Do the Palestinians and Israelis Really Want Peace?

Posted by Frederick Jones
January 24, 2008
Palastinian Rocket Fire and Humanitarian Relief Supplies

President Bush went to the Middle East recently to help advance peace talks between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert. Between Tuesday and Friday last week, Hamas fired more than 150 rockets at Israel from Gaza. Israel responded with both limited military actions and cutoffs of supplies to Gaza.

If everyone says they want peace, why is it so difficult to stop the fighting and reach an agreement?

Comments

Comments

Shawn
February 4, 2008

Shawn writes:

There's no excusing the ridiculous rocket attacks from Gaza... but if you want an answer to your question it's because the United States absolutely refuses to be a fair mediator in this conflict. Israel is free to continue building settlements and annexing East Jerusalem while even the slightest violence from the Palestinians is met with strong condemnation.

How about reconsidering the $3 billion plus in _unconditional_ aid to Israel and you just might see a different conflict.

John
|
Michigan, USA
January 25, 2008

John in Michigan writes:

Adults should act like adults. With all of the time, energy, money, efforts, and resources spent on the Palestinian conflict by the world community, if they are not interested in taking the initiative in resolving the issue for the last 50 years, neighboring Arab countries should do the right thing in assimilating them into their countries. By their actions they have proven that they are unable to work well with each other, build up their community, infrastructure, or their country.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
January 28, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

I believe you viewing it incorrectly.

The problem is more civilian and natural then you may think. It is basic culture response on a tribal level.

Even in our modern history we have experienced it. The post civil war administrations of laws leading to racial problems which still exist today are one example. Even the civil affair in West Virginia of the Hatfields and McCoys demonstrates the primal adverse reactions to emotions. Considering this family feud was over a love affair, the deaths of family members led to more family members?.now Imagine centuries of families involved in disputes in which all sides have had a mother, sister, brother, child, grand parent, friend killed or maimed. The purpose of why the feud started is long lost and the issues are only used to justify the continued travesties of Natural and Civil laws against each culture involved. The same occurred in Ireland for centuries -- all actually stemming from an offended English King, but once hurt, the people took sides -- all those lives lost for due to vanity in reality. It was not even about Religion to begin with.

The Leadership, in this case, may well understand the value to the Greater Good for each side, but the civilian population is hard put to place forgiveness above revenge.

It's obvious that Israel has gone overboard, even giving back valuable land in the Gaza Strip which has oil. They have even displaced their own citizens by force to show their sincere effort for peace. I believe the average Palestinian may be tired of it all by now as well; but, on an individual level who would administrate a solution if your family was hurt in the same manner that is happening there? Would you forgive if you had access to weapons and a framework to support your revenge?

It? is the Hamas, a non democratic proliferation which is the primary problem. They promote the violence with arbitrary views of doctrine as the Hamas Charter of 1988.

If you read it through, you will see the contorted views of Islam in which they try to establish some false grounds back to the crusades. As idiotic as it may be, with the economic situation, lack of work, hurt which prevails, it makes propaganda easy. The fact Russia, North Korea and China provide weapons to them, enforces some validity of purpose. After all, why would major powers sell them weapons if they were not right in their efforts?

It's not the U.S. or Leadership of each country in this case, it is the prevalence of support from non- Democratic countries which precludes a proper peace accord.

Ronald
|
New York, USA
January 28, 2008

Ronald in New York writes:

Do they want peace?

Of course they do ...but peace needs economic, social, religious, ethnic, and political stability and security. The middle east has never known these conditions, and it seems that the super-powers have historically supported and incentivized conflict and division in the region. So, we are witnessing cycles of diplomatic intervention followed by flare-ups initiated by both sides to derail an uncertain outcome. Of course, they want peace, but first they need mutually shared security based on interdependence. The international community must achieve this before it can be reflected in the middle east.

David
|
United States
January 28, 2008

David in U.S. writes:

The long and historical conflict between Palestinians and Israelis has been generally aggravated by increasing population density in a small area claimed by both parties. Conflict is not easily resolved when parties to the conflict see that they have lost most opportunities for a better life. Thus, anger and frustration cause increased acts of vengeance, and terrorist acts are used as a simple, available means to sustain the vengeance. Peace will only become possible when most Palestinians, and most Israelis, have the means to provide a better and more secure life for themselves. With high levels of poverty, few job opportunities, and serious overcrowding, many have no hope for a better life. High and sustained levels of conflict make it very difficult to make life better, and more secure, for any of the parties. Any effective solution must facilitate, and provide motivation for, relocation to reduce populations to sustainable levels. A sustainable level would be one that provides jobs, health services, public services, education, safe housing, and security in a territory respected by all parties. If all this is achieved, peace will follow. (My comments are based on several years of work with both the Palestinians and Israelis.)

Andre O.
|
Israel
January 28, 2008

Andre in Jerusalem writes:

Hamas not only fired rockets, but a sniper of theirs also targeted and killed Carlos Chávez, a 21 year old visitor from Ecuador (South America) to Israel. This got almost no coverage.

