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Tuesday, 24 October, 2000, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Is the Middle East peace process dead?
Can the Middle East peace process survive the unprecedented levels of violence between Israelis and Palestinians?

Weeks of chaos in Israel and the occupied territories have left hundreds dead, most of them Palestinians. Despite intense diplomatic efforts, the violence continues.

Can there still be talk about a Middle East peace process? What can be done to restore calm? How can trust ever be rebuilt between the two sides after the ugly scenes of the past few days?

We discussed the crisis in the Middle East on Talking Point ON AIR.

Select the link below to watch Talking Point On Air

  • Your comments since the programme
  • Your comments during the programme
  • Your comments before the programme

    This debate is now closed.

    Click here to see our earlier Talking Point on the Middle East crisis

    Your comments since the programme

    I don't understand how people can be so blind and not see that Jerusalem is the heart and the soul of every religion and therefore should be an independent city.
    Abdel, London, UK

    Neither side can live in peace until BOTH parties can agree not to claim world pity

    Jason Ho, Singapore
    Whether Israel's response has been brutal or whether the Palestinians have tried to sabotage peace every time peace is being offered, I wish to remain neutral. But the prevailing view seems to angle towards over-stressing sympathy for the Palestinians and condemning Israel for everything. This is terribly wrong - neither side can live in peace until BOTH parties can agree not to claim world pity.
    What Ariel Sharon did was a blatant act of disrespect for Muslims world-wide, but we should not forget that his actions are one of many cruel deeds of which both Israelis and Palestinians are guilty of. BOTH sides have blood on their hands - remember the lynching of Israeli soldiers? Don't just try to forget the animosity from one side - please, bigotry won't help anything.
    Jason Ho, Singapore

    Give Palestinians schools instead of land. Education is the only remedy for ignorance, intolerance and hatred.
    Suppose they get the land they claim. They will then start another war to get the Jews out of there, and if they get that too, they will fight with the Christians and then with the Arabs and then....
    There will never be an end (they've been fighting for thousands of years!) unless they change their mind-set.
    Regina Faria, Santa Cruz, USA

    Having read many history books, past experiences counts. For Israel, its just like having won a battle and lost the war! There will never be peace in the region judging from the demands from both sides. No one is able to agree to each other's demand for political reason. Stone throwing Palestinians is not the whole picture! There are those with rifles as well and vice versa for the Israelis.
    Botak, Singapore

    Does anyone sincerely believe that the US is qualified as an honest peace broker in the Middle East?

    Magda Saikali, USA
    A peace broker should be impartial. The US has vetoed over 22 UN resolutions condemning Israel for its illegal occupation, massacres, oppression, torture, and various other crimes. US officials have publicly repeated time and time again that they are 100 per cent committed to Israel.
    Does anyone sincerely believe that the US is qualified as an honest peace broker in the Middle East? Any wonder then that people of conscience all over the world are protesting against Israel and the US? This continuous commitment to Israel no matter what it does is a shame!
    Magda Saikali, Minneapolis, USA

    The Palestinians must decide if the existence of Israel is to be. If it is, it is time to stop all the phoney public relations ploys that gain sympathy but do nothing to create peace and good neighbours.
    It's time to put their energy into building their country and allowing the Israelis to live in peace. It's time to take care of the land they do have and to prepare to give their children a better life. When Israel's existence is accepted, there will be peace. Let the Palestinian leadership put its time and energy into building a better future, not into destroying today.
    Mohammed, Santa Monica, USA

    If you treat people like animals long enough, they will begin to act like animals

    Peter Di Gangi, Canada
    Like most other people, I have been appalled at the latest round of violence in the Middle East. In particular, I have been shocked by the different standards which are used to judge the conduct of the parties to the dispute. There is no way of condoning the brutal death which those two Israeli soldiers met at the hands of the mob.
    But on the other hand, it seems obvious that if you treat people like animals long enough, they will begin to act like animals. Is it any more civilised for the Israeli Defence Force to use snipers to take out Palestinians in a clinical, methodical manner? I don't think so. The relative numbers of casualties speak for themselves. Neither Israel nor Palestine belongs in the community of civilised nations at this point in time and the world community would do well to tell them so.
    Peter Di Gangi, Ottawa, Canada

    Israel and the Palestinians are like two spoilt children arguing over a burst football. It is high time that an adult stepped in and took the ball away, and gave then a new one on condition that they behave, if they don't, then the very first indiscretion will result in the new ball being taken away. There will NEVER be an agreement on Jerusalem, therefore the only answer is to allow each side to control for a month at a time, possible? I doubt it.
    Chris, Germany

    American brokered peace talks are waste of time

    Abdul Wahid, Hong Kong
    It is illogical to think of peace in that part of the world unless until Palestinians get what they deserve. American brokered peace talks are waste of time.
    Abdul Wahid, Hong Kong

    Illusions, and a wilful blindness! I really wonder how some people can believe the peace can be established, when justice is ignored. No thing lasts forever!
    Moez Abidi, Norway

    I think the issue of trust lies with the way the world views our president as an individual ever since the Monica Lewinsky scandal. I feel he has lost the respect of the American people and the world. Without respect one cannot achieve trust. The peace between Israel and palestine is extremely important to the US. Our president has done an outstanding job in the past to try and make it work between the two rivals. I feel Clinton stands alone without the support of his country. Can you blame him all the media tries to do is make him look like a fool in the eyes of the world. Now that this has been accomplished we wonder why no-one takes him seriously.
    Felicia Farrell, Miami Dade, Florida

