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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 September, 2003, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Can peace be restored to the Middle East?
Arab diplomats have condemned Washington's decision to veto a UN Security Council draft resolution which denounced Israel's decision to 'remove' Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The US was the only one of the 15 countries on the Security Council to oppose the resolution, with Britain, Germany and Bulgaria abstaining.

Palestinian UN representative Nasser al-Kidwa said that the veto would lead to "serious consequences".

A BBC correspondent says that the Israeli security cabinet has agreed in principle to remove Mr Arafat but has deliberately left the meaning of the word open.

The Israeli Deputy Prime Minister has revealed that the Israeli government has considered killing the Palestinian leader.

Can the roadmap still progress in this climate? Will peace be restored the Middle East?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

I think that if the Palestinians keep on using suicide bombing to get their way it might back fire (meaning that Israel will finally decide enough is enough and just launch a full military assault). The Americans can only restrain Israel for so long and once that time comes around all hell will break loose!
JDF, Canada

It is not Israel or US who should decide he needs to go, but the Palestinian people
Majid, USA
Arafat may be part of the problem but it is not Israel or US who should decide he needs to go, but the Palestinian people. The real problem there that breeds bombings, shooting, and hatred is the occupation. Occupation with iron fist of Israel for 50 years and hopelessness of Palestinians has brought us to this point. If the US wants peace in the region US needs to be somewhat non-partisan and put pressure equally on both Sharon and Arafat/PA. US being an unquestioning ally and friend to Israel has brought death and destruction to both Palestinians and Israelis. The only nation that can force peace upon them is US and US alone. Palestinians and Israelis have shown that they will not do it willingly.
Majid, USA

Killing a democratically elected leader is a very poor way to express your willingness to work with the people who elected him. The Israeli government's posturing shows that it wants power, not peace. Shame on the Israeli government, and shame on America for protecting it from criticism. I hope this isn't the kind of support that America will show for a truly democratic Iraq.
Gibran, United States

The core problem is the lack of resolve by the three main powers (Israel, Palestine and US) to want peace. Israel's behaviour in the indiscriminate killings of innocent children by it's troops is intolerable, as is the suicide bombings by Hamas, and US's seemingly complete support of all of Mr. Sharon's antics. We need REAL leaders now - not war mongers who seek power through the killing of innocent people.
Hasina L, Canada

Why do people keep referring to Arafat as a democratically elected leader? He ran virtually unopposed. His so called "opposition" voted for him. He's as "democratically" elected as Castro or Hussein. This belief clearly shows how delusional some people are on this issue.
Charles, USA

Yasser Arafat is clearly not interested in peace
Peter Wanyonyi, Kenya
Why, when the world talks about the conflict in the middle East, are Israeli concerns given such little hearing? Israel has shown amazing restraint in the face of relentless provocation and insincerity from the Palestinian leadership. The peace process is a shambles right now, but it is a miracle that it ever got that far. That is not to say that Sharon is a saint - he isn't. But he has demonstrated that Israel is committed to fulfilling the promises it makes as part of the deal for peace. The Palestinian authority has done nothing of the sort. They have kept moving the goalposts every time there is a real chance of peace. Yasser Arafat is clearly not interested in peace - the achievement of which would firmly put the focus on his personal failings as a leader. He would clearly rather avoid peace and thus have a perpetual scapegoat - Israel. Arafat must go - peacefully.
Peter Wanyonyi, Kenya

I strongly support the Israeli's decision to oust the Palestinian leader. He has been in power for too long. It's time for him to go and give the leadership to a young person who has the courage to dismantle the terrorists groups. While these groups are there, there is no hope for peace. It's because of Arafat that Abbas resigned as prime minister. Ariel Sharon also should go and give the leadership to a young blood with new commitments and ideas. I really believe that peace can never be achieved until Sharon and Arafat are not in power.
avinash, Mauritius

