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Making peace in the Mideast
Publication Date : 01-08-2013
Even before the negotiation process between the Israeli and Palestinian delegations began in Washington DC on Monday (Tuesday Jakarta time), media and observers were already sceptical that the peace-making effort would bring positive results, while observing the deadlock on issues of settlements, prisoners, borders and the return of Palestinian refugees.
However, the attempt by US Secretary of State John Kerry to revive the prolonged stalled talks deserves support from all sides. Even if they don’t support his initiative, at least they must refrain from ruining it at such an early stage. The initiative will at least be the beginning of peace negotiations between the two nations. It is much better for them to “shout at each other” at the negotiation table rather than “shoot at each other” at sites in the Holy Land .
The establishment of the State of Palestine is very evident and Israel could only delay it for a while, and therefore its leaders should not make it a stumbling block for negotiatiations, which would likely last for several months. The ongoing negotiations will at least create a more conducive security atmosphere in the territory.
President Barack Obama, who received delegations from both sides at the White House on Tuesday, apparently wants to repeat the feat of his two predecessors of the Democratic Party, who inherited a strong legacy on the Middle East. President Jimmy Carter successfully brokered a historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in March 1979. Bill Clinton helped Israel and Palestine sign a peace accord in September 1993.
Political chaos in Egypt and the brutal war between the regime of Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad and opposition groups became serious threats for Israel, which shares borders with the two countries. The Palestinians, including Hamas in Gaza, are also strongly affected by political upheavals.
The Arab Spring, in which democracy was initially expected to blossom throughout the Arab world, had offered big hope that Palestine would get stronger and more concrete support from Arab countries. However, there is little reason to be faithful to the expectation so far.
Despite its limited capacity, Indonesia has always tried to contribute to the capacity building of the Palestinians, by providing scholarships or training to Palestinian officials. Indonesia also needs to continuously convince Israel, which Indonesia has no diplomatic ties with, to continue the negotiation process.
Peace making attempts deserves support from all who want to see permanent peace in Middle East.