The Collapsing Annapolis Peace Process

With the Israeli re-invasion of Gaza, it's clear that the "Annapolis Peace Process" is collapsing. Does it matter? Who's to blame?

Posted by David Ignatius on March 4, 2008 1:52 PM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (37)

Lisa :

Well this question has certainly played out against an amazing news of today (3.10) there appears a tacit agreement between a Israel and Hamas for a ceasefire which is very good...Qatar is helping with peace negotiations which is very good too as there is a personal relationship there with Damascus Hamas leadersship and a good one with Israel...Recently Yossi Beilin referenced that Qatar wanted to assist and it looks like someone n Isarel finally listed to they should listen and meet his request for negotiations with Hamas...

One concern in an otherwise more positive turn of events as a new week starts is that Cheney is off to Middle East on March 16 ..even going to West Bank ...I hope not to meet with Dahlan ..let's hope his attempts to meddle in Palestinian politics is course if you want to see endless intra fighting between Palestinians that is exactly what yo would do ...give Dahlan power in a Abbas government or replace Abbas with Dahlan...maybe some intrepid journalist will tell us the reason for Cheney's visit to West Bank?...he is also going to Saudi Arabia ...maybe to apologize to King Abdullah for destroying/disrupting the Mecca Agreement of a unity gov for Palestine last March? He should because Condi was no doubt only saluting...

OR maybe there is positive movement on a Hamas-Fatah new unity government and he wants to see what portfolios Hamas will have?

Dave! :

It doesn't matter anymore than the Dayton Peace Accords or the any of the other fruitless peace initiatives sponsored by the US. Why any US president cares one cent about being a "peacemaker" between the Israelis and the Palestinians is beyond me. Here is what the next US president should do - tell the idiot factions to cowboy up and settle it on their own. They can fight it out or mediate it out or some combination thereof. Ultimately, it is up to the two factions and only them. Blaming the US for their failures is LMFAO funny.

Lisa :

The question has to be answered by the pace of the news Sun 3/9 BBC reports:

"Israel approves settlement growth

Building at Givat Zeev has been stalled for several years
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has approved a plan to build up to 750 new homes in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
The project was first signed off in 1999, but stopped two years later after Palestinian labourers refused to go on.

Israel's housing minister said the construction at Givat Zeev would address "the demographic needs of Jerusalem".

According to the report Shas threat of leaving the government resulted in the above act. Well, let's see Abbas and US response...more tsk tsking ...followed by more rage and violence by Hamas ...and probably more recruits ...

I have decided today that it would have been better that Annapolis never happened, how could anyone think a policy mostly crafted by Elliot Abrams could lead to Middle East Peace?...I finally got around to reading the Vanity Fair article...and today I decided the derailed peace process is all Elliot Abrams fault! He won't mind that I say that, this was the plan, at least his plan from day one, he wants to see the demise of the Palestinian people and/or some federation with Jordan etc...not peace leading to a Palestinian state. I heard this Vanity Fair scenario sometime ago and truly hope that there are documents to support it... The fact that Abrams escapes all scruitiny by the main stream press is unfortunate, that this article in Vanity Fair has not sparked more public discussion is not good, if there are credible documents there should be congressional hearings NOW ...the real question is why was he hired from the get go after his disgraced Iran-Contra days of which most believe only a little bit of the role he played came to light...President Bush has been led around by his nose and he is not even bright enough to understand else can you explain it? Unless some how Bush was told he must take him on because Abrams had certain cards in his hands that he would find a way to play that could prove unpleasant for Bush, so hire him ...keep him happy ...
Remenber his e-mail attack on the administration after the N Korea breakthru? Think about it, an aministration that is gung ho on loyal acts and obedience first... ethics and brains second... allows him to stay and play a major role in policy after sending the e-mails??? Something is off about his presense and his power in this administration, and the press is either to clueless and/or lazy to connect dots easy to say oh there goes another conspiracy theory ...the hard thing is to say like Samantha Power just said acurately that some people will do anything to see their personal agenda thru...
Abrams has always had an is being successfully implemented in the Middle East today and it has nothing to do with peace or spreading democracy, and someone someday needs to expose the means and methods that have allowed him to be so successful at implementing his agenda.

pete murray :

This conflict is not solvable piecemeal. Only by involving all the parties in one single final deal can it be sorted out.

