Saturday, March 12, 2011

Urge to promote a solution for Palestine

Marwan Muasher / JAVIER SOLANA

"In full wave of revolutionary change throughout the Arab world, it is easy to think that this is not the time to push for peace between Israel and Palestine. Until things settle down in the Middle East, the old road map seems to have become obsolete and the conventional wisdom is that thinking that is going to move toward a peace agreement is made illusions, given what is convulsed the region. But no, quite the contrary. We face a clear opportunity for the United States and Israel to act with urgency to achieve a lasting agreement.

It is necessary that everyone starts to change in thinking. The old strategy of the international community was to give priority to stability ahead of democracy and pursue peace between Arabs and Israelis by a completely separate diplomatic channels. That policy was a failure: to prefer stability rather than democracy prevented getting any of those things and peace efforts were not isolated from any site. If the U.S. and other world powers want to move towards the three objectives-stability, political reform and peace-must understand such intimate ties between the three and find a way to achieve simultaneous and comprehensive.

The U.S. has been behind the events since the outbreak of the riots. He tried to catch up while popular protests toppled the authoritarian governments of Tunisia and Egypt and now that other systems attempt to cling to power. But what Washington needs is to get in first line, and, while the United States and the international community trying to respond to the situation, would be a mistake to leave aside the peace process.

In the case of United States, the widespread sympathy aroused by the desire for freedom of the Arabs can not exclude compassion for the Palestinians who dream of living free. The Arab world wants dignity, and that includes ending the occupation. Washington should not be selective when it comes to supporting freedom and democracy. If there is firm supporter of the two-state solution, is left behind and hurt their own interests in the Middle East.

Israel must also revise its strategy. As political reforms succeed, Israelis can no longer boast of being the only democracy in the Middle East, and with the changing circumstances on the ground, will be more difficult to ignore the need for independence of the Palestinians. Israel's concern about the possibility that the region becomes more hostile will be realized if new democracies are to prevent the Israeli government to move towards a viable and worthy. At the same time, a peace process involving elected Arab governments and most legitimate help consolidate peace and lasting stability.

The deadline to get a two-state solution is running out, so everyone's interest that will come to an agreement quickly. United States, in particular, would be wrong to hold on to the hope that in future more favorable conditions arise.

If no step towards peace when forming the new Arab democracies, negative opinions about Israel and the United States will be strengthened, and it is clear that the Arab public opinion has, as seen in Tahrir Square. The bad image will be even more difficult any progress. The new governments will be less willing than before to forgive the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the United States may end up having less importance in the new Middle East.

Those who say it is impossible to build peace in a changing situation ignores the fact that precisely in these circumstances, it may contribute to the process from outside. If the West pushes the peace process at this time, you can win the esteem of Arabs and make America has more influence. We do not need a endless bilateral negotiations between Israel and Palestine, we need a regional solution.

We know that the Middle East will not be the region that knew only two months ago, but do not know yet how it will be. America has the opportunity to make history and influence the course followed if it supports real reforms and unlock stalled peace process.

A revolt against a bad government offers the possibility to get not only democracy but also the stability and peace, all at the same time. It would be horrible that this crisis, like many others, ends up being a wasted opportunity."

Source: Elpais

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