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Is a Comprehensive Middle Eastern Peace Possible?

[1]It is an outcry of hope that Annapolis meeting will be an opening for shifting paradigms towards a comprehensive Middle Eastern peace, otherwise the meeting participants will go there in order to loose their time, while any partial solution reached to one or more problem, will dwindle then vanish, in the new strong cycle of vicious violence that will prevail.

(From East Jerusalem) LET US IMAGINE that the Annapolis meeting will be a launching meeting for the people process in all tracks: Israel with Palestine, with Syria and with Lebanon.

Let us support that another parallel track will be opened between the US and Iran, one being a direct or indirect track.

Let us imagine that the region will find solutions to the territorial issues: Golan Height, Shaba Farms, the Palestinian territories, and the Palestinian refugee issue that is a joint issue for Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan at least. Also, finding solutions to other concerns such as the issues of borders, settlement expansion, and Jerusalem.

“There is a lot of historically accumulated anger and frustration in the Middle East, and combined with rising poverty, corruption and authoritarianism create extreme responses”

Then a formula for regional economic cooperation will be created, and the Iranian nuclear project will become only peaceful, or it will be dismantled all together and possibly in conjunction with a parallel process of dismantling the Israeli one.

Let us suppose that all of this happens, then the 22 Arab States will create normal relations with Israel, and a new Middle Eastern Union will be established to become an additional peace project to the European Union, and also that this Middle Eastern Union will become part of a wider Mediterranean Union, that will bring the Middle Eastern countries and the Europe together.

If one follows the logic of the Hamilton- [2]Baker report [2] till the end, it will lead to what is described above, also one can find the seeds of such a plan for a Middle Eastern comprehensive solution in the International Crisis Group [3] reports, and some previous American presidents and senators from both the Republican and the Democratic Parties have also called for a similar resolution. There are also many European departments who think alike.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER

This line of thinking is a realistic one, in the sense that it takes in consideration that factors listed below:

“The problems of the region are interconnected therefore they should be solved together”

There is a lot of historically accumulated anger and frustration in the Middle East, and this frustration and anger combined with rising poverty, corruption, and authoritarianism create extreme responses.

The solution should not only be the symptoms such as violence and terrorism, but also the root causes by providing the people of the region with real peace plans, combined with economic development, and the support of participation in all levels being political, social, or economic.

Israel and the West have great historical responsibility for what is going on in the region, therefore they should initiate change, including doing so through radical shift of paradigms.

The solution in Middle East should include bridging the gap with political Islam, and including them in the process of reaching a comprehensive formula for peace.

The problems of the region are interconnected therefore they should be solved together. Solving the problem in one track while leaving the others will result in motivating the others to play the role of spoilers, because their needs are excluded, also considering that the others, can be found now inside each side, being Hamas inside Palestine, or Hizbullah inside Lebanon, in addition to the spoiling countries.

The reconciliation process as described is very important for the international peace to prevail.

If these are assumptions for real peace and prosperity in the Middle East, then why are they not implemented? Why are antagonistic camps disseminating hatred, doubts and war language?

“If these process are accompanied by another indirect track with Hamas (coordinated with Abu Mazen) about the possible reciprocal ceasefire with the Gaza Strip, and the release of Gilad Shalit, Hamas might accept”

It is an outcry of hope that Annapolis meeting will be an opening for shifting paradigms towards a comprehensive Middle Eastern peace, otherwise the meeting participants will go there in order to loose their time, while any partial solution reached to one or more problem, will dwindle then vanish, in the new strong cycle of vicious violence that will prevail.

HOPE

Now with the process of the Annapolis international meeting on the Middle East becoming clearer, a glimpse of hope is arising towards the comprehensive solution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, if not to the Israeli- Arab conflict as a whole.

On the one hand, the Arab official committee for the follow up of the Arab Peace Initiative consists of 12 Arab countries that will attend the Annapolis meeting with all or part of its members. On the other hand, while the Annapolis meeting will focus on the Israeli-Palestinian track and the build up of the Palestinian institutions, it is now clear that there will be a second meeting after Annapolis that will be held in Moscow next March, which will discuss the Golan Heights issue, and therefore focus on the Syrian – Israeli track.

If these process are accompanied by another indirect track with Hamas (coordinated with Abu Mazen) about the possible reciprocal ceasefire with the Gaza Strip, and the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Hamas might accept, at the expense of not playing the role of the spoiler to the political agreement that Abu Mazen might achieve with Israel.

In all tracks: Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine with Israel peace is badly needed.

Let us hope that the Middle East will be rescued this time.