The pretext for excluding Hamas is essentially because it rejects Israel's right to exist. However, the Israeli parliament, including the current Israeli coalition, contains a significant number of deputies who reject the notion of an independent Palestinian state. Some openly call for the ethnic-cleansing of the West Bank and Gaza. Why then are we talking to this Israeli government while it contains such people?. The usual asymmetric US standards is the answer.

Everyone, including the inconvenient elected rejectionists on both sides will need to be involved if there is to be any prospect of peace.

More US moral asymmetricity is evidenced by primarily blaming Hamas for the current impass. We didn't blame the French Resistance for attacking their occupiers (including the civilian administrators and their families) when France was under military occupation. In fact, we helped arm the terrorists (as the occupiers labeled the Resistance).

And there is more than one obstacle to peace. A significant part of the Israeli polity is openly or implicitly pursuing a policy of colonization. Their "greater Israel" project would be aborted by a peace settlement, and it is determined to frustrate it by provocation. Collective reprisals against the Palestinian population provokes home-made rockets and suicide-bombers. However, the cost to Israel in casulties is minimal. Historical comparisons show that in wars whose purpose is territorial aggrandisement, the aggressor is usually prepared to accept significant casualties to achieve its objective. For the Israelis this must be one of the least costly colonization-projects in history in terms of their own casualties.

And let no-one be in doubt of what israel is after. If security and not land were the real objective of israel policy, the Israelis could have built their wall on their own land.

We helped write the international laws which criminalized the expropriation of occupied land. Yet now we blame the occupied population for resisting the stealing of their land, and refuse to use our considerable economic leverage to stop an activity which is contrary to stated US policy, and repugnant to core US values. It is obvious that Israel believes that it can take our money while rejecting our interests and values.

Nobody negotiates if they are not put under pressure. Peace will need to be imposed. There is no use expecting the Israelis, with all the weaponary, and bankrolled by billions of US tax-dollars (whether or not the act in accordance with US interests) to negotiate an even-handed settlement with an impoverished people who have no economic or military leverage. Why bother, when another ten or fifteen years of ghettoizing, bantustanization, economic lockdown, targeted destruction of civil-infrastructure, and expropriation of the water-resources and public and private property of the non-Jewish population will provide a final solution to Israel's "Arab Problem".

The only thing we can be sure of is that Congress will continue to ensure that no pressure is put on Israel while it continues its land-grab.


Thanks to MIKAEL for the links! A most telling and credible perspective one does see presented and discussed too often in the US media, and for obvious reasons...

WALLI writes: "Crush Hamas at whatever cost!"

Most would add: "... but not at the cost of self-destruction..."

Otherwise, such a call is nothing but pure insanity!

But it is not yet the business and responsibility of any WALLI to decide on the fate of mankind.

Al Wilson :

The greatest mistake of the 20th Century was U.S. support for Israeli statehood. Israel must pick up its stakes and move somewhere else. The world would be much better off and much safer.

Mikael :

The story on Gaza appeared in September in Jeune Afrique Magazine in French (an investigation by Jan Fallstrom): “WHAT REALLY HAPENED IN GAZA?”
or PDF version on

Caliph :

Annapolis Peace Process is dead since 1492 when millions Muslims perished in Spain the Andalusia 4 vast Continents were stolen and one State of Caliphate was destroyed in 1916. Rest is lies and deception to Muslims like in 1492, Russian invasion of central Asia Muslim land including Afghanistan, war in 1916, 10 year war against Iran, war in 1991 and 2003.

Walli :

ANOTHER step to peace:

Make sure there is a looser and a winner of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict BEFORE peace talks are started, concessions made and a fair security agreement instaured!

Crush Hamas at whatever cost!

Zoltan :

"the "Annapolis Peace Process" is collapsing. Does it matter? Who's to blame?"

Those who set-up the Annapolis meting are to blame. Nobody seriously believed anything constructive would come out of it. Alternatively, you can blame those fools who believed in it.

