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The Fallacy of New in the Middle East

Fareed Zakaria, editor-at-large, TIME | November 28, 2012

The assumption that the world, due to the events of the Arab Spring, has acknowledged a "new Middle East" has proven wrong. ++ Despite harsh rhetoric and verbal clashes, an attack of any Arab player on Israel is unlikely. ++ Israel's "Iron Dome" defense system has successfully worked out and provides security and deterrence. ++ Sustainable peace will only be within reach on Israel's own initiative or US mediation. ++ With its strategic ties to the US and military and economic strength, Israel still dominates the (new) Middle East.

 

 
 
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INNA Y BABAKULIEVA

Fri, Nov 30th 2012, 01:06

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This is a great article, which points out that it is time to end in this "never"-ending conflict, and it is time Israel, as the strongest/powerful side in this conflict, takes initiative and makes peace with its neighbors.
Israel's advanced, sophisticated defense system, military capabilities, political stability, and economic growth are incomparable when looking at Palestine. With the half of the Palestinian population being underaged, with a dysfunctional government and no defense system, does Palestine really pose a threat to the Israelis existence?
And I hope, that today's UN decision to recognize Palestinian's right to exist and to respect Palestinians goal and hope for decent future, for autonomous statehood won't escalate violence and hostility from the other side. Both sides should go back to the negotiating table, with skills and ability to listen to one another.
 
Ericka Carolina  Rodas

Sun, Dec 2nd 2012, 03:43

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Hello,

Inna thank you for your post. I agree with you. Israel needs to take responsibility for this conflict and imitate measures for peace. U.S. can act as a mediator, but is in the best interest for Israel to be the initiator. This will show Palestine and the Middle East that Israel is serious and sincere in its action.

I also hope that Palestine's recognition as a nonmember observer state will be respected by all and will not escalate to conflict. Negotiation is definitely the first step.
 
William Fuentes Josephson

Fri, Dec 7th 2012, 06:08

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I don’t see peace happening anytime soon as long as both the Israeli’s and Palestinians don’t give up their claim to Jerusalem. Fatah continuously pushes for pre-1967 borders and Israel will not give up the Temple Mount. Moreover, the Ultra-Orthodox in Israel have too much power and are the most vociferous when dealing with the ceding of anything to the Palestinians, so I can’t foresee middle ground ever being made. MAYBE if Israel uses their wild card and relinquishes claim to the settlements in the West Bank where over 400,000 Israelis live, in exchange for Jerusalem, we may see a rapprochement between the two parties, but I also don’t see that happening because the of the those in Israel that want to hold on to the traditional lands of Judea and Samaria. Both are going to have to make huge sacrifices to make progress. Back to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount is critical to Israeli culture. The Jews believe that the Messiah won’t come until the Temple is rebuilt. Since the Temple’s destruction, Jews have had no major temple for the Jewish faith. The Temple Mount is central to Jewish identity and their self-perseveration, which explains their constant assertion of Realist approaches in all of their domestic and international affairs. They sort of remind me of the stubbornness we are currently seeing between the President and Boehner.

Palestine’s recognition as a nonmember observer state can maybe be a positive step in the right direction. It at least holds the Palestinians accountable for their actions too, not just Israel. I just don’t seeing the Palestinian-Israeli situation benefiting from the new status until Hamas and Fatah unify or at least openly begin talks. If the Palestinians are still divided, how can we expect the Israelis and the Palestinians to negotiate? The Palestinians need one voice.
 
Josh  Lipowsky

Fri, Dec 14th 2012, 01:18

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Ericka, Israel has initiated peace moves before and been rebuffed. It uprooted every settler from Gaza and literally turned the keys over to the Palestinians. Not even a week later, Hamas destroyed the structures Israel left, including greenhouses purchased for the Palestinians by INGOs. More than 10,000 rockets have now been launched at Israel from Gaza, and Hamas initiated an illegal coup, evicting the Palestinian Authority.

Israel has also made a handful of confidence-building "goodwill gestures" at the behest of the US but this has not lead to negotiations either. Beginning in 2009, the Palestinians added a new demand, that Israel freeze all settlements - something that they had never demanded before as a precondition to negotiations. When Israel agreed to a 10-month settlement freeze, the PA waited until the final month to enter negotiations and then promptly dropped out when Israel would not extend the freeze, and rebuked every call by Israel to resume negotiations without preconditions.

I agree with Will that there are definitely extremists on both sides that are dominating the strategies right now. And while everybody pretty much knows what the final status agreement will look like, getting there requires a lot of courage from both sides to give up certain points. The settlements are Israel's bargaining chip.

The Palestinians do need to be held accountable for their actions but I'm not sure that this recognition will accomplish that. There is the ICC but it's unlikely that either side will go that route, as outlined in this op-ed by Professor Trahan of NYU.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/palestinian_120612.html
 

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