The United Nations needs to be more pro-active in ensuring the implementation of international law. A mandate needs to be drawn up for an UN police force to do that which the Palestinians can not - control the militants. This, however, must be accompanied by the structured withdrawal of Israeli settlements. Israel must know that if it does not follow the path to peace, and obey the rule of law, that it will be hit with devastating sanctions. Only with international intervention can the bitter stalemate be resolved.
James, UK

Frustration has driven the Israelis to make a very regrettable decision. Arafat is now more popular than ever before and Sharon is more frustrated than he ever was. Israel has lost its moral high ground and now it's hard to see any difference between Sharon and Arafat. Israel has thrown everything including the kitchen sink at the Palestinians in hopes that they would stop fighting but the Palestinians know their cause is just and they will continue to fight the unjust occupation. This Israeli frustration might be a sign that things might change for the better.
Valentine , USA

Israel's resources would be better spent destroying Hamas
PC, UK
Can Arafat control the militants- No. Killing him is pointless. Israel's resources would be better spent destroying Hamas or any other organisation that deliberately targets civilians in the current territory of Israel. Poverty and deprivation doesn't make terrorists to suggest so insults the worlds peaceful poor. If Palestinians want to continue their stated aim of destroying the state of Israel then they should not be negotiated with but contained until they reach a level of civilization that allows them to concede that the millions of people that make up the Jewish state have the right to live.
PC, UK

The so-called "roadmap" is flawed from top to bottom. The US is seeking to be both the declared ally of Israel and the impartial judge in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute at the same time. Ariel Sharon is attempting to carry out the murder of an elected head of state, on grounds of terrorism, when he himself has an equally bloody record as a terrorist. The only solution is to follow the advise of our European allies and restore the sovereignty of international law.
Edmund Burke, UK

OK, let's see if I understand this. In order to help the Palestinians attain freedom and democracy, America and Israel have to decide who their Prime Minister is. Also, we have to stand by and let the IDF assassinate or deport the one man who's been democratically elected to the position of Palestinian president and who retains a massive popular mandate amongst his electorate. Sure as hell doesn't sound like any version of democracy I've ever heard of.
StuartW, UK

It is disgraceful that the US continues to show bias and had to veto a perfectly reasonable resolution
YK, UK
Where is Mr Blair now - the man who laid down Bush's implementation of a roadmap to peace as his condition for supporting the Iraq war? His silence speaks louder than words. Blair needed Arab and Muslim support for the Iraq war. Now that Blairs war is over why should he bother with what Bush or Sharon does to Arafat? It is disgraceful that the US continues to show bias and had to veto a perfectly reasonable resolution.
YK, UK

Former US President Carter, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, has said that the United States is tilted toward Israel. Today's US veto shows that the US is not only tilted, but a rubber stamp for Israel. The unquestioning support of Israel by the US government is intended to raise more money for American politicians from the Rich and Powerful Pro-Israel lobby in the United States. Unfortunately this domestic American corruption has resulted in Middle East Chaos. The US cannot be trusted in a position of leadership when it's foreign policy is formulated for American political reasons. In the case of the Middle East, it is the USA that is the biggest problem fomenting anger and violence.
R. Barbour, USA

Yet again the US fails to do the right thing! Failure to support the Syrian resolution sends all the wrong signals to the Arab world. It is tacit support that it is OK to 'remove'Arafat.
Pat, UK

The Israeli equivocation on "removing" Arafat should demand the most urgent reaction from The UN, US and the UK. However he is cast - leader, supporter of terrorism or whatever, he is an elected Head of State who the Israelis may be planning to kill. How can this be allowed in a world that condemns murder? Tony Blair must act now.
Jonathan Hauxwell, England

The hatred between Sharon & Arafat is far too deep
Mort, Canada
I am of the belief that there will never be a meaningful peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians. The hatred between Sharon & Arafat is far too deep. Arafat should be removed forcefully & Sharon should retire & go back to being a farmer. It requires the next generation to arrive at a settlement. The fundamentalists on both sides will always prove to be a major obstacle towards achieving peace.
Mort, Canada

Peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come about when the United States applies it's full power and influence to that problem. But unfortunately, the United States seems to have wasted it's one power move on the invasion of Iraq. What a missed opportunity.
Joshua Lane, USA

While the fund freezing of Hamas and the condemning of the Arafat expulsion proposal show that some activity is being done by the UN, they are mere band-aids covering a deep 50-year old wound. Neither side seems to have made any productive steps towards peace other than their usual, hackneyed proclamations of progress. What ever happened to the supposed 'oversight' of the road map by the US and the UN, in terms of discerning the accountability of both parties?
Paxon, USA

It is a shame to see the Israeli people talk about peace and the horrors of terrorism while occupying land and oppressing the Palestinians the way that they have. If Israel were to move their citizens out of the settlements tomorrow the world would see peace in the region. The shameful truth is that the Israeli leadership knows what it takes to bring peace to Israel, but they rather sacrifice their own people in the hopes of eventually keeping all of the land that they now occupy.
gabriel, USA

For the good of the Palestinians, the UN and the world should demand that he (Arafat) step aside
JR, USA
Charles Taylor had to step down in Liberia for the good of the country and there were not too many cries from anyone that he was the elected leader. Arafat has continued his same song and dance for thirty years and destroyed 2 peace processes. His regime is as corrupt as they come and is guaranteeing that the Palestinians will never get a country of their own so long as he is in power. For the good of the Palestinians, the UN and the world should demand that he step aside.
JR, USA

The only hope for peace in the Middle East is if the extremist leaders, on both sides, Arafat and Sharon, step down. These two are pledged enemies of each other, while the more moderate factions want reconciliation and peace. Lisa Stiller, Reno, NV, USA
Lisa Stiller, USA

Judging from the tone of the current discussion, there is no chance for the peace process: To even discuss the deliberate murder or an elected leader is outrageous. What is more disgusting is having the 'peace broker' not even morally condemn such talk in clear terms. Instead, it takes an Arab nation to spell out the immorality of such a proposition. Clearly, the US-Israel symbiosis is operating on the same myopic terrorist logic as Hamas: 'Let us kill to stop the killing.' With simple logical analysis of the statement, any person with average intelligence realizes that it is an illogical statement.
Anne, UK

Removing Arafat is a nice idea, but where to? Wherever he goes he will be a problem. He can direct terrorist attacks and incitement from anywhere if he has a telephone and/or email. Yes, he is better off dead. I know that if he is killed this will give Hamas the perfect excuse for more terrorist attacks, but it is interesting that at the moment things are relatively quiet, are Hamas re-arming? I would like to mention that outside of Israel you don't hear the human side of the suffering here. In the bombing of a Jerusalem cafe, there was a father and daughter killed - one day before her wedding!! Her future husband put her wedding ring on her grave instead of on her finger on her wedding day!!!! Please recognise what Hamas is doing to peoples lives.
Howard, Israel

Arafat is not the problem and has never been the problem
Joseph Elias, USA
Arafat is not the problem and has never been the problem. The problem is Israel's illegal settlements and its refusal to return all of the Arab lands conquered in the 1967 War. No Israeli government - Labor or Likud - have been willing to relinquish the occupied lands. Land for peace was never a real option for the Israelis. The Palestinians have every right to struggle for their homeland and freedom from Israeli control.
Joseph Elias, USA

The United States has opened a Pandora's box of "eliminating" leaders. As long as the lid of that box is off the process for Peace anywhere is impeded. Killing, exiling or imprisoning a people's leader, no matter how much they may be disliked outside that group is an obvious contradiction to any talk of wanting peace or justice or democracy. Good work UN, for being the voice of integrity regarding sanctions for the war in Iraq and sanctioning the "elimination" of the Palestinian leader. As long as the Bush administration, the leaders of Israel or any other country get away with justifying murder or war in the name of some vague and elusive "threat of terrorism" our lives will be more and more fearful and without peace.
Margaret Brown, USA