60 years of history have proved at least one thing: there is no 2-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.


ONE STEP to peace.

Want peace?

Go see all your Arab victims and offer to protect them, to give them back all you have taken from them and to restore, at your expense, everything you have destroyed that belonged to them.

"Simple, isn't it?"

Al Peia :

International Law Violator/War Criminal Zionist regime only nuclear-armed country in the M.E. won’t sign the NPT
As Arab foreign ministers met at the Cairo headquarters of the Arab League to prepare for their annual summit at the end of the month, they also issued a series of statements on regional issues, including extremely sensitive matter of the Zionist regime's refusal to sign the NPT. Arab states, all of which are signatories to the treaty, have long called for a nuclear-free Middle East and expressed their concern over Israel's apparent possession of nuclear weapons. The International Law Violator and War Criminal Zionist israeli regime is reportedly the only nuclear-armed country in the Middle East which has refused to sign the NPT.
This initiative like others has become a fool's errand absent some teeth; viz., enforcement of prior resolutions/accords(ie.Oslo,etc.), international law/NPT, and cut-off of israeli aid (which is costly beyond just money that america doesn't have) absent compliance (ie., Eisenhower took the proper approach to israel in protecting america's geo-political interests).

Lisa :

Well yet another "Peace Effort"! there are several problems with this effort also...Israel rebuffed Carter/Kofi outreach made recently they won't make any progress wit at least one of the parties needed for peace...further, in looking at the date of this will be too little too late ...either Israel will be dealing with INTIFADA III or ISRAEL-LEBANON WAR III or BOTH...

"A council of world leaders launched by former President Nelson Mandela is sending a three-person team to try to help ease tensions in the Middle East, the organization known as The Elders said Friday.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former Irish President Mary Robinson will visit Israel, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia April 13-21." HaAretz 3.7

Mohammad allam :

i am sorry to say that who told you that there is a peace process in pipe line ?All these drama of peace process in middle east ,is a lolly pop to Arab world by the west to get their support for next adventure in middle east.No goverment in washigton or Arab world can decide the finalisation of middle east peace process till the Isreal establishment does not okeyed.And no israeli goverment can deviate from the dream of greater israel.All these so call peace process is time buying tactics adopted by the western power and israel.if there would peace in middle east then the very purpose of the craetion of israel will end and that will led the end of the utility of israel in western blocks.
other hand the might of usa forcing the arab dictators to go for the final peace.the fear of radical element s in arab world one hand and the power of usa other hand making them to walk on tight rope.The dream of graetor israel is another factor from the side of the israel.
the only one can blam for all these fall out is the master who started this process.only America can settle for this.America can compell both parties to accept the peace process.but the strong lobby of israeli and western lack of will and design making america to no do any thing.
islamic world have not capacity to force the all parties to accept the term.Uno is also a party to blame.if any muslim country violates the rule of UNo then it is ready to impose sanction but not sanction for israeli.why?these double standard of uno making people to not beleive in uNo justice and forcing them to setlle the case with violence.justice delays means justice deny.and all those who delaying the solution of israel-palestine are real culprit and real enemy of humanity and civilisation.

BobL-VA :

I have wrote before and I will unfortunately write again 60 years of a religious conflict isn't going away because a certain percentage of people who aren't part of it want it to. I predicted Annapolis would fail just like every other effort. I take no pride in being right. Quite the contrary, I hate violence.

The Arabs won't be happy until all the residents of Israel have been driven into the sea. Israel won't be happy until the Arabs accept them. Newsflash people, the Arab world isn't interested in sharing territory with non-Muslims.

The fundamental core issues surrounding this conflict aren't open to peace negotiations. Ultimately, it will have to come down to armed conflict on a massive scale. Arabs are not willingly going to accept Israel and Israel isn't about to give up the land that "God" and the UN gave them.

Yes, it is a bleak future in the ME. The reasoning behind my arguing for an offical position of neutrality in the ME by the US has been to avoid getting sucked into a religous war that we have no business being in. Well, Bish has now put us in the middle of it so the best I can hope for is the next president can get us out of it. There are no positive outcomes from taking sides in this conflict. We should only offer humanitarian support to both sides, be prepared for another war between the sides and hope for the best.