    Israel is wrong. It is the US undercover agent in the region, but it fears its neighbours. Jews from abroad do not belong to that region. Israel just decided to bring in as many Jews as possible to ensure a large Jewish population in the region. It will never work. There will not be any peace as long as Israel refuses to grant the Palestinian people total, unconditional sovereignety. The main responsible for the crisis? Have a look at the White House Administration: a huge lobby led by Jewish people. Albright, Cohen, Berger. It is a SHAME to act like that Mr.President!
    Al-Maaruf, Dubai

    As a US citizen, I say stop all aid to Israel

    Christine, Columbus, Ohio, USA

    The Western support of Israel through arms and money is shameful. We citizens of the West must stand behind our own human rights convictions. Not fall prey to the lobbiest. The Palestinians have always had the right to exist in the region freely. It is a shame that the West has taken that away, not the Israelis. If Israel were not artificially planted in the region, and nurtured on the arms and monitary support, there would not be this conflict. The only way to settle this is to level the playing field. As a US citizen, I say stop all aid to Israel, in all capacity.
    Christine, Columbus, Ohio, USA

    If only Palestinian kids are participating in the 'protests', and they are only throwing stones in Gaza, who is firing live fire at Israeli citizens sitting in their homes in WEST JERUSALEM (Is west Jerusalem Holy to anybody?) Who is firing live ammunition at passing civilian cars on the roads of Israel, Killing and wounding Israeli people? And a word to all of those saying so bluntly we have no right being in Israel. You better check your rights on the place you call your own now. You might be surprised !
    Gisele R., Jerusalem, Israel

    While the violence over the past few weeks has caught the headlines it really does not change the point that peace can only be achieved through dialogue and that sooner or later serious talks will have to resume. I'm sure that the majority of Palestinians and Israelis want that. In the end peace will only be achieved if israel relinquishes control of the Gaza and West Bank to the Palentinians. However, land by itself may not lead to peace. Fencing the Palentinians into a few enclaves will not help. Palestinians need to feel in overall control of their destiny and also to see benefits to their daily lives from any peace deal if it is to work. Therefore, although the Israelis and Palestinians must negotiate a solution the international community must also ensure that enough aid is given to any resulting Palestinian state so that the Palestinians living there feel that peace has left them better off. Only then will this terrible conflict come to a close.
    Iain, Norwich, UK

    The Israelis have no justification for this violence. They are complaining about the 5 million who died in the holocaust. Is it the Palestinian's fault? They don't belong to this land. Whereas Palestinians have been living here since Adam. How can they occupy a Muslim land and the world can stay quite? Can anybody justify these questions?
    Adnan, Manchester, UK

    The overwhelming majority of Palestinians are willing to co-exist with Israel if only they give their land back (pre-1967) for peace and security

    Issa Datoo, Canada
    If the Israelis started treating the Palestinians as equals rather than subordinates. Many Israelis use the excuse that there are Palestinians that do not recognise the state Israel as a means of justifying their acts against the Palestinians. But the overwhelming majority of Palestinians are willing to co-exist with Israel if only they give their land back (pre-1967) for peace and security. Arafat calls for the repatriation of the indigenous people of Palestine who fled from Israeli occupation and the land returned (pre-1967).
    Issa Datoo, Canada

    Until the religious bigotry from both sides stops, nothing will ever improve. This has been going on since biblical times. And with what appears to be "Islam's" wish to dominate the world, things will not only get worse in Israel but every other place where religious bigotry exists
    Clarke M, United Kingdom

    I can not understand what concessions have the Israelis made! Only, the moment when Israelis give the Palestinians their land according to UN resolutions, it would be all over and peace will be restored in this Holy Land.
    Ahmed Darwish, Nottingham, UK

    Above all else Palestinians need a permanent, secure settlement, without this they cannot grow and prosper

    James Kean, UK
    Above all else Palestinians need a permanent, secure settlement, without this they cannot grow and prosper. To force these people to live as refugees, as so often in history Palestinians have been forced to do so, is an offence to the concept of human rights. The US and the UK, albeit indirectly, have played a major role in creating this (let us not forget that Israel (then Palestine) was formerly under UK control). This is a very old stain of blood on both nations; they have yet to wipe it clean.
    James Kean, UK, Leicester

    I wonder why people even ask where the problem lies...look back to how and why Israel was created and which countries played decisive roles, and you shall have the answer...
    Andy, Edinburgh

    The pro-Israel bias in the US is evident from the different reactions to events in the occupied West Bank. The killing of the 12-year-old Palestinian boy promoted Bill Clinton to expressed "anguish" but then questioned what the boy was doing there in the first place. The lynching of the two Israeli soldiers promoted universal expressions of outrage from the entire administration. It seems that the death of a Palestinian boy (one of many) is less important than the death of two soldiers.
    Chris Ahmed, Atlanta, GA

    What right did the UN ever have in the first place to declare a state in an area belonging to another nation. The declaration of the state Israel is for all thinking human beings clearly illegal. It wasn't in fact just USA, UK and France who "made" Israel.
    Ingar Restan, Namsos, Norway

    The Israeli's and Palestinians have been fighting for centuries. If they want to go to war, then so be it. Who are we to decide what happens in another country? We have no right to have part in the talks, and neither does Bill Clinton.
    Lewis Williams, Salisbury, England

    There is only one solution, Israel withdraw from Palestinian land and secure its own border and live peacefully within its own borders instead of slowly taking over Arab land.

    Nasreen, New York, USA
    Peace can only come when Israel and US will understand that the power will not buy peace for their citizens. There is a limit to suppression of human beings. The parties have been negotiating for 7 years and yet US and its allies want Palestinians to come back to negotiate. Negotiate what? There is only one solution, Israel withdraw from Palestinian land and secure its own border and live peacefully within its own borders instead of slowly taking over Arab land. This does not need any more negotiations.
    Nasreen, New York, USA

    In most acts of mob violence in most parts of the world we see the presence of police as a means to control the situation. It is also quite common to see rubber bullets and teargas used to control a situation that has become out of hand. Why then are the Israelis accused of being the aggressor when they are doing the same?
    Children learn what they are taught. What hope is there for peace when such hatred is instilled from such a young age and children are used in such violent acts?
    Adele, Israel

    Peace process can survive only when US treats the have's and the have not's equally. When the most powerful nation in the world openly takes the side of Israel, does anyone expect that Arafat to listen to what US says? A stronger Israel is very important for the world, but not on the expense of Palestinian's right to self-rule.
    Mark Balasundram, Toronto, Canada

    I accept the anger now felt on both sides. How can any Israeli justify the tanks and helicopters against predominately stone throwers? Also the UK should distance itself from the US policy rather than being its poodle, as they have one rule for one and another rule for others.
    L Stevens, UK

    Being an American citizen, I feel ashamed of my government's biasedness and for its being blind towards the brutality and atrocities of the Israeli government. America had been a land of fair minded and just people but in the case of Palestine issue, our government's complete lack of conscience, fairness and justice will hurt our position as the leader of 'human rights and free world'. We cannot justify our position. Unless we take a non-partisan role, such brutality and arrogance may further accentuate in future.
    Abdul Momen, Boston, USA

    I am saddened that Jerusalem in 2000 is such a violent place - a far cry from the city I saw 15 years ago

    Henry Gee, UK
    I visited Israel in 1985. As a Jew, coming to Jerusalem felt like coming home. I visited the Western Wall. I visited the Mosques of Omar and Al-Aqsa. I observed correct Islamic ritual and the Moslems I met there were always courteous and friendly. Seeing the spot where Mohammed ascended to heaven was an inspirational experience that I shall never forget, and I count myself privileged to have seen it. I thank the Arab authorities for allowing me to do this. In contrast, when the Western Wall - Judaism's holiest place - was under Arab control until 1967, Jews were not permitted even to visit it.
    Now what I see on the BBC news is Moslems coming straight from prayers at Al-Aqsa, armed with stones to hurl at Jews worshipping at the Western Wall below them. But does the camera lie? Whom should I believe - anti-Jewish rhetoric or the evidence of my own eyes?
    The current situation seems to be a part of a wider resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism. Until this cools down or goes away, there can be no solution to the Middle East conflict. Whatever Israelis and Jews say will be of no consequence. However, it is heartening to read, on this site, the voices of moderate, civilised Moslems who question whether the violence and hatred shown by the Palestinians - even emerging from one of Islam's holiest mosques - has anything to do with Mohammed's teaching in the Koran. I am saddened that Jerusalem in 2000 is such a violent place - a far cry from the city I saw 15 years ago, which seemed to be a constant festival of ecumenism and religious tolerance.
    Henry Gee, Hertfordshire, UK

    I am afraid there is just not enough space for the two peoples in such a tiny country. Neither of them is to blame for the current violence. Geography is.
    GS Angelopoulos, Belgium

    It has become increasingly and sadly clear that the vast majority of Palestinians do not want any 'peace' that still include the very existence of Israel. Many, if not most, Israelis, support coexistence and would love to give full rights to Palestinians - if they could feel safe doing so. Why are Palestinians proving their worst fears justified?
    Ideally I would like to see a federated Holy Land, with every town governing itself by consensus, and parliamentary democracy balanced by a permanent council, like the UN, with Jewish and Arab seats. But who listens to ideals once the fanatics start rioting, desecrating and killing?
    Matthew Mausner, Portland USA

    All the Arab World is supporting Israel, which is great! But I always wonder why Lebanon has to pay the price of what is going on? They've already paid their part for 25 years? Why Israel has the right to bomb Lebanon and nobody reacts? I think it's time to let Lebanese people live after all what they've suffered....
    R. Mayadah, UK

    I hope a way can be found through this complicated crisis that will result in a lasting peace

    Dr. Colin Humber, Birmingham, UK
    A couple of thoughts with regard to what I have read in some of the news reporting of the crisis; (i) Over 60% of what used to be Palestine lies within the state of Jordan - why is there no talk in any of this of the Jordanians "also" giving up land. And (ii), there have been many references to the sites in Jerusalem "sacred to Christians and Muslims".
    It should also be pointed out that, as there was a temple on the mount approximately 3000 years ago, Jerusalem is also sacred to Jews as well. I hope a way can be found through this complicated crisis that will result in a lasting peace.
    Dr. Colin Humber, Birmingham, UK

    It is unfortunate that the Israeli people continue to suffer from a fortress mentality that has continued to inhibit not only their relations with their Arab neighbours, with much of the rest of the world. How can this mentality continue when they have the strongest military in the Middle East and nuclear weapons?
    Brian, Seattle, USA

    The Arabs want an international investigation as well as the Israeli forces to withdraw from Palestinian controlled areas. The Israelis will only accept a US-led enquiry because they believe anything else would be a 'kangaroo court'. What they don't say is that is precisely what a US-led enquiry would be - only the outcome would be in the Israeli's favour. The US are simply the Israeli's lackeys, and nothing the US does will help Arabs as long as the US blindly supports Israel.
    Patrick Seurre, UK

