daughters out to their deaths as that is the only 'weapon' I have. The double standards adopted by the Americans only make the Israeli more hated. In many of your comments before, it was mentioned that the poor Palestinian people have nothing to lose - only their lives and that is worthless. Why don't the American people start to criticize the USA policy of unrelenting support for Israel? I can only assume that the reporting is one-sided as usual as it is noticeably becoming over here. So much air time for Shimon Peres but nothing for the Palestine negotiators who talk so much sense. My heart is with these people, I wish we could go in support and march somewhere. Is there anyone out there who could arrange it?
First of all, let's just get this out of the way: The suicide bombings are horrible, I don't support extremists, but I also do not support collective punishment of any people, anywhere. As a citizen of the United States, I think everyone deserves self-determination, and if you were to try to take mine away, I would fight to get that right back. Also, what weapon you use to kill has no bearing on the moral or immoral nature of killing another human. Killing other humans is wrong. A tank, or a suicide bomber, is the same in the end if the targets are non-military in nature. In allot of the posts I have read, writers have stated that the Palestinians are "enemies of democracy and the west". I just need to understand what this means exactly. The average person in the United States does not have any idea about the history of the region, or the fact they arm one side so well with their tax dollars. I want to know when Palestinians have attacked the United States? And how you can be an enemy of Democracy and the west when you don't even have a proper army, or country for that matter, is beyond me as well. The people of the United States must understand that the people in the camps, villages, and cities of the occupied territories know who supplies the cash and weapons to whom. Also, demanding that one man, trapped in a compound for months, control 2.5 million people is laughable at best.
To Mark from the UK: the peace process was over when Sharon went to the Al-Alqsa mosque with hundreds of troops armoured with machine guns and Israelis voted for him because of that.
Alqsa mosque is the third most important religious place for Muslims.
People from other religions are allowed to visit it after taking permission.
This visit to all Arabs and Muslims all over the world is like Ben Laden taking Al-Qaeda to a visit to Vatican for Christians and he knew that before he went there.
Mark be reasonable.
Do you really think getting rid of Arafat (a patient man in his own right) will solve everything? What about Sharon whose past speaks for itself? I don't think peace is anywhere near with that man driving. The only thing he has going is his ego, he doesn't care about his country. He has proven it to the world time and time again. Are people blind or do they just have blinders on? We only chose to see what we want to see.
What kind of peace can be expected of a country that dominates another in the way the Israelis do the Palestinians? Only the USA can broker this so-called peace but, alas, the leader has other fish to fry and is plainly not interested. Soon too the US will feel the breeze of this total lack of commitment. Ashamed of being a Jew? I would think the same applies to being a US citizen too. But of course Saddam is the villain they want to kill while watching the disintegration in the Middle East. A classic case of fiddling while Rome burns!
The so-called US Peace Initiative is dead in the water. The US is not a disinterested party because of its one-sided support for Israel. How many US Presidents have become bogged down by the 'Middle East Crisis?' If the US & the west continue to deny the Palestinian people their rightful place on the map, with their own state, within secure borders then the easily-labelled 'terrorism' will continue. It is a supreme folly to think that Ariel Sharon is interested in any peace initiative. He wants the lot - all of the West Bank at whatever cost (to the Palestinian people) and we are allowing him to get it. He will systematically pick off West Bank towns one by one, occupy them and declare them 'closed military areas' so that we in the 'civilised' west will not see what is going on.
Peace & Love!
What I find deeply disturbing is the apparent enthusiasm shown by the current Israeli government for such military action after the incredibly reluctance for peaceful overtures. Israeli citizens must remove this war like before they alienate the entire Arab world by appearing to support such people. As a previous correspondent said, it is, sadly, up to the Israelis to take the lead and work toward the peace that the majority deeply desire.
Sharon is a criminal, and it is him who should be isolated, not Mr. Arafat
Michael, United Kingdom
Daily we read and hear of the violence in the Middle East. But rarely does any correspondent talk of the settlements and the necessity for troops to guard them.