Yes, Arafat should go, but its the Palestinians who should kick him out!!! The Palestinian people deserve liberty, freedom and democracy. In the 10 years since Oslo, Arafat has done as much to restrict Palestinian freedom as the Israeli occupation has. His ambition is to be the first leader of Palestine whatever the cost. Clearly his priorities don't lie with what's best for the Palestinian people; clearly he must go.
F, UAE

Peace can not be "restored" as there never was a peace. There were short periods without violence but not peace. Peaceful coexistence mean mutual respect, trade and cultural exchange, well defined border, travel with no restriction, tolerance. Arabs and Palestinians particularly never worked and never offered these to Israel. Instead, they dream to destroy this country if not in direct military confrontation, then by means of terrorism. Anything Arafat and his cronies offer is served as a stepping stone to their objective - they proved this time and time again. The peace may be possible only when all Arab and Muslim countries will declare Israel's right to exist, when they will eradicate terrorism, and when they will teach their people to live in peace among themselves, with Israel and with Jews in general, and with the rest of the world. Anything short of that is a deception.
Robert, Canada

The Israelis are setting the agenda but missing the point
Anon, UK
Does anyone think that the person who takes over after Arafat will be MORE inclined to compromise? History suggests the opposite I would suggest. I'm not a huge Arafat fan and he's achieved nothing for his people, but I don't think the whole ghastly mess in the Middle East is down to one 70+ year old bloke. The Israelis are setting the agenda but missing the point. And they are doing it deliberately in my opinion.
Anon, UK

They say that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Something fundamental must change to stop this vicious circle. Isn't "eliminating" not too far removed from murder? The solution obviously is not that easy, but can it be so difficult?
Manolis Kroussaniotakis, Cyprus

Arafat is the democratically elected leader of the Palestinians. Regardless of how poor a leader he may be, Israel has no right to remove him as this will only cause more violence and uproar. If the point of removing him is peace, surely this goes against the stated objective.
Sakhr Nammari, Palestine

As a person with a Jewish father and one with a lot of respect for the faith I find Israel's recent behaviour revolting
Alex, USA
Arafat should be expelled right along with Sharon. I'm so tired of my tax dollars supporting the irresponsible behaviour that has become part of Israel's politics. My country needs to stop supporting a state that behaves more like a terrorist organisation. This is right along with building a wall to separate the West Bank and passing laws that would prevent Arabs marrying Jews. As a person with a Jewish father and one with a lot of respect for the faith I find Israel's recent behaviour revolting.
Alex, USA

It might be good to point out that Mr Arafat is a leader who was chosen by his people in a fair election. That's more than Mr Bush can say.
Enrico Webers, Netherlands

Let us conclude that Arafat is not able to control his people, bring peace to the region and that he is an obstacle to the peace process. Well, what happens after Arafat is gone? Will Sharon with his horrible track record and hatred for Palestinians bring peace and will everything be fine? Or will things get worse? Peace will not come until the two old enemies (Sharon and Arafat are gone) and both parties stop killing each other.
Mushtaq Rizvi, Canada

The impetus must come from within the ranks of the Palestinians
Richard N. Iver, USA
While the expulsion of Arafat may provide Israel with a momentary sense of catharsis, it would almost certainly stall any progress toward peace for the duration of Arafat's exile. Arafat has been an obstacle to peace and should be removed from his current position of power, but the impetus must come from within the ranks of the Palestinians. For Israel to expel him will only provide a rallying point for renewed Palestinian militancy.
Richard N. Iver, USA

It would be a better choice to expel Ariel Sharon! Then it might be possible to start a real peace process.
Georgio da Luca, Italy

As long as Mr Arafat is perceived as the chosen leader of Palestine, Israel must deal with him, however ill his reputation in Israel might be. If the people of Palestine themselves see Arafat as a bane on progress, only then can he be removed from the Middle-East equation.
Hely Chavan, Indian in the USA

These two old stubborn men have too much history behind them
Maria Song, USA
Not only Arafat should be expelled, Sharon should also be expelled. These two old stubborn men have too much history behind them. Neither one has demonstrated any hint of willingness to address the issues fairly and squarely. It's time for them to move on, and let the new generation take over.
Maria Song, USA