    The moment Palestinians will stop attacking, it would be all over

    Victor, Rehovot, Israel

    The number of dead is horrifying, and both the sides suffer. But there is one side attacking and the second is responding, trying to protect its life. Israelis never strike first, but they just have to defend themselves. Otherwise they would be lynched by the mob. The moment Palestinians will stop attacking, it would be all over.
    Victor, Rehovot, Israel

    The two groups involved seem only to think of revenge

    Sarah Adjani, Cairo.Egypt

    Your comments during the programme

    How sad it is that the two groups involved seem only to think of revenge for an action perpetrated by the other group. Ariel Sharon goes to al-Aksar. Palestinians rise up. Palestinians rise up, the Israelis kill a child (among many others). The Israelis kill a child, the Palestinians kill two soldiers. The Palestinians kill two soldiers, the Israelis bomb two Palestinian cities. When and how can this end? It is a sad truth that neither side really views the other as human. I am the daughter of a Palestinian forced out of Palestine in 1948. Personally I don't care if you call the country Knickerbocker Glory as long as ALL those who live there have equal rights and responsibilities. This means Palestinians (Muslim and Christian) and Jews. Unfortunately I seem to hold a minority view.
    Sarah Adjani, Cairo.Egypt

    The Palestinians rioters were lynch mob from the very beginning, armed with rocks, large metal sticks, Molotov cocktails and automatic fire. In the overall majority of the incidents were Palestinians have been killed, except 2 confirmed cases, may be one or two more, they were a part of such lynch mob, war mob, numbering hundreds of people in each incident, in each riot, on both sides of the green line. And you cannot stop such a mob of hate and war without the use force. Without the use of force both police and military personal would have ended as the same risk as the lynched soldiers or the policemen besieged at the temple mount police station. Remember that hate, that mob, was able to tear down a building made of stone.
    Boaz Tibon, Ramat Gan, Israel

    Sadly, the solutions to the problems in the Middle East lie not in the Middle East itself, but solely in the hands of the electoral body of the United States. Is it, in any way, morally defendable that money and the power it buys be of more consequence than the value of a human soul? Until the good people of the United States have learned to see through the deceptive and macabre theatricals taking place behind the scenes of the electoral campaigns of their "virtuous" leaders, who "defend the cause of freedom" all over the world, no solution to any problem will ever be found.
    Fadi Kawar, Amman, Jordan

    I am a Christian living among the Israelians for about 7 years.From my observations I learned that the Israelis are peace loving people ready to make impossible concessions. But the Palestinians seem have never been interested in real peace. They are conducting talks on one side so as not to put on the alert the Westerns while on the other side they make unforgivable provocations. Who can blame the Israelis for not willing to be killed? I think it's enough to be blind and to look upon the conflict in the Middle East area as a local one. It is much bigger. This is about the Islamic fundamentalists trying to keep the region burning and threatening the world by acts of terrible terror. All cultural world [Including good Muslims, and I believe there's many of them] must fight them .
    Olga Vadimova, Bat-Yam, Israel

    Isreal is like a disease, it either kills off and destroys the whole body (the Middle East), or it is cured and removed totally from the body.So there will always be bloodshed as long as Israel (the disease) is in existance.
    Mohamed Essam, Egypt, Cairo

    I would like to know what the religious basis behind the Palestinian claims is. Does the Koran call for the extermination of the Jews? Can there ever be peace while Israel exists? Here there are calls for a Holy War to "liberate "al-Quds (Jerusalem) - Is a peace process just an exercise in futility?
    Paul Hudson, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

    What a world! We still need to prove to people that no one would ever send his child in the line of fire! Because Israel said that Palestinians send their children into the line of fire everybody believes it as a fact! This is why we say that Israel controls the media and the US .
    Husain, Medinah,Saudi Arabia

    What do you expect the US to do if Usamah Bin Ladin visited Washington?

    Hamed, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

    What do you expect the US to do if Usamah Bin Ladin visited Washington under the protection of his men? Of course it would consider this as a challenge and would use legal and illegal weapons to kill him because he has already killed many Americans. It is exactly the case with Muslims when Sharon visited the Alaqsa mosque. He still needs to wash the blood off his hands. He is not an ordinary Jew. He and Usamah Bin Ladin have the same way of killing. they simply kill every body just to see the blood color.
    Hamed, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

    Again and again Bill Clinton's reaction towards Israeli is totally biased, he is always treating his spoiled boy tenderly, and since Israel has no roots in the Middle East region and would never have peaceful neighborhood, I 'm sure the most convenient way to demolish this bloody endless struggle is that Mr Clinton move and build a new country called Israel 2000 in the United States of America. That way Israel would be very close to Mr Clinton's heart and then he can sleep peacefully.
    Salwa K, Lebanon

    Israel and its supporters are lucky because the oil is not under my control. If it was, I would stop selling it right away. It is true that we also would be affected but it is better than killing our children in the name of " human rights". We were fine before the oil and we will be fine without it. If necessary, we will eat grass or even dust to protect our children.
    Muhammed, Medinah,Saudi Arabia

    Just when it seemed that a permanent peace settlement was within reach chaos erupts

    Miron, Haifa, Israel

    What a shame! Just when it seemed that a permanent peace settlement was within reach chaos erupts. Although both parties are quick to point at each other as the cause of the recent eruption of violencem; both are guilty. Both sides must come to the negotiating table and must compromise and settle their differences, too many people have died and suffered, it must end now.
    Miron, Haifa, Israel

