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Monday, 2 September, 2002, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Middle East: Will the plan work?

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Israel has agreed to begin reducing its military presence in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Bethlehem in exchange for Palestinian efforts to reduce militant attacks.

Palestinian officials said the two sides had agreed that Israel would withdraw its forces from Gaza and Bethlehem within 48 hours, but Israeli authorities have indicated a much looser schedule.

Sunday night's plan follows a similar agreement reached earlier in August, which came to nothing.

A senior Palestinian official, Nabil Abu Rudeina, said the withdrawals would "prepare the atmosphere" for more pullbacks.

But the militant Palestinian group Hamas said it did not support the plan.

Do you think the plan will work? What can stop the cycle of violence?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The cities remain besieged.

Karel vd Berg, Netherlands
It will not work, because it is not a real withdrawl. It is merely reshuffling of some jeeps and tanks. The cities remain besieged. Neither party has the will for peace at the moment. There are no compromises whatsoever. Hardliners on both sides rule the conflict. And they, it seems, are not interested in a genuine and fair truce.
Karel vd Berg, Netherlands

It's certainly a step in the right direction but unless a permanent international border is agreed between the two countries, there is no chance for peace.
M Khan, UK

No plan will work unless religious and racial prejudices are eliminated. Religious, Racial, and all other forms of prejudices are impossible to eliminate when countries are established based on religion. Neither side is capable of doing this and there lies the entire problem. You people can go around in circles with your discussions consumed with the art of self deception, however, no plan will ever work unless prejudices are eliminated.
Kato, USA

How many times has the world heard 'Israelis are tired of conflict'? If that is true, why occupy land? Why destroy houses? Why destroy the lives and future of the people you want peace with? We the world are quite sick of the entire mideast affair.
Zami, UK

There is no sense in making agreements with a group that is not going to respect them

Vladimir Beker, Israel
I don't believe the new initiative will work. Terrorist groups like Hamas already said they will not support it. There is no sense in making agreements with a group that is not going to respect them. We do want peace. Israelis are tired of conflict, but we have never been tired enough to employ suicide tactics.
Vladimir Beker, Israel

The latest security concessions by the Israeli government and army are a last ditch effort to preserve their public image around the world. This gesture could be the beginning of the end. Israel will never be viewed in the same light again. Its favourite-nation status is over. The Palestinians should use this concession to promote an atmosphere of goodwill and reconciliation.
D Cadigan, USA

If the premise were correct that the human bombs are a response to Israeli occupation then this should be a step towards decreased violence. Unfortunately, for many Palestinians the human bombs are a response to the very existence of Israel. This fact does not make me optimistic.
Tom, USA

The latest concession is doomed to failure

Joe, New York, USA
The latest concession is doomed to failure because of the overwhelming Israeli military superiority, the Palestinian economic weakness, the unquestioned US support for Israel, the unquestioned Arab support for the Palestinians and the UN's absolute ineffectiveness. Palestine needs a contiguous area to form a state and the region needs outside military forces drawn from inside and outside the Arab world to enforce the peace.
Joe, New York, USA

It seems to me that Israel wants to progress peace, yet various militants vow to continue despite that. These militants have to try to compromise for the sake of innocent lives being lost on both sides. I think both sides' leaders should stand down and allow new young leaders to make peace who don't have personal hatred towards each other.
Ben, UK

I'm strongly opposed to the idea of people deploring "civilian casualties". We should rather speak about the loss of human life. The troops are "civilians on duty" and if they could choose, some will relinquish from pulling a deadly trigger that will make an "enemy" breathe his last. I once heard on the BBC a Palestinian say there is no such thing as an Israeli civilian since they are all trained. But I believe peace can be achieved in that region. Israel and the US (its colonial power) must lead the way because they are the strongest. The end of religion could also help. Some people hold it for truth that this war will never end because the Bible said so.
Maxime, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Both sides are so blinded by hatred and revenge

Steve, UK
Sadly, at the moment, both sides are so blinded by hatred and revenge that none can see past the latest atrocities (always caused by the other side, of course) and any moderate, conciliatory voices are immediately shouted down by the extremists.
Steve, UK

Israelis and Palestinians: Agree to live in peace and build a democratic and free model for the rest of the region. You have much more in common than you have differences.
Brad, Chicago, USA

If Israel determines in a fair and open court of law that certain relatives were accessories to the crime of suicide bombings, they deserved to be punished. Otherwise, indiscriminate expulsion is illegal.
Bob, Seattle, USA

If one is wrong, they are both wrong!