I have spent much time in the Middle East and am well aware of the passion of the Arabs and their capacity to hate. If I know , how come the Jews don't know? And last, why does Mr. Bush always back the Israelis, even when they are blatantly wrong? It's called campaign funds.
No matter what we (the Jews/Israelis) do or say in defence of israel, we will always be condemned.
Basically it is a matter of "us" or "them"; and in the eyes of the world it is always the Palestinians who are the underdog and the ones who have been treated unfairly.
I have yet to hear the Europeans condone the murdering of innocent Israelis, but the minute something happens to a Palestinian then the Europeans/left wingers are all in an uproar!
What about our (Jews/Israelies) right to survival? To bring our children up in a peaceful surrounding?
For all those who are ready to point a finger at Israel, where were you all during the second world was when we were being led like lambs to the slaughter?
Why aren't you screaming at the murder of 122 innocent people?
For all you left wingers, remember 2 things:
Ami Yisrael Hay, Israel
Methods that Israel is using to address the problem have not changed since the beginning of the conflict. It is clear to everybody but Jews that use of force does not yield peace and that there is no military solution to this problem. Continuing use of methods that have been unsuccessful for so many years is irrational.
Can anybody draw the line between terrorists and freedom fighter?
The daily killings and executions of dozens of innocent Palestinians go unreported by the western media who choose to focus only on reprisal suicide bombings. The people of Ramallah are without electricity and water; the latter being a basic human right. The fanatical zealots who run Israel and the US are laughing and sticking two fingers up at any attempt at a ceasefire. The people of the Muslim world will not sit by and watch this happen for much longer. The Muslim world should cut all diplomatic ties and trade with the west until they come to their senses. Ethnic cleansing and gross human rights violations should not be permitted in our name. All the people of whatever religion, colour or creed should demonstrate in the streets to show their abhorrence of this modern day holocaust.
To Heba, Egypt, and his nice story:
The 1967 loss of Arab land was a result of Arab aggression against Israel. The lesson - Don't try to kill anybody so you will not risk losing anything. Can't do the time, don't do the crime, Heba. Few quotes for your reference:
President Al-Atassi of Syria stated on May 22nd, 1966: 'We want total war with no limits, a war that will destroy the Zionist base.'
On May 25th, 1967, Cairo Radio announced: 'The Arab people is firmly resolved to wipe Israel off the map and to restore the honor of the Arabs of Palestine.'
On May 28th, 1967, Egyptian President, Nasser, stated: 'We will not accept any possibility of co-existence with Israel.'
Based on the UN rejection of Draft Resolution A/L 519 from July 4th, 1967, and the adoption of UN resolution 242, Israel is not required to withdraw from all the land it occupied.
Those are the facts of the case, Heba.
Peace, Peace, Peace.
No land, land, land.
Arabs say: OK Peace.
The animal named 'Middle East peace process' exists only in mass-media. The biggest mistake of Israel was signing Oslo-agreement. I admit that Palestinian state is probably the only solution in long-term, but creation of terrorist authority only make this target more hardly reachable.
Israel is responsible to destroy it. Only then there will be chance for real peace negotiation.
Sharon's strong- arm method is very dangerous and has made the Israelis more uncomfortable. The people of Israel will never live in peace for the next 50 years due to the strong-arm method of Sharon. This has been clearly shown when a 16 year old can kill herself, the hatred is so deeply rooted. Soon shall we see a 10 year boy or even a 6 year girl doing the same.
The Israelis and Palestinians have shown to be unable to make peace. Only an outside force can force peace in the middleast, like in the Balkans.
Let be honest for once, if we call the Palestinians terrorists, what can we call what are the Israelis are doing. For sure the Israelis are not Angels on this earth, so I plead with both parties to think how they can build a future for their children instead of using barbaric force buy the Israelis and deadly retaliations from the Palestinians.