Yousuf Hashmi :

No body to blame. They are all part of the problem

Annapolis was a show case. A fantasy . Just a meeting point of the exclusive club that is all. It was never any intention of any body to solve the problem,.

Arabs Israel, US Hamas all wants to maintain status quo.

And the palestinians they are just the pawn for those who love to play this game. So they are not stake holder.

This game will continue like a movie. Some time hope some time sorrow untill the directors will themselves fed up and will look for a change.

Then you will see the solution will come overnight and for that no Annapolis will be needed

egalitaire :

this question is loaded and poorly articulated, let me point out the "question's flaws":

1. "With the Israeli re-invasion of Gaza,"
"re-invasion of gaza" is a misnomer because the gaza has been occupied since the six day war of june 1967. since the six day war of 1967, the religous state has promoted israeli settlements within the gaza strip.

2. "It's clear that the "Annapolis Peace Process" is collapsing." first of all, what is "Annapolis Peace Process". secondly, what are the objectives of the "Annapolis Peace Process"? thirdly, i think you're talking about the Annapolis Conference of 2007 concerning israeli and palestinian interests.

3. "Does it matter?" does what matter? what are you thinking? are you asking this question as it pertains to americans? are you asking this question as it pertains to non-americans? are you asking this question as it pertains to arabs? are you asking this question as it pertains to israelis? are you asking this question as it pertains to muslims? are you asking this question as it pertains christians? are you asking this question as it pertains to jews?

4. "Who's to blame?" my answer is simply, YOU!

divad :

Israel is accused of refusing to make peace and accept the two state solution.
1 - Israel proved that it is open to peace when the counterpart accept to respect the conditions of the treaty. Egypt and Jordan have repectively signed a peace treaty and peace has been respected ever since.
2 - After the Oslo accords, Arafat was allowed back. He was allowed to control the West Bank and Gaza and, with the open borders, palestinian workers were allowed to work in Israel, an airport was opened and a ganbling casino was opened in the territories, with Palestinian and Israeli partners. Palestinian from abroad returned with some capital in order to start new businesses.
3 - At the Bill Clinton's peace meeting in Camp David, Israel offered Yasser Arafat to sign a peace treaty, accept a Palestinian state and relinquish East Jerusalem. Arafat refused and started the first intifada, in spite of his promise, when receiving the Peace Nobel Prize, never to use violence from there on. All the hopes described in par.2 above were destroyed.
4 - Israel decided unilterally to evacuate Gaza of its settlers and army, and allow this territory to be governed by the Palestinians. Instead of improving their population hardships, Hamas took over control by force from the Palestinian authorities and started sending rockets on Israel southern cities. Israel did not retaliate with force until the rockets increased tremendously and started to make civilian victims and damage. With no violence from Gaza there would have been no violence or closure of Gaza's borders.
Hamas should stop violence and rhetoric by which they wish to destroy Israel and start building instead of destroying.
The Palestinians have received billions of dollars and help of all sorts since 1948, but instead of using them constructively, their population are still in what they call 'refugee camps', being taught hatred of jews and Israel and the ways to commit suicide to kill civilians.
Peace is still possible if the Palestinian counterpart is ready to respect an agreement. Annapolis expected that the Palestinians stop the violence and Israael to prepare and help the creation of the new Palestinian state.
Who really wishes and end to occupation and of years of violence, killings and destruction? An honest answer to this question will allow the answer to your question.

MikeB :

People are being delussional. No one involved wants this to work. The Palestinian's *elected* Hamas because thy would unceasingly attack Israel. They HATE Israel, blame the Jews for all of their failings, literally celebrate in the streets when Israeli citizens are butchered. The Israeli's are overloaded with "Palestinian's", who have flocked to the West Bank, Gaza, and elsewhere looking for jobs. They don't want them, they don't want to share scarce resources that *they* developed with them (like water) and would gladly press a button and have the whole lot just disappear. Israel wants to attack Iran and destroy it's nuclear research facilities and is courting the Bush White House and the CIA. God help us if they are successful! Realize one thing from all of this, "peace in the Middle East" is a phantom and Israel's interests are not our interests, neither are the interests of the Palestinian's. We have no sane reason for any involvement in that area of the world. Develop energy independence ASAP and get out.