Of course Arafat shouldn't be expelled. Such a move is emotion-driven one and will only succeed in galvanizing the Palestinians and antagonizing the world community. However, Israel has a good track record of shooting itself in the foot, so it wouldn't surprise me to see Arafat go packing.
Chris, US

No, it's nonsense. He is a great leader to Palestinians. So Israel has no right to expel him. The best policy is to restore a dialogue again.
Han Gye Soo, South Korea

Arafat should be expelled but only if Sharon goes with him
Neil, USA/Europe
Yes, Arafat should be expelled. But only if Sharon goes with him. Preferably to a remote island somewhere. One is as bad as the other and neither one have shown any determination for peace.
Neil, USA/Europe

Oslo brought Arafat and most if not all of the current Palestinian leadership into the territories. The idea was for them to form a government and control their land. What do Israelis see as a result: Death. What is then the point of keeping this leadership in the territories?
Raul, USA

I do not like Arafat who is too Machiavelli in my sight. Nevertheless, Arafat is a President who was freely elected by the Palestinian people, unlike all the other leaders in the Middle-East, including those who are the best friends of the West. What new Middle-East is this? An elected President is expelled while dictators are granted the honours for peace-makers?
Chadi Bou Habib, Lebanon

Removing Arafat is none of our business.
Mel, US
Removing Arafat is none of our business. If Palestinians want, let them remove him. These kinds of policies are driving against us, who support Israel with blindfold.
Mel, USA

Israel and America decide Arafat should be ostracised from the peace process and then Israel decides to physically expel him from his land. These so-called democratic governments ignore the fact that Arafat is the democratically-elected leader of the Palestinians and hence the massive rallies of support for him by the Palestinians. Arafat is the embodiment of the Palestinians' struggle; he is the symbol of Palestine. At 74 he is in his waning years and yet he is what Israel fears so much; a leader who will negotiate the negotiable but also reject the unacceptable. I bow to his iron will.
Omar, Lebanon

When a country like East Timor gets its independence and is recognized as a nation, than why it's impossible for the Palestinian people to do so? Is Israel scared to have a free Palestine right across its border?
Wali Miral, Afghanistan

Over 50 years ago, the Arab world rejected the idea of forming two states, one Arab and one Jewish. Instead, they tried to remove the Jewish people by force, which ultimately resulted in failure and hastened the creation of Israel as a Jewish state. Since then, Arab countries have often tried to conquer and destroy Israel, which has only resulted in loosing more land and creating more suffering for the Palestinians.
Michael, USA

I am Palestinian and I believe peace can and did in fact exist in Palestine and Israel
Rami, Palestine
I am Palestinian and I believe peace can and did in fact exist in Palestine and Israel. My 95-year-old grandmother had a Jewish neighbour in the 30s and 40s with whom she used to get along well. It didn't take any politicians or military/militia action to bring peace between these neighbours. Similarly it wasn't a politician or a military personnel who wed my aunt's Muslim Palestinian father to her Jewish French mother in the 30s.
Everyone has a distorted or at least one sided look at history and the politics of the region. The result is hatred, fear of the other, ignorance...
Rami, Palestine

Peace in the Middle East? Perhaps. Generation upon generation of citizens schooled in the loathing of the other side, a nation founded on blood, a practically enslaved people with no hope but violence, how can there be any resolution?
John F., US

The dynamic driving this conflict is the same now as it has been since 1948, which is the Palestinians' refusal to acknowledge the right of self-determination in Israelis. When Palestinian terrorists speak about "occupied lands" they don't mean simply the West Bank and Gaza, they mean ALL of Israel too.
Tom, US

Israelis deciding whether to turn left or right, whether to eat in this cafe or that, whether to take the dog out now or wait five minutes, whether to go buy a loaf of bread or not are literally making life-and-death decisions. Until that changes peace is impossible.
Inna Tysoe, USA