The killing of innocent people can never be condoned, but when one looks at the figures over three times more Palestinians than Israelis have died since the intifada began. The Palestinians are a people without hope. They have no jobs, many of them live like a rootless people in other countries, waiting some day to return. The basic national right of self-determination has passed them by. The west has ignored their plight for so long that, now, making a 16-year-old girl blow herself up in a public place seems to make sense to them.
Of course Israel has a right to defend itself, but had it taken earlier steps to resolve it's "illegal occupation" (the words of Kofi Annan) of the Palestinian territories then it may not have found itself in such an appalling situation. Oscar, The Netherlands
Rafael Humpert, Germany
There can be no excuse for the killing of innocent civilians - not religion, not politics, nothing. The terrorists that carry out these daily massacres are so close to Al-Qaeda they're indistinguishable. They are not just the enemies of Israel, they are enemies of democracy and the West and need to be treated as such.
I have lived in Israel 14 years and never have I felt so much shame in being an Israeli and a Jew. Why cant our leaders understand that we can not expect to continue humiliating an entire people and expect them not to resist. It is human nature to resist, my Jewish forefathers resisted. How can the work sit idly by while we continue to occupy a land that is not ours, kill and maim a population on a daily basis and expect no retaliation?
Once a faction has murdered your loved ones, your hatred of that faction lasts your whole life. It is simple human behaviour- it is wired into us as a species. Israelis and Palestinians have both committed horrible atrocities against each other, both have had to suffer the aftermath of these atrocities and now both sides have a taste for blood and vengeance that I fear will never leave them. The only hope would be from a government that can use its head even while the populations are too clouded by the emotions involved. Unfortunately, with people like Sharon Arafat and Bush, I am afraid reason will never be reached. I feel like somebody riding in a car with a really bad driver - at a certain point you just have to let go and ignore the road to avoid going crazy with fear...
"Peace initiatives" and "talks" have come and gone in the past 10 years or so. This one will have the same fate unless concrete steps are taken to get at the root of the problem. Just like economic and military sanctions are used against Iraq when it occupies Kuwait, the same tactics need to be applied to Israel to force it to remain within its legal borders. The West and more specifically the US has consistently turned a blind eye while Israel continues its policies of expansion. The Palestinians have nothing to lose, they will continue with their struggle until their current living conditions have changed.
Now there is escalation of war, suicide bombers and tank warfare. Each side can find good reason to blame the other, so what! The real question for each side is, what can we do to start on the path to peace - not what can the other side do, not blame for past or even present - there is enough blame. No one is right - yet all will have to live together. Are there leaders among the Palestinians who will stand up and say no to terrorism and suicide bombers, no to martyrs? Are there leaders among the Israelis who will stand up and say no to continued war and attacks on Palestinians, who will say there is a way, THIS is the way we can work together for peace? There have been many past missed opportunities - can we create a new opportunity? The world needs to hear from them, but most of all, there own people need to hear from them and see real actions from them.
The Palestinians will continue using violence because, let's face it, what do they have to lose? Their land? Their country? Their homes? Their wealth? They have none of that! Even their lives are so miserable that they prefer to die in battle in order, according to their beliefs, to go to Paradise. The Israelis on the other hand have so much to lose. They must realize that they must become an integral part of the Arab world, just like the Christians in Lebanon.
Don Digler, USA
"Peace in the Middle East", nothing but a catchy slogan in reality. I do not doubt that most Palestinians would make peace with Israel, if they were granted their own state. But the fanatics and terrorist groups will never let that happen. Until the Israeli's have either pulled stakes and left, or have all been killed, these terrorist groups will never cease. So in other words, get used to another 1,000 years of bloodshed. Sad but true.