Carl Senna :

The question of blame needs to be rephrased to who controls the peace process and who wants to control it? In that sense no one is to blame for wanting to control the outcome of the negotiations. Even if someone could roll back the Gaza sea coast so that Gaza was the same geographical size as Israel,the historical expropriation of Palestinian Arab land, the expulsion of Palestinians from what is now Israel, and other forms of human rights violations that continue to this day would still be bones of contention between the two sides leading to violent responses from the Palestinian resistance movements. The resistance has demonstrated an existential power, refusing to concede its historical claim for retribution and justice for the seizure of its land and the dissolution of its society. Out of that sheer act of will the violence against Israel will continue whenever opportunity presents itself to strike. The solution to this reprehensible condition has three stages: One is for the supporters of Israel and the supporters of the Palestinian claims, who live outside the Middle East to negotiate what the supporters will accept as terms for peace. The second stage is for the supporters of Israel and the supporters of the Palestinian claims in the Middle East's Islamic world to negotiate what they will accept as terms of peace. And the third step is for the supporters of Israel, both outside and inside Israel, and the supporters of the Palestinian claims, both outside and inside the Middle East, respectively to join their Israeli and Palestinian leaders to negotiate collectively a comprehensive peace agreement. That way, every interest in the conflict, Russia, Europe, the USA, and other countries, can participate in the negotiations. Third parties divided by interest groups would be eliminated, because the third parties are seldom neutral, in that they are nearly always divided between supporters of either Israel or the Palestinians. Hence the third parties in the negotiations have not been able to influence either side, for the third parties offer only divided, mixed and incoherent counsel to each side. In the USA,for instance, AIPAC and Israel's supporters, on one side, and the National Council of Churches supporting Palestine, Oil interests, and Arab American organizations, on the other side, have each their respective Congressional and State Department exponents. And the division of support crosses Democratic and Republican party lines. So when President Bush sends Secretary Rice to the Middle East to direct the peace negotiations, is anyone surprised that the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are unable to close any deal that the Americans propose? To accept any American solution that disappoints one's enemies is fine. But to accept a solution that disappoints one's friend and patron is unacceptable. And yet Secretary Rice could not identify those friends and patrons if the peace process depended on it.

AMviennaVA :

Does it matter? YES.

Who is to blame? There is much of that to go around, but Bush's is the largest. His 'roadmap' was never accepted by Israel; he has Abrams (convicted felon from Iran-Contra activities) shaping our mid-East policy; he has the idiotic notion that you negotiate only with those who already agree with you; and of course the November whatever it was (it started as a conference and they ended up calling it a 'meeting') was a farce. On top of that, neither Bush nor anyone in his administration has any idea how to close a deal. (That may be why they only 'negotiate' with those who already agree with them).

Anju Chandel, New Delhi, India :

All three of them: the US, Israel and Palestine. Nobody seems to be ready to accept the 'reality' and then move towards 'real' peace, together. ... Till then, the chaos will continue in that disputed and disturbed land.

Lisa :

You ask does it matter? In certainly does in regard to Israel. The longer the occupation continues spurring on Arab/Muslim extremism that endangers the entire world...the more the idea of a single state solution will take hold as a more obtainable and equitable solution to world public opinion and policy makers . Obviously, a single state solution is not in Israel's they better wake up and find a solution to creating a Palestinian State, and this means dealing with Hamas via negotiations. The burden is on Israel, they have all the cards, they are the sronger party....they need to make this move with or without the US blessing...In any event the US has never understood the Middle East...worse it has never tried to..

Anonymous :

All three of them: the US, Israel and Palestine. Nobody seems to be ready to accept the 'reality' and then move towards 'real' peace, together. ... Till then, the chaos will continue in that disputed and disturbed land.