    To error is human; to forgive is divine. Put the past behind, and look to the future, for children's sake.
    Faisel Eskander, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    You can not argue with a close mind and you can not have a peace monologue. How come no one remembers that while the two sides was talking peace, car bombs were exploding in Israel killing innocent civilians. The Palestinians who are frustrated not because Israel do not deliver but because their leadership and the rest of Arab world mistreat them. How many Palestinians did the Jordanians kill in the Black September riots? At least Israel willing to talk and try to resolve these issues which cost both sides dearly in terms of human life. As for all the do gooders around the world wake up you are all taken for a ride by the Palestinians propaganda machine who always thrives on the back of women and children they are sending to fight their wars.
    Erez, Israel

    I can't believe my eyes anymore, I can no longer watch such violence that is happening right now. I strongly support EF's view that all life is equal. Both sides must first accept that they have both been wreckless in their aims, rather than just blaming each other for this and that, and using it to attack each other. I am horrified by the deaths of the Israeli soldiers, just as much as the Palestinian citizens. All of them are human beings, and until people start to recognise that fact, the better off our civilisation will be, rather than killing a Jew or a Muslim to compensate for the death of a friend or a family member. IF people off this palnet can see this, then there is still hope.
    Faisel Eskander, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    The Palestinians are a nation which lynches defenceless people, shows off the blood on their hands and mutilates the corpses. They send their children to the battle zone to be killed by crossfire and be victimised.
    Where is the world? Why does it sit quiet? Why is Israel criticised for defending its citizens? What are we expected to do? Sit back and wait to be lynched too?
    Yaron Cohen, Jerusalem, Israel

    Over the past two weeks 100 Palestinians have died. Well what about the 20 Israelis that have been murdered? Just because we will no longer sit back and watch the Palestinian Arafat-backed violence does not mean that we are not the victims here.
    We have only one tiny Jewish State of 20,000 km, and they are not contented with 30 Arab states, they want our only state as well. Well I guess the PR the Palestinians is doing is working if they can convince you they are the victims when Arafat is the one that resulted to using terror in the first place.
    Erez, Haifa, Israel

    I am ashamed to say that my people raped the Palestinians in '47 and stole their land in '48

    Yacov, Tel Aviv, Israel
    My years in Tel Aviv as a Russian Jew have been for the wrong reason. I came seeking a homeland, as the Russians wouldn't let me feel welcome in theirs. I quickly realised that the Palestinians are treated in the same way that we, Jews, were and are treated throughout the rest of the world.
    I have heard the propaganda that my country pollutes the masses with. I have seen the atrocities that go unmentioned. I have known Palestinian prisoners and their families who have been tortured into confessing crimes they did not commit, all so that I can live "peacefully" with an Uzi slung across my shoulder.
    I am ashamed to say that my people raped the Palestinians in '47 and stole their land in '48, relentlessly, with the support of the US and the UK. The Palestinians, in fact, are willing to tolerate our presence, despite all this, but the more they allow, the further my greedy government pushes. It is no wonder their frustration has turned to an "at any cost" protest.
    To my country I say this: You have done so well to convince me and the world that this is our land, a Jewish land. You failed to admit your violation of international law in doing so. We have overlooked international law, but we must now answer to moral law.
    Yacov, Tel Aviv, Israel

    Until the true underlying causes of the dispute are fully addressed, peace can never be reached. The word "restored" is not correct here because it was only a "cease-fire". When the world expects and puts pressure on the aggressor to abide by the UN resolutions or face "punishments", there will be no settlement.
    Mohammed Othman, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

    One group of people fight with stones, and one machine gun per group, the other group, is armed with the latest military technology, yet this crisis is viewed as a balanced affair. Please tell me where this world is heading towards. There is no excuse for the amount of Palestinian deaths. NONE.
    Ziad Chami, Beirut, Lebanon

    I have seen a suggestion that we can stop the violence by "withdrawing". If I may ask where to exactly are we supposed to withdraw to - back to Europe where they are still burning synagogues after trying to annihilate us or maybe all of the Arab-loving Europeans whose comments I've read will be more than happy to see us commit mass suicide by. We tested the peace option - it is an obvious disaster so we'll just have to try the other options at our disposal (obviously mass suicide not being one).
    And as for all of you being shocked at us valuing our lives more than lives of our enemies - you would do the same if 500,000,000 murderous fanatics were screaming for your blood.
    Albert Cohen, Israel

    Violence should end when Israeli antagonism ends!

    Nasser, Kuwait
    Arafat should step down! He can't negotiate an acceptable peace and can't control the people he pretends to represent! He's become a cheap Israeli puppet!
    The worse that Barak can do is bring in Sharon who has Arab blood stains all over his hands!! What has the so-called peace process done for the Palestinians on the ground? No socio-economic benefits! Let along liberty or freedom! Violence should end when Israeli antagonism ends!
    Nasser, Kuwait

    As a Christian Arab, one of the smallest minorities in Israel who suffers the most discrimination, and as a citizen of the Arab city Nazareth who was directly affected by the pogrom committed by Jews last Sunday, I would say that I am ashamed to be associated with the U.S.A who considers itself "Christian", and yet treats Israeli life as more valuable than the Palestinian.
    As a Christian I am strongly against violence used by any person whether Israeli or Palestinians. I condemn the killing of any Israeli soldier just as much I condemn the killing of any Palestinian citizen. All life is equal in the eyes of God. I strongly believe, that after all this, the only peace that can rule and last is the peace of God: peace that is based on unconditional love and forgiveness.
    E.F, Israel

    People have suffered enough and they want peace, but what is going on is not fair peace. It is biased to Israel because it will only give them what they don't own and Muslims are losing for sure.
    STOP PRETENDING THAT ISREALIS ARE DEFENDING THEMSELVES. They got no right in Palestine. For what Palestinians did to the Israeli soldiers, what did you expect? And why are you talking about two soldiers with guns and not considering more than a hundred civilians?
    Majed A. Sahli, Saudi Arabia