The time has come for Arafat to go. If anyone thought that Arafat was not in control, the Passover Massacre should change their mind. It was carried out by a suicide bomber who had been on Israel's wanted list, a list given to the PA. The PA did with this suicide bomber what they have done with dozens of others - they arrested him when political pressure necessitated it, and then released him ten days later when that pressure died down. Yasser Arafat bears full responsibility for the Passover Massacre and other massacres against Israeli civilians and must be removed from power once and for all.
Obviously the warring parties are not capable of achieving peace. Where are the UN troops? Once the two sides have been separated a just peace can be established based on all relevant UN resolutions and the various Geneva conventions which do not allow the annexation of territory through war. That is to say Israel should be forced to its pre 1967 borders.
Its high time for the population to take over this initiative from the politicians. All peace loving people of Palestine and Israel should descend on Ramallah and march hand in hand peacefully in front of the tanks and armoured vehicles and nudge them back to where they belong in their barracks. Let them state once and for all a stop to all this deadly brinkmanship.
Politicians have tried and failed, military has tried and failed. People power must succeed. We have seen it so many times in modern history. Enough is enough.
Peace with terrorists? Get real! How many people said that the world should make peace with Osama Bin Laden? Israel has fought terrorism long before the so called "war on terrorism". It is Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa Brigades, Force 17, PFLP, and all the other terrorist groups that claim responsibility for these terrorist acts against innocent Israeli civilians that should also claim responsibility for the retaliation from Israel. When is Israel allowed to fight back without being accused of starting or increasing the violence?
No nation has ever benefited from protracted warfare.
I think it's time to conclude, ruefully, that the Palestinians have had their chance. No one denies their right to self-determination, including their right to select their own leader. But if they choose to exercise this second right in a way that thwarts the first - by picking a thoroughly unprincipled leader to represent them - this is hardly Israel's fault. This is a hard lesson in political responsibility which the Palestinians must learn before they can achieve their legitimate aims. For now they have shown that they must simply be managed in a way that minimizes loss of life.
Rather than asking whether Sharon's strong arm tactics can work, why not ask whether Arafat has any ability or inclination to impose a ceasefire on the Palestinians? If the answer to this question is yes, then surely everything that has been said about Arafat's part in the suicide bombings by Israel is correct. If the answer is no, then Arafat is just speaking empty words for diplomatic convenience.
Sharon's strong arm tactics may work in the short term, but how long is that? 6 months, a year, maybe even five years, but the underlying problem is only being made worse. There is little evidence that increasing strong arm tactics have actually produced more security for Israel over the period of Sharon being in office, the reverse seems to be the case. Sharon must indirectly shoulder much of the responsibility for the current situation. As a military man one would have thought that he would have realised the limits of a military approach. Unfortunately Sharon is a an unable Politician, with no positive policies. His focus on blaming Arafat leads Israel nowhere. It is time for the US to exert much more financial pressure on Israel. It is not just a case of a country having the right to self defence, Israel is part of the problem and as yet shows no real sign that it is really ready to be part of a positive solution. The US must decide what it wants in the region, there is long term danger for Israel that the US may begin to see Israel as harmful to its own interests and begin to decommit itself.
Miki , Israel
Those who talk about Israel being unwilling to accept peace proposal must be
out of their minds. What peace are you talking about when insane "martyrs" kill
tens of innocent civilians every single day? And the Hamas ringleader made it
very clear that they will continue suicide bombings even if the truce is officially declared.
The Western world must be waiting for another September 11, then for another one, until
realizes that there are no good or bad terrorists - they are all the same and must be
eliminated. All of them!
The Peace Process finally ended when 22 Jews were massacred at a Passover celebration. Ariel Sharon did not carry out this massacre, while Yasser Arafat gave allowed its perpetrators a free plan to carry out this murderous acts. It's time we in Europe face up to the fact that Sharon is not the aggressor, and that Arafat is no hero, but rather a thug who has brought disaster upon his own people.
