The only possible solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict – Part III of III

We Need True Leadership

The hour is getting late and we are heading towards the precipice. Innocent people are dying in hordes as a result of twisted thinking being called sane policy. Generations will live with untold damages to their Psyche.

We need true leadership from Barack Obama, the next Israeli PM, Mahmoud Abbas, Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair and Putin. Why, Putin you may ask?

The Road to Middle East Peace goes through Moscow!

Last American administration’s insistence of not talking to Iran and Syria has only strengthened Moscow’s historical ties with Iran to a point where Kremlin alone has some sway on Tehran. In addition, the planned Missile Defense System in Poland has ensured that Moscow does not use its leverage on Iran for furthering US and hence Israel’s interest.

In a great article in NY Times titled “Let Russia Stop Iran” the authors Oded Eran, Giora Eiland and Emily Landau argue, in essence, that Obama should improve relations with Russia and ask in return for Russia to have Iran stop its Nuclear program.

I believe the following minimal steps need to be undertaken urgently:

1.  Obama should call of the Missile Defense System. It has less than 10% chance of working, multiply that with the threat probability of Russia or a rogue nation launching a missile against America and you have a very low chance for use and success. Additionally, he should increase trade dramatically with Russia.

2. Like Obama indicated during his campaign, his administration should absolutely talk to Iran and Syria directly, as one thing I believe both Iranian and Syrian leadership wants most is recognition and respect from America.

3. US should also open up a diplomatic office in Tehran and Damascus, increase trade, support IMF loans and allow for a student exchange program, all to build trust .

4. In exchange Russia and US both should ask for Syria and Iran to stop supporting Hamas and Hezbollah completely and fully. And if that is not achieved with peaceful means US should surely use military threat at that point to force their hands.

5. US should, like professed by Mr. Kristof in recent articles in NY Times and by Aaron Miller in Newsweek, start showing tough love to Israel. Barack and Hillary have a very strong and special role to play. Simultaneous to pull-back of Hamas and Hezbollah, Israel has to be convinced to open the blockade of Gaza both from Land and Sea and in general allow for the people of Gaza to live a life of normalcy and respect.

In addition, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq should all play a highly constructive role throughout this critical phase of diplomacy and confidence building.

Any Al Qaeda attempts during this time to derail the process should be dealt with in sanguine and not reactionary manner. In this regard, measured Indian responses to continued attacks by Pakistani terrorist group is a good template to follow.

Al Qaeda has to be defeated firmly and the civilized world cannot play in to its barbaric hands by letting their attacks, if there were any during this period, force the progress of unrelated activities to be derailed.

In my opinion that is the only way Israel and Palestine can come to the negotiating table.

The New Carter-Sadat-Begin , please stand up!

Only after the above steps are followed can enough trust, since the problem is primarily of trust, be built to allow for a negotiated settlement. In Carter’s book, “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid,” he clearly mentions that the trust level was such that Sadat went over and above what was asked of him in a few cases. Of course he paid for his bravery with his life but every Egyptian since the Camp David Accord should thank him profusely for the peace with Israel since.

Obama can clearly be the Carter, and the next Israeli PM can be the Begin, the Palestine choice has to be Abbas but with Hamas accomodated in other ways (power sharing and cabinet posts) since it has a very strong support base (only growing with the current war) amonst the Gazan population.

I believe the highly circuitous road — Washington-London-Moscow-Tehran-Damascus-Cairo-Tel-Aviv-Palestine has to be travelled otherwise we will be living the all to familiar and all to sad story of the Israel-Palestine conflict over and over again.


3 Responses

  1. So much has been written about the Arab-Israel conflicts. It is almost universally accepted that this small piece of the Land on the meeting point of the two continents of Asia and Africa is the greatest flash-point in the world- the most violent, volatile and dangerous one. While at the basic level, it is a dispute between Israel and Palestinians, on a broader level it can be extended and linked to the so-called “Clash of the Civilizations” as enunciated by Huntington.
    But why the conflict? The conflict arises from competing Jewish and Arab national aspirations for the same region which one of them calls and believes to be Palestine (a the land they had been living for the last thousand years or so) and the other as Israel (the mythical promised homeland of the world-wide Jews). And the real culprit are the powerful and self-seeking European Nations, Britain being in lead, who left behind so many artificial and non-ending disputes all over the places they ruled and where they created so many irregular, unwarranted and illogical barriers and boundaries that suited them. In this particular case, the British played simultaneously with these two Nationalities making conflicting promises to both in the forms of the Hussein-McMahon correspondence and the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which supported the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. It was only because of this two-mouthed British policy that tensions between Arab and Jewish groups in the region erupted into physical violence resulting in so many riots. And when the British thought that the heat being generated out of this was too much for it to handle, it left the place one fine morning leaving the place to simmer and burn with intermittent volcanic eruptions since then.
    In 1947, the U.N. did approve the partition of the land but the Arabs of that time underestimated Israelis resulting in the ill-fated Arab-Israel war of 1948.
    Without going into any further history, I would end this Article by saying that the Arab-Israel conflict is an extremely sad, ill fated and misfortunate saga of blood and gory. Thousands of innocent people on both the sides have died, giving rise to so many heroes and villains on both sides of border.
    But who is the real enemy- once it was Britain and today, it is both of them who are still behaving like the illegitimate fratricidal children of Britain. And what is the way out? The only way out is peaceful, mutual coexistence, without going into the detailed analysis of who did what and who is responsible for what putrid acts. Because getting down to that is like opening a Pandora’s box where there would be no ending to accusations and counter-accusations. So, peace would reign in this region, as and when it finally does, only when they both realize that they don’t have the capacity to exterminate the other and will go on to exist in each-other’s neighbourhood. So why not say enough is enough and accept the other side, even with complete distaste.

    Dr Nutan Thakur,
    Nutan Satta Pravah,

  2. Why do all the time we need third country to resolve the conflict between two countries. Why USA, Russia, Britain- so called developed nations are needed for resultion? It reminds me of village – fight among common people were solved by village chief and guess who benefitted– it was the village chief.

    UNO was created to provide justice. So nations should try to make UNO effective.

    • Dear Anand,

      Great question. My answer is three fold:
      1. Continuing with your village analogy, the reason that the village chief gets involved is because the two people that are fighting hate each other’s guts so much that they don’t even talk to each other. Hence a 3rd party is required to mediate.
      2. Countries are supremely interconnected. In the case of Israel-Palestine the big powers are already involved. Just that they are encouraging destruction. So the call is for them to use their influence for a solution. However, that requires for them to talk to each other 1st and feel good about each other and trust each other before they exert influence on Israel and Palestin forces to solve problems.
      3. Regarding UN: In my opinion, UN is a forum that exists based upon the rationale that if it didn’t exist, things will be worse. It is a very bland endorsement of UN so I agree with your main point that it is mostly toothless. It provides a forum for all to talk and that’s its best value.

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