Peace Processing for the Middle East…

AS Tony Blair prepares for his Middle East envoy role, bringing all his experience of Peace Processing to bear on it, Tel Aviv University professor Carlo Strenger recalls one lesson he learned from ex-Alliance leader John Alderdice’s father. Strenger argues that Israel needs to start seeing Arab states as partners with a common interest in resolving the problem and start a process of talking. He also sees long-term external support as important, something else that typified our Peace Process.

  • redhaze

    In common with friends of Palestine throughout the world, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) greets with dismay the news that Tony Blair has been appointed as the so-called International Quartet’s Representative to the Middle East.

    The IPSC notes US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s claim that the former British Prime Minister “has been at the forefront of international efforts to promote peace and reconciliation around the world”. Given Mr Blair’s role in instigating the illegal war against Iraq, his refusal to call for a ceasefire during last year’s Israeli onslaught on Lebanon, and the fact that he has sent British troops into war five times during his decade in power, this claim stretches the boundaries of parody.

    Many will point to Mr Blair’s role in securing the Good Friday Agreement that has brought a tentative peace to the North of Ireland. However, he has consistently backed Israel’s policy of internment without trial, its disproportionate and illegal violence, and its insistence that it will negotiate only with those who have already conceded its demands. Had these criteria been applied on this island, the conflict would never had ended. This double standard suggests a neo-colonial and indeed racist attitude towards the Palestinian people.

    The IPSC believes that Tony Blair – already a patron of Israel’s Jewish National Fund (JNF) – is committed to the aims of the expansionist Israeli state, and hence is the last person to represent a body that is supposedly dedicated to seeking a peaceful resolution of the Israel/Palestine issue. The credibility of the “International Quartet”, already at a low ebb, has vanished completely with this absurd and misconceived appointment.

  • So Israel is an expansionist state….
    In 1979 Israel uprooted its settlements in the Sinai Peninsula and returned it to Egypt as part of a comprehensive peace agreement.
    Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. Defense Minister Sharon had dreams of reshaping Lebanese politics to suit Israel’s interests. The invasion produced catastrophic loss of life among Lebanon’s civilian population and, after the assassination of Bashir Gemayel, rapidly turned into a catastrophe for the occupying forces who retreated to a narrow band of territory along Israel’s northern border. Years of bitter guerrilla warfare followed and Israel finally withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000. The Syrian Army’s occupying forces did not leave Lebanon for another five years.

    In the contest of a comprehensive peace agreement with the Kingdom of Jordan Israel withdrew from 380 square kilometers of that nation’s territory in 1994.

    Israel, led by an Ariel Sharon long since cured of his expansionist fever, uprooted its settlements and evacuated the Gaza strip in 2006. It also evacuated 4 settlements in the northern West Bank.

    In the same year the Kadima party – founded by Sharon – came to power in Israel with a mandate to continue the evacuation policy in other areas of West Bank.

    The Palestinian and Hezbullah raids on Israeli territory – in June and July 2006 -, the killing and kidnap of Israel soldiers and the subsequent bloody Israeli response seems to have to have put further withdrawals on hold, at least for the time being.

    I hope Israel doesn’t expand itself out of existence.

  • greeneggsandham

    Blair is too tied up with the neocons in the US and the LiKudniks in Israel to be an honest broker in any peace deal. He has the blood of too many innocent civilians on his hands from Lebanon and Palestine not to mention the mess in Iraq.
    I can understand GWB being pessured into making hasty decisions by the oil people in the US and the Israel lobby but Blair is supposed to be an educated man.
    It was his cheerleading of the Iraq war that gave the US the thin fig leave they needed to go in all guns blazing, and for what? Millions dead already from santions and more terrorists (read women and chilren) killed every day.

    He has some neck!

  • redhaze

    Haha eammon,

    Just came across your post there, hilarious stuff.

    Haven’t much time at the minute but can you answer me where you get this info about evacuating settlements in the West Bank? They are building them as we speak.

    Whilst they withdrew settlers from Gaza countless more were moving into brand new settlements in the West Bank.

    We’ll continue this later though.