How can there be peace when there is insufficient will and only hatred on both sides of the divide. The endless tit for tat killings are not the answer, and is only making matters worse. The UN must step in now and take control of the situation, before all out war breaks out. The whole world knows that the US has too much of a Jewish influence in congress to find a resolution to this matter, so why is the UN dithering?
Israel stopped retaliating for many days recently and the Palestinians continued to massacre innocent Israeli citizens. Sharon has no choice but to come down hard on them.
Let us remember what the root cause of the entire conflict is. It is the Israeli occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land. Everything else, the whole cycle of resistance, violence and retribution flows from it. The way to cut the cycle is to address the root and that is what the Beirut declaration does. An Israeli acceptance of it, even in words alone would have lifted the mood of despair. Instead, they have responded with massive military force. I think Sharon's agenda is clear to those who can see - he seeks a greater Israel.
There were chances for the West to put an end to the unjust occupation of Palestine. Our blind support for Israel has allowed them to get away with crime after crime against the Palestinian people. War is now unstoppable and unfortunately, it will continue until one party wins and the other surrenders. From what I have seen so far, neither side is likely to surrender soon, as there is too much at stake for both sides...it is a question of the very existence of two peoples. There will be much more carnage before this ends and it probably won't end in any of our lifetimes.
Chris B, England
It's the end for this peace initiative.
Arafat is either unable or unwilling to stop terrorists. Either way he shouldn't lead the PA. It takes two sides for a peace process but so far Israel gave up land while the Palestinian just increased their terrorism. Sharon is trying to put pressure on Arafat the only way he can - by using military force. It won't do the job alone but if leaders from other countries will pressure Arafat as well the combination will force him to start taking action against terrorists instead of sending them to massacre civilians.
Well, I think it has been proven that there is no military solution to the problem but unfortunately Sharon does not know better than violence. As for the US peace plan, I believe that if the objective of the US is to implement justice and give rights to the people who have either lost their homes and their land or lived in captivity for 50 years then the answer is yes. But if the US is just another party that puts more pressure on the weaker partner in the so called peace deal to satisfy the Israeli lobby in the US, then YES it might work for few years and then it has to erupt again. Don't you think it's about time for a serious and honest move from the US?
Israel has pulled the rug from Mr Arafat and placed him in an impossible position. PM Sharon's action, while probably appealing to the majority of his public, is most unwise. He feel's that he is emulating Bush's war against terrorism, but his action are only adding fuel to the fire. Five thousand years of strife have not resulted in peace or stability in the Middle East, except during the Ottoman Empire. There are no innocents only guilty parties on all sides, including the big powers. Expect escalating terrorism in the reign and, woefully, on a world scale, as a result of these ill-considered actions.
The time for empty words is over. The Passover Massacre was a turning point. Arafat decided a year and a half ago to abandon the path of peace and to launch a terror war against unarmed non-combatants. It's time for him to take responsibility for this actions. The people of Israel are sick of his murderous ways.
The only way peace will ever happen is for both sides to stop seeing each other as the "enemy", and as fellow human beings who are have needs and concerns. Branding Arafat (or Sharon, for that matter) the enemy will only escalate the violence.
It all depends on whether you are committed enough to peace on-goingly, and prepared to honour that commitment despite all provocations. Unfortunately, the Israeli side seem particularly unwilling to do that. How many more people have to die before Israel can say "we will talk about your peace proposal"?
Dave, Hong Kong
There will be no peace in the Middle East until both sides are provided with leaders who are prepared to make tough concessions and sacrifices and recognize the validity of the other's case. By doing this, they will be placing the interests of their people first. It is clear that the present generation of leaders have no vision for a peaceful future and think that they can intimidate each other into submission. This strategy has only caused more pain, suffering and distress for their respective peoples
The "peace process" was over as soon as Ariel Sharon came to power. Sharon aron knows as much about the meaning of peace as Mugabe about the meaning of democracy.
There will never be peace due to hatred being built in both Israeli and Palestinians hearts. Peace will never be achieved no matter how hard they try.
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