What is going on in the Middle East is a patriot action by the Palestinian people to free themselves and their country from occupation and oppression. These patriots are militants and not terrorists. They are freedom fighters who are defending themselves against Israeli and American hegemony.
Frank Link, US

Under the current situation, President Bush's grandiose Road to Peace Plan surely appears to be in jeopardy. The biggest detriment has been the intransigence of two men, Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon.
Dinker Vashisht, India

One of the most glaring problems with this peace process that nobody seems to have addressed is the Israeli claim that the Palestinians must clamp down on terrorists, but how can they when the Israelis, in the initial stages of the collective punishment for this latest intifada, have totally demolished the Palestinian security forces. By insisting on what they know to be impossibility, the Israelis are making the conflict intractable.
Jan, UK

I would like some of your readers to tell me exactly what Arafat has brought to his people - he has brought them NOTHING but empty promises. Of course there are always two-sides to any story, but from the beginning of the State of Israel the Arabs have not recognized the right of Jews to live in this land. The tragedy of all this is that our children and the Palestinian children are doomed to have a life full of bloodshed and misery. In summation, the olive branch has been held out to Arafat for many years, and what has Israel had in return - bloodshed and sorrow.
Devorah Kedar, Israel

Gaza is currently the biggest open air prison in the world
Kristof Van Brussel, Belgium
Gaza is currently the biggest open air prison in the world. The building of "the fence" is the West Bank is the symbol of the policy of the Sharon government to reduce Palestine to little "controllable" enclaves. The Palestinian people deserve a state not a prison. Ariel Sharon is the biggest obstacle for peace in the region. With him in power the Roadmap will remain a Roadblock.
Kristof Van Brussel, Belgium

The only peace process that will work between Israel and Palestinian will be the one created by the United Nations, without America's involvement. This is because America has repeatedly shown their bias against the marginalized Palestinian people.
Ikeogu Okoro, Nigeria /US

I see that Hamas is more interested in killing innocents than helping the peace movement. No power in the world can help their cause if they keep killing helpless people. They should also stop complaining of retribution by Israel, you reap what you sow.
Vishy, India

The suicide attacks will continue since Israel has ensured that the Palestinians have nothing to live for
Dr Shazad Amin, UK
There will never be peace until Israel has the intelligence to understand that occupying their land and daily humiliation of the Palestinian people has led to them being dehumanised. The suicide attacks will continue since Israel has ensured that the Palestinians have nothing to live for - they are all already psychologically dead.
Dr Shazad Amin, UK

Unfortunately, everyone seems to be trying to treat the symptoms not the root cause of the disease. Throughout the Palestinian educational system, in schools, during Friday sermons and in their textbooks, peace with Israel is not taught, let alone encouraged. Why the Palestinians continue to fill the minds of their next generation with hatred and suspicion is beyond me- it's not getting them anywhere.
Daniel, US

The peace won't be reached until US changes its position to be fair and impartial broker rather than providing unequivocal support to the Jews state.
Nathen Tompson, USA

People of Israel elected Sharon because he projected himself as being tough on terrorism and he pledged increased security for the people. The reality is that Sharon failed miserably and the cycle of violence dramatically increased during his administration. Israelis were wrong electing Sharon; unfortunately Palestinians are equally wrong supporting Arafat.
R.Derer, Canada

The attitude of the politicians are the reason for this conflicts, they live happily, surrounded by bodyguards and in well protected area, but those people who elected them live in fear everyday between life and death.
Haji, Singapore

The US is not an honest broker and never can be
Sher, US
The US is not an honest broker and never can be. US politicians - Republican and Democrat alike - are far too dependent upon the pro-Israel lobby for campaign funds. The UN needs to step in, separate both sides and protect both sides. Until that happens, this cycle of kill and be killed, strike and counter strike will go on, just as it has for decades.
Sher, US

The US needs to withdraw from this problem and let the UN deal with it. Bush has not had success with anything yet and the Roadmap is one more miserable failure. A government that puts a general in charge of the State Department knows nothing about the art of diplomacy.
Phil, USA