Mike, Rudolph USA
People are crying foul because of the expulsions, but who cried foul when the families of suicide bombers received blood money for the murderous actions of their children? You can't have it both ways. If one is wrong, they are both wrong!
Mike, Rudolph USA

These relatives can only be exiled to Gaza if Israel can prove that they are accessories to murders we euphemistically call terrorism. When did it become "unfair" to punish accessories to murder?
Inna, Sacramento, USA

The expulsions may not be fair, but they might be effective, only time and implementation will tell.
George Milton, USA and Italy

RELATIVES of SUSPECTS? How can you ask if this is right or fair? If I killed someone, would you send my mother to jail if I managed to elude all efforts to capture me?
Jeremy Cedenio, UK/Bermuda

Expulsions are a gross injustice to the human rights of the expelled Palestinians and will only fuel more hate

Suresh Gnasegarah, Cyberjaya, Malaysia
Compromise, compromise, compromise! Until someone decides to take a step back, the Middle East crisis is not going to be solved. Expulsions are a gross injustice to the human rights of the expelled Palestinians and will only fuel more hate. Corny as it may sound, only when one party decides to advocate peace and take steps to facilitate talks will we see any form of possible resolution to this conflict.
Suresh Gnasegarah, Cyberjaya, Malaysia

It isn't fair or just to punish one person for another person's crime. Morally that's a ridiculous question to ask. But what has fair or just ever had to do with the situation between the Israelis and Palestinians? On one hand the Palestinians regularly attack innocent Israeli civilians rather than the occupying military forces. On the other the Israelis casually use missiles and helicopter gun ships to hunt the terrorists in neighbourhoods densely packed with Palestinian men women and children. Opening fire on nine-year-old children for curfew breaking when they and their families emerge from their homes for food. All I see is hatred and fear.
C Wright, UK

Imagine living in your current home with your parents and your children's children. Unbeknownst to you one of those children is fighting against occupation and gets caught or killed. Now, already overwhelmed by grief, you learn that your home will be bulldozed to rubble. Does the destruction of your home make you feel less angry or more angry? Even if this collective punishment is deemed legal, it should be stopped immediately if it doesn't stop the suicide bombings. Is there any humanity in Israel?
Richard N, UK

The only way peace will come about is through compromise. We have seen in the years since Israeli independence in 1948 that neither side will let the other control the whole state. This will not change, and the longer it goes on the worse it gets. People directly involved are losing the point of why they are there in the first place. I just don't understand why more people cannot recognise that compromise is the only way out. Dual control or separate states, whatever is decided must be better than the current situation.
Helen, London, UK

The best solution to this problem would be if a Palestinian leader along the lines of Martin Luther King, Ghandi or Nelson Mandela were to rise to the occasion and bring a message of peace, rather than one of blame, hate, and militancy. If there were a leader on the Palestinian side committed to peace the Israelis would vote Sharon out of office in a heartbeat.
Juan H., St. Louis, Missouri, USA

How can there be peace? Every time the UN comes up with a resolution the US vetoes it. The US has therefore awarded itself a monopoly with regard to peace-brokering in the region. However the US has now decided that it won't talk to the Palestinian leader. The only possible conclusion anybody can come to is that the US doesn't want peace in the region at the present time.
John Lawrence, UK

One thought for a small improvement in the present situation. Remove Sharon and Arafat. They are playing out a long-standing personal vendetta using other people's lives.
Charles, Frankfurt, Germany

Give ending the occupation a chance

Ahmed, USA
End the occupation to stop the river of blood from both sides. The Israelis are afraid that if they vacate occupied Palestinian land, the Palestinian attacks will escalate. I believe this will not happen because history teaches us that when oppressed people get their freedom and dignity, the anger in their hearts dies down with time. Look at South Africa, after apartheid was over and an amnesty was declared. As they used to say in the sixties, give peace a chance. Now we say give ending the occupation a chance.
Ahmed, USA

The US is not able to bring peace in Middle East, as they are no longer trusted by the Palestinians. Why? Because the US continue to sell weapons and provide money and intelligence to Israel and yet again they call themselves a peace-loving country. To bring peace in the Middle East, we need a stronger UN, backed up by the rest of the world. Douglas from Scotland said the Israelis do not take much notice of what the UN has to say. I believe the UN must take action against this sort of response; otherwise there is no peace for another 50 years to come. The UN must act stronger and sooner.
A-Nowroozi, Manchester, UK

The recent letter saying that the bombings are hurting the Palestinian cause is a step in the right direction but it is important that these words be accompanied by a change in attitude, heart and approach. No one expects the Palestinian Authority to eliminate suicide bombers tomorrow but if the PA wants to be taken seriously, we have to see clear and unambiguous progress toward eliminating the terrorists in the territories.
Inna Tysoe, Davis, California, USA

The innocent people are just pawns sacrificed for those leaders who need to maintain their popularity as to win elections by drumming up support using nationalism. This is just a ploy. The UN or the world needs to recognise this issue and in recognising it, we can solve it peacefully through a third party country where a resolution must be reached. Be it Palestinians or Israelis, all of them are human beings with family and friends. Only when the evil doers stop, agreement will be reached.
Robin, Singapore

For how much longer will innocent people continue to die before a final solution to the Middle East crisis is found? I believe it is time world leaders stopped playing politics at the expense of human life.
Jude Emeni, Jos, Nigeria

The difficulties of religion and history are well documented and it is now time also for the United Nations to start taking stock of their role as a world peace-keeping force and to start getting around the table in a more serious and concerted effort to resolve the ever increasing tension within the Middle East. The situation of the occupied territory within Gaza is never going to be resolved with one party exercising dominance as has been shown in recent months.
Mark Dowe, Scotland, UK

Both want a homeland and both should have it

N. Bradley, UK
Both the Palestinians and the Israelis are justified in their cause. Both want a homeland and both should have it. There can be a compromise. However, it is the extreme factions in both camps that stops this from happening. When the extreme Israeli right and the suicide bombers begin to become discredited among their own people then peace will be given a chance.
N. Bradley, UK

The international community should force the US to identify and hold talks with the current ELECTED head of Palestine. There is no reason why Arafat should be excluded from any peace talks when he is the leader of the Palestinian people.
Andrew, Canada

There will never be peace in that region as long as religion exists. End of story!
Rav Roberts, San Jose, USA

What right is more important than life?

Larry Weintraub, Philadelphia, USA
When going to the college cafeteria for lunch, to a pizzeria for dinner or to the market to buy bread become the kind of acts that bring death, there must be a response. No country can tolerate the killing of its families, its students, its youth. Governments are created to protect the rights of their people, what right is more important than life?
Larry Weintraub, Philadelphia, USA

Can there be peace in the Middle East whilst we have supposed peace loving countries and their government officials such as the US and the UK selling weapons to and making money off such countries there?
Mark Shanks, Stirling, Scotland

Occasionally there comes a conflict that is so deeply routed into many different facets that the only real solution to achieving everlasting peace is simply to let them duke it out until there is only one unquestionable winner. Only then will there be everlasting peace. Until this happens, there will not be peace. There will only be fighting periodically interrupted by the occasional ceasefire.
Dave S, Boston, Ma

I believe that both the Palestinians and the Israelis are thirsty for peace. Still, I do believe that ending the Israeli occupation according to the UN resolution would stop the violence. Also, the US's flagrant bias toward Israel must be stopped as soon as possible, because I think that the US allows the Israelis to continue committing war crimes.
Natalie Rohana, Tripoli, Lebanon

The one hopeful thing is that some form of talks have resumed.

Thea Berg, Netherlands
Well, the one hopeful thing is that some form of talks have resumed. Now hopes shouldn't be up high, but it is a start. It is positive too that the Palestinians are in Washington for a change. It is always the Israeli side which gets courted. However, one assassination, one 'terrorist¿ attack and everything will start anew.
Thea Berg, Netherlands

Ultimately, peace will only come by moderates on both sides getting together and agreeing, isolating the men of violence. At present violence is the mainstream option on both sides. Even then, it will take time for support for violence to wither away, but it will happen eventually, as it has elsewhere.
Colin McKenzie, London UK

Could specialists such as sociologists, psychologists as well as armed forces professionals and security experts that gained experience in Northern Ireland help to achieve the main Middle East peace process objectives in practice?
Peter Volford, Ödenburg, Hungary

What we need are re-humanising steps on both sides

Daniel Weinberger, Israel
The problem is that both sides have become blind to the suffering of the other. What we need are re-humanising steps on both sides. Perhaps Israeli volunteers helping to rebuild the devastated Jenin camp.. and Palestinian volunteers helping to educate Israelis on the reality of life in a refugee camp. Let us show Sharon and Hamas that we can overcome their bellicosity.
Daniel Weinberger, Israel

It has to be obvious to even the most jaded, most hardened persons, that the two sides will never come to an agreement, so let them agree to disagree, part ways, set up a border with two states, and top it off with a high wall between the two (similar to the Berlin Wall)...
Joseph, Canada

The violence on both sides has been horrific and never-ending. Courage on both sides is needed if peace is ever going to arise.
Todd Adams, Canada

The UN resolution certainly does not help - it only makes things worse. To start off with, any resolution passed against Israel is automatically void as Israel has not been granted equal member status. Its main aggressors in three previous wars go unchallenged in the UN security council. It is the only country in the world to have been singled out in such a way.
David Barton-Grimley, UK

And what will happen if Israel doesn't immediately comply - a US-led allied invasion? Economic sanctions? I doubt it somehow. UN resolutions only seem to make a difference if there are sufficient Western interests at stake.
Greg, Austria

All parties involved must learn to forgive so a new era may begin

Marwan, Canada
As citizens of an international community, it is our duty to intervene when laws and war crimes are committed. We simply cannot leave the two parties to resolve their differences - unbiased third parties are essential. Sharon and Arafat are too busy fighting an old feud while their respective citizens are being killed. I have faith in peace. However, all parties involved must learn to forgive so a new era may begin. Mourn the dead and learn the lesson - only tolerance and acceptance will create an atmosphere for dialogue and eventual coexistence. The wounds will heal and the scars will remind the new generation of the importance of peace. A new status quo will be achieved.
Marwan, Canada

One method of achieving peace would be to have a joint UN, PLO and Israeli military patrol over Gaza and West Bank areas. I think it just might lower the tensions for a little while.
Fazle Chowdhury, USA

The main problem is that too many of the participants in this conflict want not peace, but victory.
C. Alexander Brown, Canada

No amount of UN pressure, censure, or diatribe will make any impact on Israel

A Lahlali, United Arab Emirates
No amount of UN pressure, censure, resolutions or diatribe will make any impact on Israel. Only common sense can make a difference. Only an end to Israeli occupation can have a positive impact on both the Palestinians and the Israelis.
A Lahlali, United Arab Emirates

The only chance to achieve peace in the Middle East is for the UN to pressurise Israel into withdrawing from the entire West Bank and East Jerusalem. By doing so, Israel will be controlling 78% and the Palestinians 22% of the disputed area. But, in addition, Israel will be recognised by most Arab States, especially Saudi Arabia.
Hatem Khatib, East Jerusalem

This UN call for Israel to withdraw from Palestine won't work. The Israeli government has never obeyed or even considered any UN resolution put forward to them. They know that the US will either veto it or resist any kind of sanctions against them. It is a futile effort by the UN.
Tony, USA

Since it became obvious that the PA couldn't or wouldn't stop the attacks against Israeli civilians, the Israeli policy has been to deal with it wearing an iron fist in a velvet glove. It's now time to take that glove off.
Mark, USA

Israel has been forced to set up curfews and checkpoints to prevent terror attacks on innocent civilians. Any nation would do the same when faced with such a horrendous barrage of bombings and shootings. Let no one forget that the Palestinians had freedom of movement, a burgeoning economy, and, most important, imminent statehood, just two years ago. They then choose to reject Israel's and Clinton's offer and, inexplicably, responded with violence.
Elizabeth Anne G, MA, USA

It will take some monumental event to shock both sides into sitting down to resolve their differences

Garth, Zimbabwe
The current situation is hopeless. It will take some monumental event to shock both sides into sitting down to resolve their differences. Alternatively, the futility of the "war of attrition" will become apparent only after many more years of fighting.
Garth, Zimbabwe

Neither of the combatants will succeed in defeating the other. The final solution must develop along the lines of plurality - a shared state. Call it what you will - how about the "United States of the Middle East"? A shared government would evolve and the Israelis and Palestinians could direct their strengths at bettering the joint venture rather that battering each other.
Paul, UK

To those who suggest some sort of "international", "secular" or "world" state to replace both Israel and Palestine, I have one thing to say. Let's secularise some of the dozens of Muslim and Christian states before we pick on the one tiny Jewish state. Jews have lived for thousands of years in Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and secular countries and have suffered persecution, holocausts, expulsions. We have learned that the only way we can guarantee our own security is by standing up for ourselves. That is what the State of Israel is all about.
Elliot C, UK

A large international UN force should reoccupy the whole territory

Joost Douma, Netherlands
The world, represented by the UN, should take control, as we did in the Balkans. A large international UN force should reoccupy the whole territory, subdivide the land between the Israelis and Palestinians and stay there until a whole new generation has grown up. During this period a kind of Marshall-plan should be carried out to enhance the economic situation and provide enough employment.
Joost Douma, Netherlands

The cycle of violence will end when the world community condemns the deliberate killing of innocent civilians in an attempt to achieve political causes, justified or not. Until the world speaks in one voice against the deliberate targeting of civilians, there will be no peace. How and when did it become fashionable to kill and maim women and children to achieve a political end?
Irene, Germany

Both sides are at fault in this conflict and that the victims, over and over, are innocent civilians

Edrick, USA
This conflict has existed for as long as these cultures and religions have existed. The amount of hate and anger felt on both sides is indescribable. There needs to be many major changes made before anything resembling peace can be achieved. Craig, from South Africa, suggested a World State be created from the territories of Israel and Palestine. This idea, while not necessarily realistic, is exactly the kind of solution that could end this conflict. As long as Israel and Palestine exist as separate entities, there will be conflict and both will continue fighting for more land. I believe both sides are at fault in this conflict and that the victims, over and over, are innocent civilians.
Edrick, USA

How on earth does Israel think it can stop this escalation of violence through force. Each time they tighten the noose on the Palestinians it simply increases their will to resist. By punishing ALL Palestinians for the actions of extremists they widen the support base of militants. What happens once they lift the ban on movement in the West Bank? Do they seriously believe that by eliminating a few trouble makers and their families the problem will go away? I think they hope that it will - again illustrating that Israel's so called "solutions" are really just part of the problem.
Steve, New Zealand

Israel is fighting for their survival. There is sadly no possible hope for peace. Sharon can't negotiate with Arafat, because Arafat will agree and keep destroying Israelis. Israel has agreed to give some of the land to the Palestinians in the past, but I don't think the Palestinians want the land as much as they want the total annihilation of Israel.
Lenny, USA

The suicide bombing can be perpetuated by a small, determined group of players. The general Palestinian population should not have to pay for the actions of the terrorists. Any other viewpoint smacks of prejudice and persecution. The Israelis should not invade Palestinian towns under the pretext of pursuing militants. Israel holds the reins. It need only show the Palestinians that it can withdraw and begin dismantling the settlements. Will it? If it won't, the world should intervene.
Chris, US

The Israelis and the Palestinians ought to renounce violence by words and deeds and follow the Abraham Lincoln way of destroying his enemies by making them his friends. It's easier said than done but with the spiritual strength that the protagonists seem to have no lack of, it may be just possible.
John, Singapore

While acts of terror are obviously unjustifiable, both legally and morally speaking, I also find it hard to reconcile Israel's collective punishment tactics with any form of moral code; or more importantly, international law.
Roger, UK

There are elements of both sides who don't want peace

Kavita Sangani, USA
This so-called cycle of violence will continue because there are elements of both sides who don't want peace or rather have different notions of what the solution should entail. What we need are visionaries and not leaders to lead their people forward.
Kavita Sangani, USA

Arafat has been sidelined, now is the time to do the same to Sharon. That could be the starting point of a new peace initiative.
Shaun, France

Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians deserve their own state. The area should be occupied and administered by the UN. Perhaps 100 years from now, that zone could become an independent country, but not one that is based on any one religion or ethnicity. There should be no Jewish, Islamic, or Christian states. Separation of church and state is the only way to go.
John, USA

Arafat should be removed, but Sharon also. The two will never achieve peace because they both are more interested in the other.
Michael, UK

The military option provides containment only

Quentin Holt, New Zealand
The military option provides containment only. Negotiation is the most effective long term solution. Unfortunately terrorists don't negotiate, politicians do. Somehow I can't see Yasser and Ariel being buddies. Perhaps time will end the cycle of violence.
Quentin Holt, New Zealand

Israel has become by now an American colony. Put an end to the colony, let Israel behave like a mature, normal and modern country, and you will have peace overnight.
Antoine, Canada

Only an international peacekeeping force is able to break this double genocide. Now, who opposes this?
Joris van Staeyen, Flanders

The only way to stop the spiralling violence in the Middle East is for Israel to give the Palestinians what is rightfully theirs, their land and their freedom. It worked in South Africa, and it will work in the Middle East too.
John, UK