    If you don't live in Israel you have no right to write or even comment what happens in Israel. Someone earlier wrote "Israel needs to quit its idiot warmongering " Watch how Arabs are built with hate against us ...and I who spent my school days learning how to compromise...
    D.A, Haifa, Israel

    Yasser Arafat used this to escape from having to make hard decisions in the peace process

    Udi Atar, Ramat-Gan, Israel
    Yasser Arafat is the only one capable of stopping the violence!!! True, the riots started after Sharon's dumb visit to El-Aktsa, but can any one in his right mind see a visit like this as sign that Israel is planning to destroy the temple???
    Yasser Arafat used this to escape from having to make hard decisions in the peace process. For seven years he had been promising his people Jerusalem, knowing he can't deliver. Now, "when push comes shove" he can't face the fact that his promises where empty. The whole world should make him understand that violence is not the way for him to escape. He should face his people and tell them the truth, he can't deliver Jerusalem!!!
    Udi Atar, Ramat-Gan, Israel

    What Sharon did was horribly wrong, but it does not justify two weeks of violence. The Palestinians have proven once and for all that they do not deserve a nation. If the peace talks are dead, it serves them right. When they began to act like civilised people the rest of the world will treat them as such.
    I am a 17-year-old British non-Jew living temporarily in Israel, and the last two weeks of clashes have polarised me. I no longer have any respect for the Palestinians. Where are the peaceful protests? Why do they seize upon every chance to create violence? How can they be entrusted with nationhood, and how can anyone possibly think they deserve it?
    Natalie, Israel

    As a left wing Israeli, who for years has campaigned for peace, I have to finally ask an important question to myself and the world. Why does the PA not recognise the UN resolution, which created and recognises Israel? The entire peace process was designed to put right the tragedy of post '67 and the UN resolutions 242 etc. But if I ever watch Palestinian television - something most in the west never see - the official picture of Palestine is one of Israel and the occupied territories coloured green in the Palestinian flag. The new and first Palestinian History textbook does not mention the creation of the state of Israel, but is full of inciteful, racist caracatures of Jews and Israelis and Holocaust denial. After the recent events of the last three weeks I have to ask how prepared these people are to accept our right to live within the internationally recognised borders of our small country
    Moshe, Tel Aviv, Israel

    The recent surge of violence is the result of the Palestinians' long standing belief that political gains may be achieved through the use of violence and bloodshed. The visit of a Jewish Israeli parliament member to a place that quietly accepted 1 million other visits this year is just a feeble excuse. Unfortunately, the automatic and superficial inclination of western media to favour the underdog proves them right.
    Y. Engel, Haifa, Israel

    It is sad how a people that saw so much suffering in the holocaust can cause so much suffering to the Palestinians now. As for hopes of lasting peace, as long as most of the media in the US and elsewhere is more or less in the hands of Jews, (and I don't mean this work word as a derogatory word, simply as a term of faith) how will the world ever see the real picture. If you doubt this, explain to me why the US has NEVER voted in favour of any resolution against Israel, they either Veto or abstain. No US president would ever anger the Jewish lobby or he would have a very short term in power. Peace will only come when the Israelis are willing to give up the land they took, on their own accord. Which is probably never.
    Karim Marei, Cairo, Egypt

    Peace will only be reached when the Israeli Jews understand Palestinians are their equals

    Nimrod Halpern, Tel Aviv, Israel
    I am ashamed to be an Israeli Jew during these dark days. Zionism is racism after all, and the current events show how Israel expects its relations with the Palestinians to be the relations of a rider and his horse. Peace will only be reached when the Israeli Jews understand Palestinians are their equals. The solution is one bi-national state between the Jordan River and the sea.
    Nimrod Halpern, Tel Aviv, Israel

    It seems that for many, it's somehow more 'acceptable' to see a soldier shooting to kill than an enraged mob kill with hands and stones. In reality, all killing is animalistic - and to support either side is to fall beneath what we should be. It's a hard time for hope when most of us have become dogs.
    Markus Mannheim, Canberra, Australia

    I don't think Yasser Arafat has been honest about his true intentions when speaking to western leaders. He did, however, reveal his intentions in a speech he gave in a mosque in Johannesburg in 1994. The Oslo agreement was likened with the prophet Muhammed's agreement with the Quraysh tribe of Mecca. Muhammed used that agreement to build up his military force, and after a few years he broke the agreement and wiped out the Quraysh tribe in a surprise attack. I don't think Arafat's signature is more worth than Adolf Hitler's in Munich in 1938 was. The World bitterly came to experience what Neville Chamberlains overoptimistic reassurances of "peace in our time" led to.
    Gunnar Sřyland, Tau, Norway

    Grow up, Palestinians!