Under such attacks (both rockets and sniper file) Israel is of course required to protect its citizens - be that with a security barrier or military responses.

As to the power... this was a Hamas stunt. Israel did not reduce its power at all (and it supplies 70% of the power to Gaza, despite the missiles!) and Hamas turned off their generator and organized carefully orchestrated media stunts as a diplomatic exercise. Candles don't appear by magic, and many of the pictures of candle lit meetings etc actually took place during the day (as many of the journalists and indeed the pictures themselves verify).

Israel does want peace, the Palestinians probably want peace, Hamas however only seems to want things in pieces.

James
|
Colorado, USA
January 28, 2008

James in Colorado writes:

So long as the Gaza Strip remains a hostile, poverty-stricken environment, there will be disenchanted members of the Palestinian people with few ways of expressing their dissatisfaction. These people will continue to attack the perceived (often-literal) source of their anguish. Israel cannot let assaults on their people go un-answered, but their retaliation only makes conditions in Gaza worse. My advice is for Israel to promote humanitarian efforts, rather than choke them off in fits of national pique. People tend to reconsider signing up for walking-bomb duty if they have something to live for.

Curtis
|
Singapore
January 28, 2008

Curtis in Singapore writes:

I think part of the answer to your question posed lies within the question itself: Not "everyone" wants peace and that's why it is so difficult. There are many elements in Palestine, particularly Hamas and Hezbollah, that don't want peace, and to a much lesser extent radical right-wing Israeli's that refuse to give up any ground in the negotiating process.

Consequently, as long as you have these elements so vehemently opposed to a two-state solution and blocking the progress that the majority of everyday Palestinians and Israelis want to see, nothing will get accomplished and we'll continue to go in circles in the peace process.

The international community, particularly the "Quartet," really needs to start playing hardball with the Israeli's about the settlements and the United States needs to be out there in the lead. Building more settlements and further expanding them isn't going to bring about peace any quicker. If anything its a provocation to the Palestinians and only furthers the rallying cry of Hamas and Hezbollah. If the Quartet starts getting tougher with the Israelis, at the same time the Arab community needs to get tough with Hamas and Hezbollah. They need to start taking that issue more seriously, they need to disrupt the flow of resources from Iran to Hezbollah, cut off the supply lines of ammunition to prevent rocket attacks into Israel, and start walking them on a path towards peace and not the one that they are currently on. If we move on a path like that, I think the chances we'll have peace greatly improve.

Only then will you see the prospects of a Palestinian State brighten, with Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace. The key is getting everyone on the same page, and if "everyone" wants peace and their actions demonstrate that, it will happen as history has taught us. Until then the violence will unfortunately continue.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 28, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

"If everyone says they want peace, why is it so difficult to stop the fighting and reach an agreement?"

I think it is quite obvious that not everyone wants peace.

There is perhaps an opportunity in the breaching of the Gaza border that no one has yet voiced, so I will.

It seems as I look at Gaza, it's like a besieged city state. An untenable situation for the 1.4 million that inhabit it.

Those that choose war do not consider the needs of those that seek peace, and this is a "given", as a general rule in conflict.

Perhaps it would be then wise to allow any who wish to live in peace to leave Gaza for a period of time and afforded the compassion of nations in this interim period until those that choose war have exhausted themselves in vain pursuit of unworthy goals that lead only to ruin.

Hamas, in seeking the demise of Israel, has only proven capable of filling the cup of misery for the Palestinian people. Israel's Gov. for its part has ensured that the cup runneth over.

It has been said that "the meek shall inherit", perhaps it is appropriate to afford them the opportunity when the dust settles. Only then will a viable two state solution be fully realized, in my opinion.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
January 28, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Human nature is in play here, more so than anything else.

Each side has had an immediate relative or friend killed or hurt. This is important as the proposed motive for fighting becomes lost in the human element and with Hamas feeding the revenge element as a support platform, there is little the Palestinian leadership can do.

I believe both sides on an educated level and in leadership, do want peace. They have to be tired of it all as no one profits.

The crux of the problem lies in a divided leadership base which seems unable to control its fanatical elements. This has been the problem since Arafat. They need a leadership who has the control elements to stabilize.

I do not feel that Israel is not as problematic at all in this. They have more than bent backwards in addressing the situation over and over. From moving their own citizens by force to giving up land many considered theirs. They simply are at an impasse with Hamas more than anything and will simply fire when fired upon and give up no more then they already have. It is more than understandable.

For peace to take place, Palestine will have to control its fanatical elements, by force if necessary and until that happens, there is little chance for peace. Regardless of what the people or the Leadership wants.

This is what happens when terrorism is left to exist ...peace and democracy are lost.

Zharkov
January 29, 2008

Zharkov writes:

The UN created Israel in 1948 without the consent of anyone living in the area. Residents and families were relocated en masse. Today, this would be called "Genocide." Israel can wall them in, isolate them, seal them behind concrete, but until Israel buries them, the rockets continue to fly and the bombs continue to explode because Palestinians and their supporters don't want Israel in their midst. Again, the created the problem and it remains the obligation of the to solve the problem.