When Rabin was prime minister and signed the Oslo accord we had terror attacks and suicide bombings; when Peres was prime minister we had terror attacks and suicide bombings; when Barak was prime minister and tried to sign a deal to set up a Palestinian state the response was terror attacks and suicide bombings. For anyone to suggest that the violence is an on going feud between Sharon and Arafat are too easily misled by media reports .No matter who is prime minister of Israel, the suicide bombings seem to continue.
Kenny, Israel

Left-leaning liberals love to deplore "the cycle of violence". But what do they mean by it? The battle of Britain was a cycle of violence as was the allied invasion of Germany or the US military action in Afghanistan. Military action is the only option when dealing with an implacable enemy whose is incapable of regarding you with anything other than hatred.
Alan, UK

The explosion on a bus in northern Israel should come as no surprise to anyone. It is the latest in the eye for an eye circle of violence. What is surprising is the suspension by the Israeli Government of the planned peace talks with the Palestinians. It is very clear that any hope for peace can only come from the negotiating table.
Fikry Salib, USA

The world must stand one side against terror and its leaders. Only a true initiative against terror can be the trigger towards new talks between both sides for a lasting solution.
Lior, Israel

Israel should get out of the Palestinian lands, otherwise they will never live in peace and security. Israel's army is as bad as the terrorists killing innocent people. Both are terrorists, one of them in military uniform.
Shoaib, India

Only Israel can stop the violence. They have too much to lose. The Palestinians have nothing left to lose and are willing to go to the last inch of the land and fight for it.
Samer, USA

Both sides have to step back from blame and hatred to end the endless cycle of violence. Yes, the Palestinians are guilty of terrorism as the Israelis are of imperialism. To forge peace and a new nation, blame has to be abandoned and both sides need to sit down and negotiate. Classic counter-insurgency warfare is not viable as both communities are too closely intertwined.
J Jselby, UK

How can Israel possibly hold peace talks while some Palestinians continue murdering people? They deserve nothing for their cowardly actions.
Richard, Panama

More commitment is needed from the international community to restart talks. Violence cannot be a reason for not attempting a political resolution to the conflict. Talks must go on.
Suresh Gnasegarah, Malaysia

It's no use Israel pretending that it's worried that it will be wiped out of existence when Israel is nuclear armed

Amoroso, Kenya
They will never come to an outcome where one side gets full power over the country, it needs to be shared. They must both realise this before the two sides wipe one another out. These people have to stop living in the past and move forward. Surely they are more advanced, smarter and more educated than those in 1967!
Dani, Australia

Unless we root out the concept of enmity from our minds, there won't be peace anywhere.
Ramesh, India

Put yourself in the Palestinians' position and ask yourself: "If we can drive the Israelis out of Lebanon, out of the West Bank and Gaza, why stop there? Let's continue and drive them out of all of Palestine."
Israel, Israel

How can the Palestinians be the aggressors when the Israelis have all the weapons? The clear and easy way out of this mess is for Israel to change its policy of unreasonable and humiliating terms of settlement for the Palestinians. It's no use Israel pretending that it's worried that it will be wiped out of existence when Israel is nuclear armed and backed by the worlds sole super power.
Amoroso, Kenya

It's time for a new, younger generation of Palestinians and Israelis to take the helm

Zack, USA
I think it's time for a new, younger generation of Palestinians and Israelis to take the helm of the Middle East peace process; a generation not consumed by a selfish concern with either retaining or winning back the territorial spoils of the wars since '67; a generation unburdened by the impact those wars imparted on the egos of those who marched their peoples into them and are now called upon to find a path to peace.
Zack, USA

I believe the only solution between Israel and Palestine is for the UN to impose a state on Palestine and a new Israel state border because if we let this going on and on, the only victims will be civilians.
Mudila K, US

Israel and Palestine should work out everything on their own because the way the US is backing Israel and how (from what I read) al-Qaeda and other terrorists groups say that they're going to support Palestine, this could go even further and get worse as time goes by, and not just in the two countries.
David, Canada

It cannot be stopped unless people get rid of hatred. No security, no weapon, no fake insurance and partiality for or against one side will end it. If other nations are serious why don't they impose extra strict action and sanction on both Israel and Palestine?