Lisa :

Andrea"No government on Earth can allow a foreign country to fire rockets into its territory. Israel's response has been remarkably restrained. It is only a matter of time before Hamas hits Tel Aviv."

Gaza is NOT a foreign country it is remains a occupied territory even after IDF exit... I think Hamas is not using its political smarts, it gained both political and PR ground with its gutzy breach of boder between Egypt and Gaza...the allowed Dimona attack to set it back...and now more ping pong violence has taken hold with the real lossers Gaza's headlines appear to report Egyptians are trying to work some magic with a cease fire. I hope they can ...sooner or later Abbass and Israel will be negotiating with Hamas directly ...not just via backchannels...they might as well get on with it now...Southern Lebanon needs serious attention and Israel cannot be drained and preoccupied with Gaza insurrections.

Anonymous :


Andre Pachter, USA :

Hamas is directly to blame. But Iran is behind Hamas. The Shiite islamist regime in Tehran is using its Sunni Islamist ally in Gaza to ratchet up tensions in the Middle East, much as the monstrous mullahocracy has used its Shiite Islamist proxy, Hezbollah. The latter group would collapse without Iran; Hamas would be seriously weakened without Iranian support.

No government on Earth can allow a foreign country to fire rockets into its territory. Israel's response has been remarkably restrained. It is only a matter of time before Hamas hits Tel Aviv.

But all that is only a warmup for the main event--a coordinated all-out assault. Iran's intentions are clear: to destroy Israel, drive the US from the Middle East, and put itself in a position to credibly threaten Europe. Iran is imperialist, according to the classical political realist definition of the term. It seeks to change the status quo, regionally and globally, even.

Andre Pachter, Editor
China Confidential


As the madness extends daily beyond what one writes and at a faster pace than one can possibly document such folly, I wish to add this to my previous post and call some suggestions and initiatives by their true name.

The suggestions and/or the practise of "evacuating" whole populations from their respective homelands and of sterilizing them, in the hope of making them "disappear" and soon cease to exist, do not appear on the list of conditions of possibility for a peace process to exist. Above all, they have proved counterproductive.

One may extend the boundaries of one's territory or empire all the way to the moon or to Jupiter, one's enemies will return and continue to attack from the moon and from Jupiter, even from Pluto, should that prove necessary, however long it may take. Centuries, even millennia will not even matter. Genocidal rituals are no adequate substitutes for genuine, lasting peace.

Returning to the question of responsibility, those who suggest such genocidal rituals be resorted to bear full responsibility for their implementation and consequences. They ought to be made accountable, and be sanctioned according to international and Nuremberg laws.

It is the moral responsibility of each and everyone of us not to let such rituals unfold right in front of our eyes. In this case more particularly, to prevent such abuse of power and genocide is in the realm of what WE, ourselves CAN and OUGHT to do.

Yousef Ahmed :

It is difficult to imagine peace or talk about peace while the killing of Palestinians is a “daily routine” as the Israeli Army describes its attacks against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Those who blame Hamas should ask themselves if they can remember any period since 1948 in which the Israelis stopped killing Palestinians. Not to defend Hamas, but it was Hamas which offered Israel a cease fire and Israel which rejected their offers up to at least three times. Israel never intended to allow a Palestinian state inside historical Palestine. The only Israeli leader who believed in peace with the Palestinians by allowing them to have their own state was Rabin. That is why he was assassinated.
The Israelis went to Annapolis to shake hands with the Saudis and some other Arabs, but definitely not to make peace. Annapolis was for them not more than a photo opportunity. Abbas had no option but to go. He is not in position to say no the president Bush. Bush, who was trying to save as much as he can of his bad reputation in the Middle East and cover up his failure in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one believes that an agreement could be reach before he leaves office. Of course everybody will blame the Palestinians again.
Annapolis was born dead because the situation on the ground is becoming more like apartheid than military occupation. Palestinians in Gaza jailed in the strip begging Israel for their water, food and medicines at the same time going the hill the Israeli military power. In the West Bank more settlements are taking more Palestinian land pushing the Palestinians into cantons surrounded by the wall. New roads made only for Jewish settlers and the economy is systematically destroyed.
In short the dream called two state solution has been buried long time ago and the situation on the ground is the last wake up call to forget this illusion.
Yousef Ahmed
Palestinian journalist

lee :

