There are many other things that should be done in the Middle East other than creating a Palestinian State if peace is to be reached.
After Bush’s speeches in the Knesset and Sharm it is clear that this year will not witness the creation of the long waited Palestinian State. Tzipi Levini the Israeli Foreign Minister warned against setting timetable for the new state. Abu al-Ghait, the Egyptian Foreign Minister criticized Bush’s speeches and announced that it is possible to write peace accords between the Palestinians and the Israelis in one day. Reports about unofficial secret negotiations between the two partners that discussed all problems were circulated. However, the Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas expressed his anger at Bush’s speeches.
This news means that resolutions based on the Two States solution are ready but there is no political will. It also means that the Bush’s administration will not exert pressure on Israel to fulfill the American President’s promise. He and the Israelis are talking about framework for a Palestinian State now. Let’s remember that late President Sadat and late PM Begin signed two frameworks. The first was about Sinai and the second was about Gaza and West Bank as a base for a Palestinian State in 1978. The Palestinians refused to follow and while the Egyptians took Sinai after striking Peace Accords a year later, the Palestinian do not have anything since then.
The Arabs should answer some questions about their peace initiative and not about peace itself. Does the Arab Peace Initiative have the enough pressure on Israel to strike a deal? Is the Land for Peace formula enough for peace? Is the Two States Solution still valid?
The Arab Peace Initiative was about Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders, creation of a Palestinian State in Gaza and West Bank, return of refugees for recognition of Israel and normalization of relations. After the reluctance of Israel to strike a deal due to its internal factors mainly and the not presence of American and Israeli political will, this initiative became another historical document like many other decisions. To have a Two States Solution the Israeli government should be powerful enough against growing Jewish fundamentalism and extremism. It is high time for Arabs to withdraw or modify their peace initiative especially that a new American Administration will be present next year. It is better for this administration to be forced to be engaged in the Mideast Problem from day one. The new initiative should include other factors that are important to build peace not only a Palestinian State. To achieve this Arabs should show a political will to defend their rights. The US strategic centers revise the American Strategy after their failure in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have two choices. The first is to build more solid alliance against the new emerging Asian powers. The second is to accept being one of a multipolar system. To have a successful global strategy any superpower needs the Mideast to be at least not hostile if not an ally. So the Arabs should direct their new initiative not only to the US and Israel but also, to the EU, Russia, China and India.
The new initiative should address the nuclear file in the Middle East. It is not only about the Israeli nuclear arsenal. The safety of the Israeli nuclear reactors especially, that there are reports about higher radiation leaks from the old reactor. The Arabs may call for international safety standards to be applied for all. International Consortium for Uranium Enrichment for the Mideast may be created to ensure that the use would be used for peaceful purposes. This makes the Arab peace initiative gives a peaceful solution for the Iranian nuclear file also. Threatening others does not build peace, so to achieve peace the Israeli nuclear arsenal should be removed.
Water scarcity in the future is another threat for peace in this region. Most countries of the region took the decision to build nuclear reactors for peaceful purposes. Desalination of water is a priority that helps much to secure peace in the near future. Nuclear reactors may serve energy production, desalination and reduction of carbon dioxide emission.
What secured peace in Europe after WWII was Marshal Project to develop the continent and to eradicate illiteracy and poverty. Without this project, West Europe would have fallen in the communists hands and peace would not have been achieved. In the Mideast without development, many countries will fall in the fundamentalists’ hands and no peace will be achieved. Ethically who sent weapons to ignite wars in the region should help it in development. Technology transfer and training of youth should have the priority. This is the guarantee to win war on terror.
Terrorism in the region is not only Islamic as the Western Media try to prove. The Jewish terrorists burnt the Aqsa Mosque, shot dead the prayers in Al-Ibrahiemi Mosque and killed the late Israeli Premier Rabin. Previously in the mid of the last century the Jewish terrorists exploded a train carrying British troops. Lavon scandal in Egypt where American interests were targeted in 1954 is known. Too many other terrorist crimes were directed against Palestinian people. The Arabs have to talk about security for security to deal with any terrorists who use religions.
Human rights are too important to be mentioned by Arabs. Now in Egypt the media exposes and defames Police Officers who violate human rights. The Interior Ministry just sends them to courts to be punished. This is a good step in the right direction. On the other side, a Palestinian citizen may be killed because he threw a stone at a tank. His neighbors might lose their homes because the Israeli Authorities explode them. Collective punishment is a policy there. Killing war prisoners is a violation of international law. In the Israeli prisons, there are many Palestinian children and this is a violation of international law, human rights and children rights. What makes people accept peace and not thinking about revenge is that forming international courts to try war criminals. The Arabs are against terrorism that kills civilians. Israel should abide to international laws if it wants to live in peace. Arabs have to call for an international court to try war criminals like what happened in Balkan after disintegration of Yugoslavia.
Israel tries to market the Two States Solution based on Israel being a Jewish State. Many there want to transfer the Arab Israelis to the new Palestinian State. It announced that it will not accept the return of refugees to its land. This means that the new Palestinian State will be an overcrowded enclave on about one fifth of historical Palestine. Unfair resolutions are the causes of next wars after many years. Jerusalem problem is another obstacles waiting for negotiators to ruin their efforts. Arab and Islamic countries will never recognize the Palestinian State if East Jerusalem including holy Islamic and Christian sites is not the capital.
What if the Arabs call for a unified secular state where refugees could return? This state should give equal rights to all its citizens like what had happened in South Africa. Both Arabic and Hebrew languages are to be used. This will help the new state to be integrated in the region and to be a model for tolerance. It will be a Lebanon style country. However, let us not forget that nearly all problems between the Lebanese are about confronting Israel. Some prefer a peaceful solution and others support resistance. Let’s have another Lebanon in Palestine and the whole world may have a rest.
To know more about the Middle East you may read this story
A Tale Of Two Wars