After the Annapolis: Peace is Really Difficult in the Middle East
Wednesday , 05 December 2007
A week after the Annapolis Summit, Palestinians, Israelis and more than 40 state’delegations are pleased to announce its end without a fiasco. As there were no strong expectations, it was not difficult to satisfy the delegates. If one reviews today’s news he/she will see political landscape’s changing as the 2008 presidential elections for the U.S. approach and as the Iranian nuclear program worries Israel.
In last week’s Summit, President Bush was tired of Iraq; Israeli PM Olmert was the loser in the eyes of his public for failures in Lebanon and corruption; and Palestinian President Abbas was talking to ‘the ghost of Hamas’. Three ‘weak’ leaders were in front of the public without touching the core issues of the conflict and the deadline of 2008 looming. The result is biweekly meetings between Olmert and Abbas and a relaunch of the road map.
The first road map was announced by President George W. Bush in 2002 June. The Middle East Quartet issued the document one year later in 2003 May following the Iraq War. According to the document, the final date was 2005 for signing the final status agreement after the transitional process to manage the normalization following the establishment of institutions. The emphasis was to end violation and terror in the region to solve the conflict. Because of the unforeseen developments all the plans had to change direction and we came to today.
The parties came to a decision for a Joint Declaration only minutes before the Summit began. Among the participants the Arabs were particularly concerned about its fate and they asked the question, “Why are we here?”. It was a success for Israel to gain the attendance of almost all Arab countries. The aim of isolating Iran is accomplished by the participation of Syria and secret negotiations to be conducted with Syria after the Summit.
After sixty years from 29 November 1947 (the date of recommendation of UN Resolution 181 to divide Mandate Palestine) Bush reaffirmed his support for a two state solution but he didn’t provide adequate details. And after fourteen years from the official peace agreements we again witnessed that peace is ellusive in the Middle East.
When the leaders returned to their homes they began expecting great effort to persuade their people. Abbas called the Annapolis Summit a historical event, the aim being on end to the occupation of Israel in the territories (including East Jerusalem) and to find a solution for refugees based on UN Resolution 194. On Sunday, Olmert submitted a document to the cabinet and said that there is no timetable and the security of Israel is the core precondition for future meetings.
Radicals in Israel and Palestine protested the Summit and claimed that noone has the right to provide concessions on their behalf. There is no doubt about the immediate needs to improve conditions in the West Bank, economic issues, and checkpoints.However, we are most concerned about the possible humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Cutting of fuel continuous and a possibile intervention to the Gaza Strip is not in the distant future.
In the Annapolis Summit, the Foreign Minister of Turkey, Ali Babacan, also stressed four needs for both nations: the continuation of the existing political dialog, providing security for both nations, the improvement of economic relations and the acceptance of differences between the two nations as a source of richness. These points are important to carry out sustainable development beteew any nations and the most for Palestinians and Israelis.
At the end of the day, we understand that Bush supports Road Map and we should accept that the last week’s Summit is not a result but the beginning of a thorny ‘peace process’. Secondly, we have learned from our previous experiences that if there are any radical developments in Palestinian politics, like the death of Arafat in 2004 or 2006 election results, the fate of the second Road Map will not be different from the first....http://www.turkishweekly.net/op-ed/2304/after-the-annapolis-peace-is-really-difficult-in-the-middle-east.html
Wednesday , 05 December 2007