I think a possible solution would be to declare the combined territories of both Israel and Palestine a world state, under the interim rule of democratically elected judges from across the world, similar to the international war tribunal. It is patently obvious that neither Sharon nor Arafat is capable of ending the conflict.
Craig, South Africa

Change of leadership is required on both sides

M. Siddiqui, UK
Peace can be achieved if we can first demolish the extreme hatred between Sharon and Arafat. They both are taking their personal battle to the war of their generations. Change of leadership is required on both sides.
M. Siddiqui, UK

Both Israelis and Palestinians need to ask themselves, "What am I doing to further the cause of peace?" not "What do we want the other side to do before we will even think about peace?"
Jennifer, USA

Well said, Jennifer, USA - simple and very wise. We can all, all over the world, ask this question of ourselves - "What am I, personally, doing to further the cause of peace in the world?" It isn't just up to Arafat and Sharon, or even George Bush - thank God!
Aboodi Shabi, UK

Palestinian authorities should take positive steps towards arresting members of militant groups. These people could be handed over for trial at The Hague. Israel in return could begin removing Jewish settlements from the West Bank and Gaza and release any frozen Palestinian funds.
Stephen G, UK Tyne and Wear

As an Israeli in self-imposed exile I can only shrug my shoulders, wait a few days until my emotional balance is reset, and dream of a day normality reaches the shores of Absurdistan (Israel/Palestine). It is quite sad to see people exploiting the latest outrage to vent their hatred towards one side or the other. Shame on all of you bigoted narrow-minded ignorant fools.
Ariel Kahana, Germany

Violence will only be reduced through greater security

David Wiseman, Oxford, UK
Violence will only be reduced through greater security. By that I mean that students going into a campus cafe, for example, must all have their bags scanned or searched. In Israel, supermarkets and malls all have guards with bag scanners etc. This needs to be extended to all buses, road entrances to downtown areas, universities and anywhere else you can think of. I don't know where the manpower will come from. Volunteer forces maybe.
David Wiseman, Oxford, UK

This conflict has already existed for 53 years and it will probably will continue for at least 50 years more. I do not see any solution as there is too much hatred between the two sides.
Viki, USA

Where is the international condemnation?

Ian, UK
Another day, another suicide bomber. Where is the international condemnation? Where are the concerned leaders of the UN standing up to protest?
Ian, UK

In reply to Ian, UK, who asks where are the concerned leaders of the UN? I would just like to point out that many UN resolutions have been ignored by Israel. To me it seems that unfortunately the Israelis do not take much notice of what the UN has to say.
Douglas, Scotland

I read through the comments, and most still take a side and blame the other. THAT is exactly the problem. Lots of innocent people have unnecessarily died on both sides and it must stop.
Ben, UK

I agree with Ben, UK. The one consistent of most view points on this issue seems to be blame. Someone has to be wrong, why don't we accept that maybe there is no quick solution?
Graeme, New Zealand

After today's homicide bombing on innocent students I hope Israel responds by eliminating all those responsible.
Lee Okon, UK

Peace can be achieved, but not with the help that has been offered

Dave H, USA
Peace can be achieved, but not with the help that has been offered. The Palestinians and Israelis need to negotiate their own terms for peace without the influence of the US, EU, UN or sympathetic Muslim nations. Nobody else has to live with the solution, therefore nobody else has a right to be involved. When they are truly ready to resolve the conflict, they will.
Dave H, USA

Only if the world realises that Palestinians are the real aggressors in this conflict and there should be a war that would liberate the West Bank from its terrorist infrastructure - only then can the violence stop. Until then the war will continue. What the Middle East needs is a concentrated conflict focussed on destroying those who seek to harm innocent civilians.
H Mir, USA

The trouble started when Sharon, before coming into office as the prime minister, strolled into the Temple Mount. Both sides are keen on enforcing their point of view. You can change the leaders, but this will not improve the situation. This is truly a tragic situation, when 16-year-olds are willing to take up arms and children are brought up in immense fear.
Paul, Australia

Paul, Australia: Sharon has every right to stroll into the Temple Mount, just like you and I do. Only mad fanatics can deny this right (or deliberate terrorists who seek a pretext for terror).
Van, Russia

There can be no peace until the US and Europe stop supporting Israel

Hasina Lookman, Canada
Civilised modern society is based on laws, courts of justice and trials. What we have in Israel and Palestine is far removed from any resemblance of modern society. Under what law does Israel think it is fit to kill a man without a trial? Under what law does any nation have the right to kill innocent civilians just because they happen to be there? Surely they must also be considered acts of terrorism. It is even more despicable that the US and Europe continue to stand by Israel without uttering a word. There can be no peace until the world wakes up and puts the brakes on the killings on both sides of the Middle East war. The US and Europe must stop supporting Israel.
Hasina Lookman, Canada