    Igor Krutoi, Moscow, Russia

    The Arabs just can't have enough. They should realise that Barak has already made huge concessions to them and had even proposed to divide Jerusalem into two. And everybody knows that Jerusalem, and the whole of Palestine for that matter, belonged to the Jews before it belonged to the Moslems and by demanding supreme control over it, they are just reaffirming the world community's fear that Islamic extremism sees so reason and is the gravest threat to world peace today. Grow up, Palestinians!
    Igor Krutoi, Moscow, Russia

    Your comments before we went ON AIR

    Isn't it strange that Muslims only rise up against Israel. Don't they care about the killings of their own in Chechnya or in former Yugoslavia. Hundreds of thousands killed and not a single demonstration in any Arab country? And if the Arab world really cares for the Palestinians, how come they never did anything to help them in order to build a state instead of Jordan and Egypt occupying their land until 1967? Arabs are the only ones to blame for every war around the world. They constantly attack a peaceful country like India, they killed thousands of Christians in East Timor and Sudan, they kill Catholics in the Philippines. Is there any Arab democracy? Do women have rights in those countries? Wake up. Yes, Palestinians should have a land of their own, but they should also start behaving like civilised people and stop teaching hatred to their children.
    Emilio Arboleda, Panamá, Panamá

    Every time a world crisis like this occurs, I'm amazed by the fact that nobody turns definitely away from what I call a malfunction of the brain : religion. For thousands of years it has brought us mortals only war, killing, hatred, intolerance, burning, stupidity, prejudice, guilt, anything you can think of, just trouble. It's the root of a lot of evil and if it's not stopped, I foresee that one day, some fanatics blow up this entire holy place called Earth, just to get in their pathetic illusion called heaven.
    Sam Samshuijzen, Ederveen. Holland

    Israel and the USA and to some extent the UK, have no one but themselves to blame

    Andy Hadzoglou, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    Israel and the USA and to some extent the UK, have no one but themselves to blame. Israel for it's refusal to live up to the Oslo accords and subsequent deals hammered out by the U.S. Since 1948, American foreign policy in the region has been hijacked by Israel and it's supporters in and out of Congress, not to mention the U.S. media. It is about time that the U.S. administration of any and every political complexion deals firmly with this strangle hold on it's Middle Eastern foreign policy. After all there is no reason whatsoever why the Arabs and the Iranians cannot be friends with the U.S.A. Israel has sown the dragon's teeth and is repeaning and will continue to reap a very bitter harvest.
    Andy Hadzoglou, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    Israel cant use its excuse anymore of the Holocaust. They have become the oppressors the see themselves as the Aryan race. I'm not Jewish or Muslim but having helicopters against people who throw stones isn't right. For the two Israeli soldiers who died I'm extremely sorry, but what where they doing there? How many Palestinians have died? To all the Jews out there who are for what Israel is doing stop being blinded by the truth. Israel has kept on postponing the peace process for 7 years now when the Oslo peace accord was signed. The Paestinians have a right to be angry
    Michael Kerr, New Zealand

    The Israeli Government are cowards who hide behind their technology. They should give the Palestinians their land back, and apologise for all the human rights violations they have committed over the 52 years of Israel's existence. If Israel can stop the killing of Palestinians maybe we can stop the hatred that is continuing to build, and work on the struggle for a real peace.
    John, Chicago, USA

    The Palestinians are never going to be happy with whatever they are given

    Anita Menezes, Toronto, Canada
    Damned if you do and damned if you don't... this sums up the situation for Israel. The Palestinians are never going to be happy with whatever they are given; they will always demand more and always resort to violence to get it, leaving Israel with no choice but to retaliate in kind.
    If the rest of the Arab world is so concerned about Palestinian rights why have they not offered them a homeland? The truth is that they have never wanted a democratic Israel in their midst and will use any means, fair or foul to destroy it. Given this scenario, whatever peace agreement is finally hammered out will only be superficial....Even God cannot ensure a lasting peace!
    Anita Menezes, Toronto, Canada

    Violent, barbaric, rowdy, unjustified, arrogant etc etc. These are all the terms that have been used to describe the behaviour of the Palestinians, but not for one minute do I think that mankind can stoop to such a level without reason! They are people that are frustrated, oppressed, aggravated, bereaved and what more ... for so many years their qualms have been ignored. Well the result is obvious. Need I say more??????
    Somi, Manchester, UK

    Religion has the power to unleash vast emotions, reconciliation or hatred

    Lucie, Berlin, Germany
    The role of religious leaders in this conflict is particularly disappointing. Religion has the power to unleash vast emotions, reconciliation or hatred. I think future generations of Moslems and Jews will look back in shame on the role played by their representatives in inciting violence and war.
    'Love your neighbour' is a common theme in the three world religions and in a conflict with so much religious symbolic surely it is still possible for an alliance of honestly pious preachers and teachers from both sides to use this power for peace...
    Lucie, Berlin, Germany

    I can never accept that the lynching of the Israeli soldiers is justifiable under any circumstances. The Palestinians have suffered as well but two wrongs don't make a right. Arafat is clearly manipulating the crowds to claw back the concessions he unwisely made during the Oslo land for peace accord, and Barak is dancing to the tune of Jewish extremists. They are both no angels and must set down and make brave concessions as enough is enough.
    Mohamad Almadi, London, England

    The Palestinians are merely demanding what is their right according to international law

    Riad Hamade, Frankfurt, Germany
    Israel has to wake up and realise it has achieved what it wanted. The Arabs have recognised Israel's right to exist on over 77% of what used to be Palestine. They've won the war, but are failing to win the peace.
    The Palestinians are merely demanding what is their right according to international law on the basis of UN resolutions. Israelis have to finally recognise that the Palestinians have a right to this land, and a right of return and/or compensation. It has to stop its patronising attitude that Palestinians have to somehow "earn" statehood. Israeli calls for Palestinians to be "realistic" and not demand "everything" are plainly ridiculous.
    Riad Hamade, Frankfurt, Germany

    How can Palestinians talk about Peace when they are told that their blood is worth nothing?

