Sunday, 3 August 2014

LYONS! History shows all conflicts solvable 2/8

History shows all conflicts solvable

ALL conflicts are solvable — including this one.
Yet again, another ceasefire after another war. Again, about 1400 dead Palestinians: that seems to be the grim benchmark figure every two years.
In 2012 it was about 1400 dead Gazans, most of them civilians, before the world said enough. This time the toll has reached 1443 — again mainly civilians.
It seems it was the shelling of the UN school this week that killed children as they slept that finally pushed the US to seriously pressure both Israel and Hamas for a ceasefire.
Only a week ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuffed President Barack Obama, who had telephoned to urge a ceasefire. This week, after the shelling of the school, the US became more explicit — it made clear Israel could do much better at sparing non-combatants.
The endless television pictures of dead and injured children made a continuing Israeli offensive impossible.
At this stage it’s only a 72-hour ceasefire but for Palestinians, who for three weeks have been terrified, and Israelis in the south of the country, who have been traumatised by rockets, it is a welcome breakthrough.
Now key parties meeting in Cairo need to use all their persuasions, leverage, charms and threats to make this ceasefire permanent. More than that — they must realise that rather than this crazed, blood-spattered ritual of killing between Palestinians and Israelis every two years, there must be a permanent solution
Many said Northern Ireland was unsolvable; many said South Africa could never be worked out; the former Yugoslavia looked beyond solution.
Israel needs to want to grant a state to Palestinians — the death of 61 soldiers, a heavy toll for Israel, and the disruption to daily life seems to have shown Israelis they must solve this problem rather than just manage it.
While Netanyahu has given occasional lip-service to “two states for two peoples”, his rampant support for settlement growth in the West Bank has been more supportive of the “Greater Israel” wanted by many in his Likud party.
Hamas, in turn, must realise that the 1.8 million people under its rule have no future — they need to renounce violence.
The moderates in the Palestinian Authority, in the West Bank, need to work on an agreement with Israel that is then presented to Hamas. And if Hamas is not prepared to renounce violence to become part of a new state, it should be left out of the benefits of statehood.

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