When we wanted to show a billigerant country that the wishes of the rest of the world should be adhered to, we use UN resolutions that often follow with sanctions.....Why is it that those resolutions that would have required Israel to withdraw from lands taken never been enforced? Not even referred to when talking about events in the so called middle east? It appears to me that this would be a substantial start to unraveling security issues for Israel and statehood for Palestine....All else is just smoke screen politics to take as much land as possible, wear down the Palestinians to a point of giving up.
Israel didn't want to negotiate with Arafat...In comes Hamas to fill the void of the sanctions and now isolate Gaza (Hamas) from the rest of Palestine......Doesn't that look like slowly wearing down the spirit of a people at the same time building a wall and taking more land.....All while America stands by watching and sending more money....

Jack Kessler :

Everything that is said is empty blah blah blah. Until the rocket attacks on Israel stop, nothing else can or should be done. The Palestinians in the West Bank have made it clear that they consider their tentative talks with Israel to be linked to the Gaza attacks. Abbas and Erekat pretend to be angry that Israel is defending itself. Israel, the US, and Europe should take them at their word. Until the rocketing stops definitively, no concessions of any kind should be made to any of the Palestinians and no money should be given them.

One suggestion here was that we should create functioning economies in the Palestinian areas. Two things are required for that to happen. One is peace. The other is restraint on the disastrously high birth rates in both Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians have mindlessly refused both for generations. There is no helping them if they refuse to be helped. Until they chose to have a future, they will continue to have the bloodshed and poverty their own choices and values have condemned them to.

Lisa :

You think the news cannot get more disturbing then it does...(see report below).

There is plenty of blame to go around. But Abbas has proved a weak, ineffective, and shortsigted. He needs a unity government with Hamas. His refusal to even try to end intra Palestinian conflict is the root of the current crisis.

If Barak is going to proceed as the report below describes he should be charged with war crimes, and there should be enormous pressure from Russia, US and EU to stop him from taking these actions.

"Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he wants to evacuate Palestinian neighborhoods in the northern Gaza Strip where militants are launching rockets at southern Israel, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported March 5, citing Israel Channel 2 television. Barak has contacted advisers to determine the legality of such a move, saying the plan would involve forcing “thousands” of Palestinians to move further south. Israel Channel 2 said Barak might carry out the plan by distributing leaflets warning residents to move and warning that neighborhoods where rockets are launched will be shelled." (Stratfor Situation report 3.5)

Lisa :

You think the news cannot get more disturbing then it does...(see report below).

There is plenty of blame to go around. But Abbas has proved a weak, ineffective, and shortsigted. He needs a unity government with Hamas. His refusal to even try to end intra Palestinian conflict is the root of the current crisis.

If Barak is going to proceed as the report below describes he should be charged with war crimes, and there should be enormous pressure from Russia, US and EU to stop him from taking these actions.

"Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he wants to evacuate Palestinian neighborhoods in the northern Gaza Strip where militants are launching rockets at southern Israel, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported March 5, citing Israel Channel 2 television. Barak has contacted advisers to determine the legality of such a move, saying the plan would involve forcing “thousands” of Palestinians to move further south. Israel Channel 2 said Barak might carry out the plan by distributing leaflets warning residents to move and warning that neighborhoods where rockets are launched will be shelled." (Stratfor Situation report 3.5)

Rog49Thomas :

This question is based on a fundamental mistaken premise - that the US policy in the Middle East is designed to achieve "peace" and "democracy" as these words are commonly understood.

The US policy in the area is designed to promote US interests. Where democracy would or does lead to results unacceptable to the US, the US subverts or attempts to thwart those results. The same for peace.

To complicate the picture the US has (mis) identified its own interests with those of one of the parties in the area.

It is time for a bit of maturity.

Very few in the rest of the world are fooled by fake peace processes.

Let's just stop kidding ourselves at home.