    Waseem, Canada

    "President Clinton condemned the murder of Israeli soldiers, but urged both sides to observe an immediate ceasefire." Where was Clinton when over a 100 Palestinians were shot by soldiers or beaten to death by Israeli settlers? Why did a hundred Palestinian deaths not move him? How can Palestinians talk about Peace when they are told that their blood is worth nothing?
    Waseem, Canada

    As outraged as I am over the brutal and evil murder of the two Israelis, I am more outraged at the disgraceful and disgusting way the Palestinian Arabs are being treated. Responsible governments do not respond to a civil disturbance with overwhelming force on their own people! Cut Isreal's aid off...now!
    Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK

    How dare we judge Israel, our democratic and civilised friend, from defending its right to protect its people from a savage Arab/Palastinian population which has been given every opportunity by Israel to negotiate a deal. One can only question if we in the West as Protestants or Catholics continue with any even handed relationship with the Arab world. If Palestinians or Arabs will not accept peace then what would we do different if we lived in the region.
    Charles Bishop, Sydney, Australia

    The international community's complicity is SICKENING

    Shane Morrison, London, UK

    All this intellectualising and pontificating makes me sick. Israel is not interested in giving peace a chance. Its efforts are fake, supercilious and vacuous, and have done nobody any favours. It is staggering the amount of international imperialist sponsorship it has had, and continues to enjoy, while men, women and children are MURDERED with bullets and rockets. The international community's complicity is SICKENING. We are all going to pay for this one way or another.
    Shane Morrison, London, UK

    Dead! It was never alive. Was there any peace between chalk and cheese?
    Ade Talabi, UK

    The Palestinians and the Israelis must share responsibility for starting the conflict

    Nick Evans, UK

    The Palestinians and the Israelis must share responsibility for starting the conflict. The shortsightedness of the comments in this debate are a reflection of the larger conflict. The lack of understanding expressed shows that this conflict will never truly be resolved. I hope when this is all over that those who have called for violence and revenge will be able to live with their decision and the fact that they have brought further misery to an already desperate region.
    Nick Evans, UK

    While I do not believe that the peace process as such is dead, I fear that it will certainly be "on life support" for the next years. Basically, Israelis and Palestinians have no other choice but to share the same piece of land, in the end. Both parties are to blame, I guess. It will take many years and maybe even generations to heal the wounds that have been made...
    Tom Terryn, Kortrijk, Belgium

    Aren't there parallels between yesterday's lynching in Ramallah and the two British soldiers who suffered a similar fate in Belfast some years ago? They too "took a wrong turning" and stumbled upon a Republican funeral. Imagine world, and especially US, reaction if British forces had attacked Sinn Fein HQ in retaliation.
    A (the) fundamental barrier to peace in the Middle East is the size of the US Jewish vote. No elected US representative can ever look at the situation objectively because anyone trying to do so simply won't be elected.
    Nigel Aston, Madrid, Spain

    Israel simply did not go along with the terms of the Norwegian initiative. An agreement they signed themselves. So instead of everyone reaping the benefit of that peace process we have this horror today.
    Sigmar Thormar, Kopavogur, Iceland

    The Palestinians see every death as a sort of PR-victory

    Arno, Holland
    Palestinians are incapable of making peace. Time and time again, it was the Israelis who made the concessions, even thought they won the land in a war the Arabs started. But the Palestinians want it all, incapable of concessions, even thought they've lost the war they'd started.
    Concerning all the deaths. At least Israel cares about its people. The Palestinians see every death as a sort of PR-victory and would 'throw in their other sons' as well. They are playing the victims-card with the blood of their own people and are quite happy too also.
    Arno, Holland

    It's time the rest of the world stood up to the hypocrisy of the US and the brutality of Israel. It's clear for all to see that money and votes are the only factor of life in America and the Jews have both.
    Ian Hendry, Manila, Philippines

    Is it not obvious that the Israelis had been showing restrain? I have yet to see an Israeli sweep a crowd with the machine guns they carry. They shoot, in self-defence, one shot at a time. But more importantly, what are the Israelis supposed to do? Drop the machine guns and start throwing rocks back at the Palestinians?
    Elliott Bross, Monterrey, Mexico

    We should not form judgements on the basis of who has committed the worst atrocities this particular week. We need to look at the recent history of the creation of Israel. While all other lands that had been under European rule were returned to the people that happened to live there at the time, the state of Israel was given to all Jews in the world, regardless of their current nationality.
    This was the act of the United Nations, a body that we still look to today to provide law and justice in international relations.
    Dave, UK

    As a Hindu, from India, I fully sympathise with the Israeli response to Palestinian thuggery. The Israelis like us Indians are trying to preserve peace and order in their land and the Palestinians are hell bent on destroying peace.
    The Palestinians got everything they bargained for from Israel? What more do they want? The more you give them, the more arrogant and rowdy they get.
    The Palestinians expect that when they murder and stone and set people on fire, the world should keep mum. This is not going to happen.
    Rakesh Arya, India

  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    Hazem Mohamed, Gaza
    "No one can live this way for long"
    Natalie, Jerusalem, Israel
    "If they really want peace they shouldn't let anything stand in the way"
    Gil Ronen, Katzir, Israel
    "Mr. Arafat does not want peace"
    Erik Danielsen, Bergen, Norway
    "Israel is to be blamed"
    Ziad Chami, Beirut, Lebanon
    "It is illogical to say both sides are of equal strength"
    Gilbert Thierry Houalla, London
    "It is difficult to be objective"
    Tahir Nawab, New York, USA
    "I don't see how you can equate rocks and stones with rockets"
    Mas, Dubai, UAE
    "Justice should be seen to be done - not just talked about"

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    02 Oct 00 | Middle East
    01 Oct 00 | Middle East
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