Time for a peace move

The British foreign secretary has a point. William Hague believes that the United States can seize the opportunity and broker a permanent thaw between Israel and the Palestinians.

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Published: Tue 27 Nov 2012, 8:39 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 12:50 AM

Truly the buck stops at Washington. His optimism rests on the ceasefire that was recently attained in Gaza, and the fact that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is once again knocking at the UN General Assembly doors seeking a ‘non-member’ observer state.

The politician-cum-diplomat is right as he says that it’s high time for a huge effort on the Middle East process. The exchange of artillery between Hamas and Israel, after a long lull, has just gone on to establish the supremacy of armed organisations in the volatile region — and the marginalisation of political entities like Fatah of the ruling Palestinian Authority. If Abbas, who is a hawk with the challenge that there won’t be any third Intifada as long as he is at the helm of affairs, becomes a victim of veto power politics at the UN General Assembly, then it would be a disaster in the making.

The Palestinians’ effort last year was defeated as the US kept its fingers-crossed, as it foresaw an election year at home. Perhaps it never wanted to antagonise the influential Jewish vote bank. This time around, the realities are quite different. President Barack Obama has to once again lead from the front, and ensure that his two-state vision becomes a reality.

Prudence has it that Palestinians should be made part of the process rather than dealt with them on a piecemeal basis. It’s time for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an ally of Britain, to heed to calls from men like Hague, and go on to make the path of diplomacy and statehood easy for the Palestinians. Adamant attitude on the part of Tel Aviv hasn’t helped in normalising relations with the Palestinians. Israel should give up its objections on easing restrictions on Gaza and enter into meaningful talks to address the dispute in totality.

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