Whoever says that all Palestinians are terrorists are wrong. We should put ourselves in the shoes of Palestinians and see what happens to us. Instead of calling it terrorism, maybe Israel, Powell and Bush should try to go deeper and find the problem and see how these revenge killings on both sides can be stamped out.
Anita Rentz, USA

Israel as the bigger player has a duty to resolve the situation

Simon, USA
I think Israel has finally lost it. I think the policies of the Israeli government are not reflective of the attitudes of its people and surely are against their interests. The suicide bombings are obviously unjustified. There are better, morally justified ways to resist. But the Palestinians are in the weaker position. I believe Israel as the bigger player has a duty to think for both parties and resolve the situation. Though I understand the suffering and fear of the Israeli people, unfortunately they've chosen leaders who are excessively aggressive and not good natured - their agenda is clearly not to deliver peace.
Simon, USA

Israel is not responsible for its acts, it is simply acting in self-defence. The Palestinians are incapable of changing their tactics. Israel therefore must withdraw to 1967's limits and see if the Palestinians move to end the cycle of violence. It's the only way.
Alejandro, Nicaragua

Comment on Alejandro, Nicaragua's message: I think the only way peace can be achieved is by moving Israel back to the 1948 limit not just 1967. Is not supporting a modern day colonial state full of hypocrisy in itself?
Georgia Sanikadze, Tbilbis, Georgia.

If one side completely stopped then it would become very clear to the international community who the aggressor is

Kuhan, UK
This obscene trade in atrocities will only stop when one of them realises the old adage that violence begets violence. If one side completely stopped then it would become very clear to the international community who the aggressor is and then they would be able to act incisively. It will take great courage and pain for one to stop and simply take the blows from the other without reaction. There already is a precedence for the success of this policy: Mahatma Gandhi and the fight for Indian Independence.
Kuhan, UK

I've just come back from Palestine and Israel and was horrified by what I saw on the ground. Forget the news clichés and the reporters posing outside the old city walls. Here is a situation of fear, anxiety and uncertainty affecting both sets of communities who live practically under siege.

The only encouraging sign was that amongst the Palestinians, there was a movement emerging slowly demanding an end to attacks on civilian targets and a new approach to deal with the situation. This movement included writers, intellectuals as well as politicians. Arafat is perceived as inept and past his sell by date by most Palestinians which can only be beneficial in the long run. The latest Israeli outrage has undoubtedly put an end to this fledging movement and has given the extremists the ammunition to continue with the violence and suicide bombing and who knows what next.
Sam Allami, UK

I agree with Sam Allami, UK and Kuhan, UK. Isn't this a classic example of the futility of killing for peace? As Dr Said said, a non-violent, Gandhi-style on the Palestine and Israeli sides must be started now in co-operation.
Micah, Japan

If Israel believes it has right (as well as might) on its side, then let her do the right thing by leaving the occupied lands, returning to the 1967 boundaries, return the frozen Palestinian assets and arrest rather than assassinate Palestinians it believes are involved in killings. The UN, US and EU could all support the measure and if the Palestinians still resorted to violence, the civilised world would support Israel. Unfortunately, Mr Sharon and Mr Arafat, have a historical enmity and neither leader is prepared to do what they were elected to do: lead.
Mark Roberts, Ireland

I believe that wars are the final acts that change the history and destiny of people. Israelis and Palestinians hate each other to the extent that leads to the liquidation of innocent people from both sides. Thus the best solution is to leave both to continue their bloody agenda until they get fed up and respect precious life through peaceful coexistence between the two nations.
Ben, USA

Ben, USA: I cannot agree more. I think everyone should leave the two parties alone to resolve their problems. Unfortunately though the US is not leaving Israel alone. They are providing them with the weapons, the financing and intelligence to continue their aggression. If we are to leave them alone then do not support one side and tie the other's hand.
Elic, Canada

These so called high level talks are more like kids shouting at each other saying do this and I'll do that. Divide the land so that the Palestinians have a Palestinian state then let each side stay in their own territory.
Chris Baldelli, United States

Until it is recognised that there are rights and injustices on both sides, Israel and Palestine will not be able to move forward. They must both learn from their past, but they must put it truly behind them.
Alister McClure, London GB

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05 Aug 02 | Middle East
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