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A very expensive rejection
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-03-20 22:13:41
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Without any hesitation or surprise, the Israeli prime minister rejected any recognition of the new Palestinian unity government and declared that it recognizes only the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

The US have reacted with caution to the new government but from one side they always react with caution when it comes to the Palestinians and from the other side they have to keep a very sensitive distance since their only loyal ally in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia was the negotiator for this result.

Despite the time distance of just under two years, the US is already in electoral fever with every move judged from the democrats and the foreign policy of the country needs a new more diplomatic attitude. In this sense …caution is a fine word. Even the comments by the Palestinian Prime minister Ismail Haniya in his speech were mild, calling it ‘disappointing’ and the reference to the Palestinian’s ‘right to resistance’ as ‘disturbing’. If you compare that to former comments about ‘terror’ that was really mild.

The EU is always more flexible and, with far more understanding, has already declared that they are ready to go with them as long they recognize Israel’s right to exist and renounce violence. But in this unity government that is exactly what the Palestinians managed to do, Fatah has already fulfilled these demands; he has recognized Israel’s existence and has definitely renounced violence at least regarding Israel. What they have been doing for the last couple of decades is another story and this is not the right place to talk about it.

So, somehow in principle the Palestinians have fully fulfilled all the requirements the quartet was demanding, and with the word ‘quartet’ I mean US, UN, EU and, of course the other protagonist power with interests in the area, Russia. Most of all, the new unity government has the guarantee of the negotiator, Saudi Arabia and please do not believe that the US’s most valuable ally in the area did all this work without informing the US beforehand.

The Palestinian parliament voted to approve the government and its new ministers were sworn in, and it is in this event that the Palestinian prime minister, Mr. Haniya said that, "The government affirms that resistance in all its forms, including popular resistance to occupation, is a legitimate right of the Palestinian people. Our people have the right to defend themselves from continuous Israeli aggression." Which you have to admit is understandable, even if the target was just the Palestinian population who voted for them for exactly this reason - their liberation from the Israelis.

What is left to say is what more do the Israelis want? I think the answer is inside the Israeli political history for the last three decades. For three decades now even the most popular prime ministers suffered a huge loss, even embarrassment, when they came to a reasonable agreement with the Palestinians. Israel’s worst enemy for peace is not the Palestinians but Israel itself. Every Israeli politician saw his/her power increasing when they were ready for war, when in their speeches or acts they humiliated the Palestinians and they saw this very same power decreasing while in negotiations.

Israel unfortunately will never find peace because it doesn’t have peace with its own self and comments like the one from the spokeswoman for Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, who accused the new Cabinet of endorsing the use of "terror". Furthermore, Sallai Meridor, Israel's ambassador in Washington added: "This is a great disappointment and a severe blow to peace." Comments like that don’t help in anything, but just show more how big a problem Israel has and gradually Israel is going to lose the support of the very few allies it still has.

All that because some don’t want to understand that peace has a cost that both sides must be prepared to pay and is not another election trick or, if it is one in the Israeli case, it costs only human lives.

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