Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Arab Cooperation Required to Bring Peace to Gaza

This was published as a letter in the Waterbury Republican-American, February 10, 2009. An analysis of the op-ed to which this responds is also available on the PRIMER blog.

I wish I could agree with my friend Peter Marcuse (Feb. 2 op-ed, 'Israelis vs. Palestinians: the fundamentals'), including his implicit criticism of my perspectives. Unfortunately, he misreads the past, so his prescription for the future essentially calls for repeating past errors.

He calls for Israel to 'show there is an alternative to violence' and in correctly asserts Israel's 'past actions have not shown peaceful negotiations as a priority.'

Near the start of the Oslo Experiment in 1993, Israel began turning over most of Gaza and large parts of the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority. With all the Arabs in Gaza and about 95 percent of those in the West Bank living under their own, not Israeli, government, the Palestinian Arabs rewarded Israeli's concessions by launching a brutal terror campaign featuring murderous bus bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In 2000, Israel agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank. The result was an even more brutal terror offensive, this time featuring suicide bombings.

In 2005, Israel gave all of Gaza to the Palestinian Arabs, only to have Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups use it as a pad for launching thousands of rockets on nearby Sderot.

Israel has shown 'there is an alter native to violence,' and its past actions have shown peaceful negotiations to be a priority. Equally obviously, Israel's efforts haven't worked.

Any realistic approach must recognize Israeli concessions met with terror do not bring peace closer; any realistic approach must recognize the need for the Palestinian Arabs to start adhering to the most basic commitments to which they agreed in 1993: to abandon terror and join with Israel in good-faith negotiations.

Alan H. Stein
The writer is president of PRIMER Connecticut (Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting; www.primerct.org).

No comments: