Staff editorial: A long way from accomplishing peace

The Middle East peace process has returned to the media’s spotlight. With talk of ending the incessant conflict once and for all, President Bush will try yet again to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

During her seventh trip to the Middle East this year, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice set a deadline for Palestinians and Israelis to agree on a written document to serve as starting point for a peace plan, but there is no indication that this time attempts at peace will be any more successful than prior engagements.

"Frankly, it’s time for the establishment of a Palestinian state," Rice said at a press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The peace process discourse is like the boy who cried wolf. For years the U.S. has run to the cries of Palestinians and Israelis – since 1993 to be exact, yet nothing has been accomplished for the bickering neighbors.

Unless Palestinian leaders co-operate with Western powers, implementing a discourse for peace process is out of the question. Of course, talks of an independent state Palestinian state come in the aftermath of the standing Western-backed Palestinian government. Would the U.S. or Israel dare sit down with leaders of Hamas? Not likely. And this is exactly why Hamas has been isolated into Gaza – this way the West can negotiate with the unelected collaborators, Fatah officials.

For the upcoming peace process, Palestinians will have to negotiate with the 23 percent of land that they were forced to accept- but ultimately, Israel controls even this small percentage, as was chartered in the 1993 Oslo Accords. How, then, is it fair to characterize peace in a formula or process when already Palestinians have given up so much?

If the U.S. really wants peace in Palestine or Israel, then their needs to be an equilibrium in foreign aid. Israel receives billions of dollars in aid yearly for military assistance but Palestinians are sent practically by comparison.

Normalizing foreign aid, coupled with a cessation of military occupation, is instrumental in establishing peace. Palestinian refugees must be given what is rightfully theirs, and only then will they be convinced of peace. Peace can only be achieved through action.

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