The notion that as long as Palestinian people lack a per-capita net worth of under $100 million Euros, they will remain a hostile, envious people willing to commit suicide to protest their deficiency of Dior gowns, Mercedes-Benz limousines, and ski trips to Davos, is wishful thinking. Should the give each Palestinian family a huge pile of money to buy peace, then Serbs would want the same deal. As millions of Egyptians, Syrians, Iranians, Africans, and Sudanese convert to Palestinian citizenship to grab their share of the loot, peace will spread across the Middle East or so the theory says. If only it were so simple.

Perhaps, long ago, it would have been simple, but today, the radical Islamic Revolution has intervened to create a complex mixture of radical groups with similar goals - to destroy Israel. Are there any magic words that anyone could utter to end this revolution? Do executions cease by negotiating with the executioner? It's a revolution, not an economic conference. Revolutions end when one side loses. The problem with repeated American interventions for peace is that neither side loses so nothing is settled. If other countries had intervened in the America Revolution to prolong the British occupation, America would still be at war today with the British.

The way to obtain a permanent peace would be for the UN to relocate Israel to Bulgaria or else allow the adverse parties to finish their fight.

Nobody
|
Pakistan
February 1, 2008

NB in Pakistan writes:

Any new ideas at this point when hopes have been raised for some settlement, primarily due to the extensive backbreaking efforts of Ma'am Condoleezza Rice, will not do anyone any good. We're not talking or thinking practically when we say that Israel should be moved to Bulgaria or for that matter Palestine be moved to Saudi Arabia. Ronald in New York (Fri Jan-25 posting) has summed up very well. Peaceful co-existence and interdependence, and of course mental realization of its positive results, are the best options at this point in time. Respect for human life will definitely usher in the peaceful co-existence we all long to see in the Middle East.

Zharkov
|
Bosnia and Herzegovina
February 1, 2008

Zharkov writes:

Nice job removing the "UN" from my previous post.
DipNote Bloggerscomment: Nothing was removed.

More interesting questions might be:

"What will Bush get from Dubai after retirement?""Should the UN be moved to Guantanamo?""Does Congress need brain transplants?""What hit the Pentagon on 9/11?""Is Bilderburg a sex club?"

L.CPL. U.
|
Florida, USA
February 1, 2008

Rick in Florida writes:

I suggest that Hawaii or Alaska be given to the Israeli people so that they can have a new Jerusalem in God's country the U.S.A. I think this is the only way to create long lasting Peace because the Palestinians Ideology is to destroy Israel. I really wish they could live side by side but there is just too much hatred and bitterness.

Zharkov
|
Bosnia and Herzegovina
February 4, 2008

Zharkov writes:

The UN created Israel in 1948 without the consent of anyone living in the area. Residents and families were relocated en masse. Today, this would be called "Genocide." Israel can wall them in, isolate them, seal them behind concrete, but until Israel buries them, the rockets continue to fly and the bombs continue to explode because Palestinians and their supporters don't want Israel in their midst. Again, the (UN) created the problem and it remains the obligation of the (UN) to solve the problem.

The notion that as long as Palestinian people lack a per-capita net worth of under $100 million Euros, they will remain a hostile, envious people willing to commit suicide to protest their deficiency of Dior gowns, Mercedes-Benz limousines, and ski trips to Davos, is wishful thinking. Should the (UN) give each Palestinian family a huge pile of money to buy peace, then Serbs would want the same deal. As millions of Egyptians, Syrians, Iranians, Africans, and Sudanese convert to Palestinian citizenship to grab their share of the loot, peace will spread across the Middle East or so the theory says. If only it were so simple.

Perhaps, long ago, it would have been simple, but today, the radical Islamic Revolution has intervened to create a complex mixture of radical groups with similar goals - to destroy Israel. Are there any magic words that anyone could utter to end this revolution? Do executions cease by negotiating with the executioner? It's a revolution, not an economic conference. Revolutions end when one side loses. The problem with repeated American interventions for peace is that neither side loses so nothing is settled. If other countries had intervened in the America Revolution to prolong the British occupation, America would still be at war today with the British.

The way to obtain a permanent peace would be for the UN to relocate Israel to Bulgaria or else allow the adverse parties to finish their fight.

Nobody
|
Pakistan
February 4, 2008

NB in Pakistan writes:

Yes there's no denying that there's too much hatred between the Israelis and Palestinians (Rick in Florida, Fri Feb 01, 2008 posting) but then hatred is an emotion and so is love and though it may take a long time one could be switched with another. Not an easy task, but an effort has got to be made and I believe Ma'am Condoleezza Rice is working in that direction. I will continue to pray for her success.

Bilbo
|
District Of Columbia, USA
February 4, 2008

Bilbo in Washington, DC writes:

I believe that the average Palestinian and the average Israeli want peace. However, each side has been hijacked by its own extremists who are intent on preventing peace except on their own terms. No one is willing to take the risk of offering concessions to make peace because all are aware that there are too many radicals on both sides who will immediately set out to undermine any peace agreement. I do not believe peace is possible between the Israelis and the Palestinians absent some event so terrible that it literally shocks both sides into making peace.

.

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