There is a fundamental difference between: 1. reiterated rituals for the purpose of preserving permanent conflict and perpetual war, and 2. a peace process. The difference is that the former are substitutes for the latter. As substitutes, they prevent the latter from ever seeing the light of day. Only when the former cease to exist, can the latter come into existence.

Resorting to such rituals for the purpose of preserving permanent conflict and perpetual war is indicative of there being no genuine will for peace, amongst the parties concerned, regardless of what they say. Such rituals therefore cannot and do not lead to peace.

Philosopher Immanuel Kant who happened to write on “Perpetual Peace” made “condition of possibility” a popular concept. One might say that “a condition of possibility is a necessary framework for the possible appearance of a given list of entities.” As for everything else, there are “conditions of possibility” that need be met, for a peace process to exist.

Indicative that the conditions of possibility for a peace process have NOT been met is the reiteration of:

1. Rituals aimed at destroying the “enemy”:

a. Such are wars, military operations and incursions, bombing civilian populations indiscriminately, invading and occupying territories, murdering women, children and old people, destroying buildings and country infrastructures, kidnapping and jailing elected political representatives, imprisoning civilians arbitrarily, torturing them, etc.

b. Sanctions, blockades, states of emergency, sieges, etc. imposed on the “enemy” figure also amongst those destructive rituals.

2. Rituals showing total disrespect towards the world community of nations:

a. Violating repeatedly international law, the Geneva Conventions and human rights, disregarding UN resolutions and the UN Charter.

b. Imposing precedents and “faits accomplis” on one’s adversaries (e.g. settlements on other people’s territory).

c. Demeaning, humiliating and demonizing one’s adversaries.

d. Attempting to brainwash, to blackmail, to bribe or to bully one’s adversaries into submission.

3. Purely verbal rituals:

a. Phone conversations, meetings, talks, press conferences, speeches, interviews, notes, e-mails, letters, etc. meant as public relation or propaganda exercises.

b. Dead ends such as open-ended and never-ending conferences, summits, etc., with no definite purpose and deadline.

What does one learn from such rituals? That one side cannot force genuine, lasting peace on the other side. That one cannot simply break, fight or talk one’s way to peace. Genuine, lasting peace is reached only through mutual agreement, never through surrender.

Peace processes require de-escalation of conflict and truce. Peace processes require the will to make peace and mutual trust. Peace processes require not daring the opponents and adversaries, but humility and a willingness to make concessions that are to people’s mutual advantage. Peace processes require solutions that appear reasonable to all, solutions that everybody “can live with” and that will therefore likely lead to mutual accords.

There is no grandeur, nothing to be proud of, in permanent conflict and in perpetual war: only insanity, suffering, death and destruction. “Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick. This is the secret of health.” (Lao Tzu)

Dr. Amiguet :

There is a very simple solution to the conflict:

Israel must abandon first UNCONDITIONALLY all the civil settlements. These settlements, right from the beginning in 67, were in blattant violation of the Geneva Convention, of the Human Rights Convention, of the Balfour Declaration and since then of countless UN resolutions! But the AJPAC manipulated US and the fascist Zionists couldn't care less.
These settlements are a UNILATERAL agression, they are state-terrorism suported and financed by the United States of America!!

First the scape goat was Fatah, now its Hamas, Hizboullah and al Quaida who prevent peace - ridiculous!. These are all self defence organizations, created as a response to israeli state terrorism, which didn't even exist for decades when Israel started these criminal, racist, facist, God insulting colonies!

If this happened to the US, every American would volunteer to defend his 'homeland' with even the prospect of getting a heroes(!) burial in Arlington. But when Palestinians do it - by a curious twist in the american mind - they are terrorists.

America, Bush and Co., YOU ARE PERVERSE! Understand finally why 9/11 was totally self inflicted?

Hitler is still first, but the US/Israel coaltion is exellent second!

Tom3 :

The Annapolis peace process was a joke.

Chimpy and Condi took sides in the Palestinian dispute, funding Fatah's side.

The US cannot be a peacemaker when it takes sides.

The only way for the US to be a peacemaker in the Middle East is for Chimpy to leave office and McCain to lose.

Maybe a Democrat can patch things up. Maybe.

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PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.