Why can there not be a team which monitor both sides? Similar to Kosovo, between North Korea and other places. I think it is better solution to start peace and further process. Both side stop killing innocent people. As per my view Israeli started first killing of people since roadmap started. It looks like a chain reaction. In my opinion Israeli must allow a monitor team between Israeli and Palestine.
Fiddu, Germany

There will never be peace unless the rights of the people are recognised
Irshad Naseem, Oman
When a hypocrite like Mr Bush will make the road map the end will be like this. Look at what Bush and company say and what they do. No Surprise! Road map or no Road map. There will never be peace unless the rights of the people are recognised be it Israeli or Palestinians.
Irshad Naseem, Oman

A people, any people have an inherent right to protect themselves from an invader. Palestinians should NOT be an exception. You must take into consideration before you pass judgment that they have been stripped of nearly all means of defence from the invader who incidentally has had the seizure of LAND for their OWN from the outset generations ago as their primary goal.
Edw, USA

The roadmap to peace could achieve its objectives, only if both sides realise that being inflexible would leave them nowhere. Killing innocents on either side is a crime against humanity committed by both sides. The need of the hour is not revenge killings, but a sincere yearning for peace and a willingness to understand each other's views.
Jayakumar Ebanazer Pradeepam, India

There is no peace process going on or even at sight. Palestinian side has no authority that could represent the nation as a whole. Israeli side has no peace-willing persons in the government. Palestine should get more aid to set up a police force and a parliament which the people could trust and relate to. Israel should respect at least some of the countless national borderlines agreed in the past. PM Sharon and Pres. Arafat should step aside immediately, because they hate each other's guts and will never change.
Oula, Finland

The situation in the Middle East reminds me of a man holding a bee in his hands. The bee wants to get free and stings the man's hand while the man keeps holding the bee because he thinks that doing so he protects the rest of himself. A imprisoned bee will always sting. The man could either crash the bee between his hands or open them to let the bee free. The first choice is called "genocide", the second is a courageous act opening the way to peace. The solution is in the man's hands.
Kostas Kalimaftsis, Greece

I think this conflict is becoming a zero sum game because the extremists from both sides are taking control of how the conflict is going. What a human tragedy!
B Agusdinata, The Netherlands

The peace plan can only survive if the root of the problem is addressed - the occupation of Palestinian land
John L. Rogers, Brazil
Having just spent the whole of last month staying in Baka, next door to the German Colony in Jerusalem, I feel sick at this latest outrage and my thoughts and prayers go to the many people whose lives will never be the same. There is no moral comparison between the deliberate murder and mutilation of innocent human beings by brainwashed Arab terrorists, and operations by the Israeli authorities to protect its citizens by targetting those responsible. Until the suicide bombings stop - and the ball lies firmly in the Palestinian court there - there can never be a realistic peace.
Gill, UK

The peace plan can only survive if the root of the problem is addressed, i.e. the occupation of Palestinian land. Since the Israelis are so good at demolishing houses (especially other people's) they should start demolishing the illegal settlements which are outside of the border specified by the UN in 1969. If they show reluctance to carry this out, the USA should bring pressure to bear on them by cutting their annual subsidy and refuse to supply spare parts for the American-made aircraft which are being used to terrorise the Palestinian people.
John L. Rogers, Brazil

What roadmap? Was there a roadmap? Another Bush fiasco!
Otis Hill, USA

The problem with the roadmap is the duration. Why a Palestinian state in 2005? Why not tomorrow or after a month? It can be possible if the initiators willing to do. Israel should leave the occupied territories for a month and determine whether those attacks are against the Jews and for the destruction of Israel, or for a free land of Palestine.
Zulfi, India

I think this cycle of violence will just continue until both sides finally realize they are both at fault, and stop blaming each other.
Josef J., UK and Norway

What Peace Plan? That died months ago due to alack of commitment from Palestinian leadership and lack of resolve of Israeli leadership to remove Yasser Arafat and his policy of stifling of any peace progress. He claims his people are in anarchy and cannot control them, yet he insists on displaying his relevance and flexing his power at the expense of any real peace progress.
Jared, USA

We have decided that we will not give in to terror
Daniel Greenspan, Israel
People were out having a good time in Jerusalem tonight, despite the earlier terror attack in the country today. This is because we have decided that we will not give in to terror. In common with many other Israelis, I did not change my plans to go out to eat tonight - in the centre of Jerusalem - because to do so would mean that terror can win.
Daniel Greenspan, Israel

I am a strong supporter of Israel. However, I do think that the roadmap is dying. The way to revive it, I believe, is that the Palestinian Authority quell the terrorist organisations in their midst. And for Israel to end the incursions and attacks into the Territories. Only then will peace have a remote chance.
Art Citron, USA

Peace is never going to be achieved thanks to one man alone. Mr Abbas tried his best and failed in impossible circumstances, now it is the turn of Mr Qurei to continue on the same path. Everyone has to give the new Palestinian PM the benefit of the doubt. Mr Qurei is not going to get any guarantees that peace will be achieved; he will soon be between a rock and a hard place just like his predecessor. If the majority of the Palestinians are willing to back Mr Qurei in implementing the road map, he might fare better. Both Palestinians and Israelis have allowed internal power struggles to influence their efforts in the peace process. To break that vicious circle, Mr Qurei needs full control over the Palestinian security apparatus.
Topi Lappalainen, Finland

The problem was created by the UN and should be settled by the UN
Chris Gordon, Hong Kong
The peace process is not dependent on one man however it will never work with the current crew in the White House. For the US to be able to broker peace they must be even handed which they are not. The problem was created by the UN and should be settled by the UN. Agreement must be reached forcing the Palestinians and Israelis to the table with say two nations either side, say Jordan and Egypt with the Palestinians and UK and America for the Israelis. When agreement is reached the UN imposes the resolution. I like the idea that Jerusalem is separately controlled by the three major religions somewhat like the Vatican City. Settlements are all removed and the Palestinians provided with the assistance that gives them a reason to live. Hammas and the Israeli army are as bad as each other. It will take a separate force to give peace a chance.
Chris Gordon, Hong Kong

Peace can start if we show both peoples it is in their interest to support such thing. The super powers need to remove settlements and push Israel to 1967 boarders, this will fulfil UN resolutions and convince the Arabs that we are serious about peace. The Palestinians should then be disarmed, their structure rebuilt and should be never armed to inflict damage on Israel. Israel needs to be secure within its boarders.
Ahmad Hmoud, Jordan, Amman

The solution is clear and has never changed since the conflict began decades ago. What is required is a leader, who, like a parent standing between two fighting siblings, keeping them BOTH out of harms way while a compromise is worked out. Who in the UN fits the profile of a country capable of doing this? The answer has always been and still is - the US.
Ed, Canada

The resignation of Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas is a serious setback to the Middle East peace talks, but not a fatal blow.
There is no way peace talks can endure or continue under the atmosphere of distrust and continued violence on both sides of the peace process. Perhaps, this temporary set back will create the opportunity for all parties and combatants to come to terms and full realization that a permanent or enduring cease-fire is the key and is the only solution to any just and lasting settlement of the longstanding Middle East Crisis. The question is though: are the Middle Easterners willing to help themselves by renouncing armed struggle and endorsing non-violent means, tolerance and deliberations for democracy, freedom, peace and self-determination.
Jack Igonikon, USA

There is little doubt that the peace process needs a leader who can take on the militants, however, in order to do that they have to demonstrate that the end result will be worth it.
Peter Allingham, UK

Regardless of who takes over, it is clear the Palestinians will never achieve statehood until Arafat "retires" and the militants are crushed or disbanded. Rightly or wrongly, Israel will call the shots on any statehood schemes, and it is highly unlikely they will satisfy Palestinian statehood aspirations until Arafat leaves the stage for good.
Chris, US




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Palestinian women sit on a roof top of the home of a Palestinian family in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on 20 November 2006. Human shields
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